Is it cold brew coffee weather already? It seems that indeed it is; save for that one bit of much needed rain a few days ago, the weather these last few weeks has felt more like early June than early April. Cold brew coffee, of course, is the caffeinated beverage of choice for those who prefer a cold coffee drink over a hot one. Using time rather than heat to brew the coffee, the drink is usually made by steeping coarse coffee grinds in room temperature or cold water for anywhere between 12 and 24 hours, then diluting the resulting coffee concentrate with milk or water and serving it chilled or over ice. The drink will be mellow and smooth, far more so than if you had simply poured hot coffee over a handful of ice cubes.
And while it’s easy enough to make cold brew at home, and easier still to walk into most any coffee shop and order one there, quite a few places pre-make the stuff for you and package them in easy-to-carry bottles and milk cartons. Six notable, portable cold brews below.
Bicycle Coffee — Bicycle Coffee takes its espresso blend — recently, a mix of coffees from Bolivia, Guatemala and Ethiopia — and cold brews it for 18 hours, resulting in a lovely, rich coffee. The coffee is available in 32-ounce growlers, or more than enough to get even the most thirsty of cold brew aficionados through a week. Pick up the growler at Bicycle’s East Hollywood shop for $12 when it’s open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; bring back the jug when it’s time to re-up and get a refill for just $6. 5427 Santa Monica Blvd., East Hollywood.
Blue Bottle Coffee — Blue Bottle’s popular New Orleans-style iced coffee has been boxed in, literally. Last year, the Oakland-based roaster began selling its signature iced coffee in bright white milk cartons, the same sort of cartons that will remind you of school lunches, tetherball courts and jungle gyms. Indeed, the coffee — infused with roasted chicory and blended with organic Clover milk and cane sugar — seems made for exactly those times you need to take an adult recess. Folks can quibble over whether the pre-made coffee in these cartons are as good as the ones made fresh at Blue Bottle’s shops, but surely it is at least the next best thing. 582 Mateo Street, Arts District and 1103 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, bluebottlecoffee.com. Also available at Whole Foods.
G&B Coffee — You’ll find long-necked bottles of light, refreshing cold brew behind the bar at G&B Coffee at Grand Central Market. As the crew here works with a variety of different roasters, including 49th Parallel Roasters and Heart Coffee Roasters, the coffee used for their cold brews changes from time to time; recently, the bottles were filled with Ethiopian and Kenyan coffees roasted by Heart. Coffees are cold brewed for 24 hours before bottling and are available individually by the bottle or in cases of four. 317 S. Broadway (in Grand Central Market), Downtown, (213) 265-7718, gandbcoffee.com.
Lord Windsor Roasters — One of the best places in Long Beach for a hot coffee drink is also one of the best places for a cold one. At Lord Windsor Roasters, you’ll find 12-ounce bottles of cold brew neatly lined on the shelves in the fridge next to the counter, organized by country of origin. Which countries of origin depends on what Lord Windsor has been roasting lately; sometimes, you’ll find a bottle of Guatemalan coffee on the shelf, sometimes it’s a Colombian. Note that even if you don't like cold brewed coffee, that nifty artwork on the label might tempt you into buying a bottle anyway. Who knows, you might discover you actually do like your coffee cold. 1101 E. 3rd Street, Long Beach, (562) 901-2111.
Outpost Coffee — Founded by a crew of former Handsome Coffee Roasters employees, Outpost cold brews specialty coffee beans for 24 hours, bottles it all and ships it to places like EggSlut, where you can have the coffee alongside your sausage, egg and bacon sandwich. You’ll also find the company’s cold brews in the refrigerated section of select markets around town, and they’ll soon be at Gelson's. Available at EggSlut at Grand Central Market and at select grocery stores.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters — However you take your iced coffee, Stumptown has you covered. If you take it black, you’ll probably want one of the roaster’s hefty, caramel-tinted 10.5-ounce “Stubbies” filled with coffee that has been cold brewed for over 12 hours (and when you need a party-sized amount of cold brew, there are also large growlers available at its Arts District cafe). If you take your coffee with milk and sugar, Stumptown has that combination pre-made and packaged in chocolate brown 16- and 32-ounce milk cartons. And if you’ve always taken to Nesquik, the roaster now has a cold brew and chocolate milk combination. Happiness can be as easy as that. 806 S. Sante Fe Ave., Arts District, (213) 337-0936, stumptowncoffee.com. Also available at Whole Foods.