This story was updated June 23, 2021.
In a city fueled by coffee, cold brew is the drink of summer. Served either from a Nitro Tap or from a pitcher pulled from the cooler, there is variety across Seattle. Last summer, Seattle Refined compared bottled cold brew available from the grocery store and this year we are checking out cold brew from the best coffee shops across town.
First up though, what is cold brew? Cold brew is basically steeping coffee ground with hot water and letting it sit for 12 hours or more. This process creates a coffee with low acidity and lots of caffeine. As per anything with coffee, there are complicated “recipes” and processes. Nitro cold brew is coffee infused with nitrogen gas and released from a tap. This creates a creamy, stout-like coffee brew. Japanese ice coffee is reminiscent of cold brew but made completely differently. Whereas cold brew takes hours to make, Japanese iced coffee is brewed in a Chemex filled with ice. Hot water is then poured over a filter filled with coffee and the brew is flash chilled as it drips onto the ice.
Making your own cold brew is simple but takes time and prior preparation (Smitten Kitchen has a great home recipe). Also if you love the creamy nature of nitro, then homemade options are out.
Here are some of the best places to find cold brew (nitro or not) in Seattle.
- Miir in Fremont wins top points for their delicious nitro cold brew which comes either black or with cream and sugar. The creamy cup is easy to sip and is easily a drink one could enjoy all day long. Served in a pint glass, Miir’s Nitro Cold Brew is the best in town.
- Fuel in Wallingford provided the best non-nitro cold brew and was enjoyed for hours. The smooth cup was the perfect drink to casually sip while working in the Seattle sunshine.
- Ballard Coffee Works (aka Seattle Coffee Works) also serves a nice Nitro Cold Brew. Unfortunately for cream lovers, they don’t offer the option of ordering your drink with cream but it can be added later at the sugar/milk counter. Served in an ice cold glass, this drink begins to feel like a proper pint but with a jolt of caffeine.
- Broadcast Coffee Roasters serves cold brew all year round in a delightfully hip mason jar. The bold and refreshing brew makes for a nice drink, year-round.
- Preserve and Gather provides a cold brew with strong accents and a lovely flavor. This is one coffee shop that always serves a perfect cup of coffee, cold brew or not.
- Head to Anchorhead Coffee on 7th Avenue for a fantastic cold brew. This locally roasted drink is also available bottled so if you get addicted to this drink but can’t always make it to the cafe, grab a few for the road.