In the world of coffee, cold brew is currently king. This unique variety of iced coffee is definitely having a moment, so we decided to try offerings from nine different chains, from Chick-fil-A to Starbucks. The winners will definitely surprise you.
The main complaint about Pret’s cold brew was that it was watery and weak, and our panel found it to be unmemorable.
Our panel found Nobletree’s offerings to be bland, and a little too bitter for our liking.
Mellow, smooth, and gentle were three adjectives used to describe Peet’s offering, but the overall consensus was that it was just “fine.”
Blue Bottle’s offering was hearty and robust, but some of our panelists found it to be too bitter and strong.
Our tasters found Stumptown’s cold brew to be smooth and well-balanced, with a nice roasty flavor. Several panelists found it to have a slightly stale flavor, however.
We found Starbucks’ cold brew to be very drinkable and well-balanced, with a nice toastiness. It was a little too bitter for some, however.
Dunkin’s cold brew was very mild and mellow, with a nice smoothness. A couple panelists found it to be a little too weak for them, though.
Chick-fil-A’s cold brew, which is sourced through a collective in Central America called Thrive and steeped for up to 24 hours, was a dark-horse hit and the test’s biggest surprise. It had a rich, chocolatey flavor that was unlike any other sampled, with nutty, malty notes that really impressed us.
Philadelphia-based La Colombe’s cold brew is steeped overnight in steel wine tanks before being pressed, double-filtered, and canned, and it was far and away our tasters’ favorite. It was rich, smooth, mellow, and well-balanced, with both nutty and fruity notes. In fact, it was the only cold brew that our tasters unanimously agreed was delicious.