Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

Trader Joe's Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

Cool, hip packaging and all. Pretty cool Trader Joe’s.

Nice job, once again, Mr. Joe. I might get down on TJ products from time to time, but one thing you can’t accuse them of is being boring. Case-in-point, Trader Joe’s Cold Brew coffee. Yes, this is the recently popularized foodie trend you may have heard of, and yes TJ’s is shamelessly jumping on that bandwagon, but really what’s so bad about that? There’s something cool and exciting about seeing a fancy, gourmand nicety packed up and presented to you with an implicit, sly wink, as if to say “Oh yeah, prepare for your life to get a little cooler.”

So, cold brew coffee is this newish thing where coffee beans are ground up, steeped in water, etc, except no heat is ever used. Basically, you just leave a bunch of coffee grounds in water for 12 hours or so, filter it, then pour into a bottle. What results is a very cool sounding adjective phrase (COLD BREWED!) and a sort of vague curiosity as to why you’d want to bother. Didn’t they have any hot water around? Did someone forget to plug in the coffee maker?

There are, in fact, a number of differences between cold and hot brewed coffee. Two big ones – the first obvious, the second a bit more subtle.

The first and most notable thing is that it’s actually a coffee concentrate. The long brewing time infuses the water to about triple the ordinary strength. That means when you look at the 32 oz bottle Trader Joes’ is peddling, you should imagine a giant 96 oz jug in it’s place – that’s three quarters a gallon of straight java.

The other point of difference has to do with relative acidity. Cold brewing coffee results in a much milder, low-acid version of hot brewed coffee. This makes for a much smoother drink and a cleaner, lighter taste. Although a certain level of cultivated acidity is sought out by some in their coffee blends, it’s in part this very acidity that makes coffee tough of stomachs, harsh on tongues and a bane to tooth enamel. If you have much experience as a coffee drinker, the difference here is immediately noticeable – the cold brewed coffee feels much more pleasant and drinkable. As a fellow who has no truck with acidic coffees, TJ’s cold brew is a welcome relief in this department.

Beyond these two interesting characteristics, cold brewed coffee is basically just the same as hot coffee. Pour some in your morning mug, mix it with water/milk/etc and drink. Don’t get me wrong, the drink is fun and interesting – mixing it up feels like rogue chemistry and the cup is smooth and mellow – but it’s still basically just regular, arabica bean coffee.

The question you’re going to have to ask yourself is, do you need a novel form of coffee in your life? Coffee is a workhorse, coffee gets the job done. It’s your morning slap in the face. It’s appreciated as a refined beverage by the few. Those folks, the collectors of brewing apparatuses, their larders stocked with whole beans, may appreciate this the way a beer enthusiast mulls over the differences between lagers and ales. The rest of us? Perhaps less so.

This is a point that is thrown into high relief by one final point of difference – Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee has a recommend shelf-life of 30 days once the seal is cracked. That means if you plan on drinking three quarts of coffee in the next month, but you don’t have a better way to brew it and/or you collect ways to brew it, this is your drink. To all others, this doesn’t have much to offer you beyond the momentary elation of novelty.

The Breakdown

Would I Recommend It (revised): Yes, to coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers alike.

Would I Buy It Again: That’s more coffee than I need in a one month period, so no.

Final Synopsis: Very low acid, but otherwise ordinary, coffee.


This has never happened before, but guys I need to change my opinion on this product.

It’s been three weeks since I first started drinking Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee, and I have to say I’m learning to love it.  Every morning these last few weeks I’ve been presented with two options:  the hot pot of bubbling coffee on the burner or the cool jug of cold brew in the fridge. Every morning I’ve gone for the cold brew.

I touch on the reason for this in my original post, but I feel the need to highlight it again here. This coffee really is very, very smooth. The acidity is so low, the taste so mild, that even my Joe Lunchpail, coffee-ignorant palette greatly prefers it.  Trader Joe’s goes so far as to call their cold brew concentrate “sweet”. That would be stretching the common definition of the word – but in so far as air or fresh water can be sweet, it applies.

If you’ve always found coffee too harsh to enjoy, trying this concentrate my completely turn you around.


38 Comments on “Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate”

  1. legumepod says:

    I absolutely LOVE this coffee! Tried it for the first time last week. I personally prefer low acid coffee especially in the morning (stomach) and you only need a little and it wakes up up more than 3 cups! 🙂 And it saves on the budget. I would recommend it to everyone for those reasons alone 😉

  2. Troy says:

    Bought this as an alternative to Via. I’m the only coffee drinker in the house, so the need to brew a whole pot is very seldom. It is slapping me in the face right now…holy.

  3. Kelly Martin says:

    Best coffee ever!!!!!!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I LOVE it! It’s perfect for summer–I pour it over ice mixed with about 1.5cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk and a spoonful of maple syrup or agave nectar and it makes a super yummy, super quick, lower calorie/all natural iced latte. Much cheaper than going to the coffee shop and quick to whip up in the morning. We have 2 coffee drinkers in the house and we easily go through a bottle every couple weeks.

  5. Kat says:

    I just got this tonight and it’s by far the best make-at-home iced coffee I’ve ever had! Plus, I like that I can make it as healthy (or not) as I want and I know what’s going into it!

  6. Camille says:

    I’ve fallen in love with this stuff too! It’s very easy to throw in a cup in the morning and roll out the door. I mix mine one part water, one part milk, one part coffee and a little pumpkin syrup for sweetener. Wrote up a review on my blog too!

  7. Scott says:

    I couldn’t agree more that this coffee is great, so great in fact that every Trader Joe’s in San Francisco has been sold out for the past 2 weeks. According to employees, it is “temporarily out of stock”. ;8^(

    • Troy says:

      My TJs was out too (Tempe, AZ). They said it was in the warehouse and was to be in Saturday’s delivery. I bought that Monday and there were just a handful of jugs left.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I LOVE this stuff. I didn’t drink coffee since 2006 due to the acids but I tried this and wow! I made my own twice with other brands but so far find TJ’s much better. I will continue my quest with other brands but, I’m hooked on this one. I only need about a half inch in my cup and the rest being water, and it’s still flavorful. When I make a batch again someday, I will let it steep longer than 12 hours, as it’s supposed to be more flavorful the longer it steeps – up to 24, 18 being a good number according to others.

  9. Donna says:

    OMG! I work a second job at TJ’s and the whole crew at our store has fallen in love with this coffee. In fact, we’re twitching now because the warehouse is out of stock and I am down to my last half bottle! Man! This is some good coffee!

  10. Kathleen says:

    I love, love, love this coffee!!! My entire family loves this coffee! We have 6 adults in California and 2 in Arizona who have switched from Starbucks, Peet’s, etc. to Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee. I used to take a homemade Mocha to work with me, but now I simply add a small amount of the concentrate to milk and ice and I am very good to go : ) Thankfully I stocked up on extra bottles before they ran out so I am ok for a little while. We are waiting (anxiously!) for the TJs in both states to restock!!!

  11. Jordan says:

    Absolutely love it. I can drink this whole bottle in 1-2 weeks alone. Not a problem.

  12. […] Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate […]

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’m a die hard Starbucks iced coffee drinker for at least the past three years. Bought the trader joe’s and making the switch. Only problem is the nearest TJ is over two hours away.

  14. […] a trio of cold-brew options to make my life as an iced-coffee addict much easier – the Trader Joe’s brand concentrate, Kohana Cold Brew concentrate, and […]

  15. […] coffee is has a much milder, less bitter flavor so I had almost decided to pull the trigger on a cold brew kit. But, on my last Trader Joe’s run I came across their pre-made cold brew. It is so.good. I […]

  16. cheryl says:

    This post made me run to TJs after work as this sounds like the perfect cup of JOE to get me going on my way to work . I must say I don’t frequent the new TJs in Sarasota as it’s small and busy and well I forget it’s there. So today I was thrilled to pull into a semi empty parking lot. I went in mind to only get a few things. TJs soy mozzarella which is the best soy brand cheese IMO, TJs pizza dough, Turkey bolgonese “just sauce”- this is how I make one delish pizza. I also picked up some Real bacon, and some fake vegan mayo – two thumbs down on those two items. I was holding my breath going down the coffee isle for the cold brew coffee -and was so disappointed when I didn’t see it onto shelf, I looked at the end caps by the iced tea, nada. I finally asked a TJ worker who told me it’s been out of stock for awhile and they don’t know when it will be in. Darn – was really wanting to try it.

    PS I don’t normally eat meat so the turkey bacon may be good. The vegan mayo is just awful. I may return it as it’s a huge jar- Will try again to go for the cold brew.

  17. Marie Policelli says:

    TJ’s Cold Brew coffee has allowed me to keep my coffee addiction, without the acid reflux, d/t the low acid. I add vanilla syrup to the coffee & water (or milk) mixture, and it’s comparable to the vanilla soy latte at coffee shops, but so convenient to have at home.

  18. Jersey Mike says:

    Saw this item while browsing at the Paramus N.J. store (at least 30 bottles avail)(sorry to rub it in for those that are having withdrawal from stores that are out of stock). The wheels started turning. I’m addicted to the more viscous Frappe’ type coffees like those served up at McDonalds, Berger King, Dairy Queen (MooLatte), QuikChek/WaWa (FReal), Etc. Unfortunately — these things are laced with upwards of 65 grams of sugar. So I’ve been trying to come up with something where I can use Stevia, skim milk and ice cubes in the Ninja. The best I can come up with is the Seattle’s Best frozen coffee chunks and that also contains a lot of sugar and is quite costly per serving. Today starts the experimentation with the TJ Coffee Concentrate. If anyone knows of a recipe — please advise. I will be reporting back. To be continued…..

  19. parmashopper says:

    THIS is the coffee for those who suffer from gastritis of the stomach. In gastritis, the stomach lining pinches you when you have high acidic or spicy foods. I use a little bit and then fill up
    my cup with water. My doctor told me to get off the coffee. Like coffee was the first thing to go because it irritates the stomach lining. I can’t wait to show him the empty bottle and recommend it to his patients. I find this TJ’s concentrated coffee to be heaven sent. This product is mild in taste, aroma and caffeine. I’ve got my coffee back without the stomach lining pinching. TJ’s did it right.

  20. cheryl says:

    I am dying to try this especially with the post from parmashopper. I have IBS and coffee eats at my tummy. They were out of this last season, hopefully they will stock up this summer.

  21. […] And we had to plan and be patient: The brewing needed to be done overnight. Then I discovered Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Concentrate, in a bottle. Each one makes 12 cups of coffee for $8. To make it, you simply pour the […]

  22. Devon McVey says:

    Hi- quick question (probably a a dumb one)– do you have to drink this cold? Does the acidity return if you hear it up ? I like my coffee hot

    • parmashopper says:

      Yes, you can microwave it in your favorite coffee cup. You have the temperature the way you
      enjoy it.

    • Bob says:

      The cold-brewing process extracts the coffee flavor and caffeine from the beans but leaves the acids behind. Once you’ve got the concentrated extract, you can make it as hot as you want. The acid’s not going to come back.

  23. […] Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate. Mix it with some coconut milk and YUM. (a little pricey, but a little goes a long […]

  24. julia alter says:

    But what is the shelf life BEFORE you open the Coldbrew ? Cause I’m thinking of buying a case.

    • parmashopper says:

      I bought two bottles in early February. The ‘best if used by’ date was: 08/0916. This would give you a window of six months. I only buy two at a time. Once, I opened the plastic bottle, it goes into the refrigerator. However, contact the store for the expiration date. Remember, this is a concentrated product. I stand by this product, as it has bought the normalcy of having a cup of
      hot coffee without ripping up my stomach and esophagus.

  25. […] Cold Brew coffee: If not homemade using these beans and this cold brew press, then we buy this to have for easy mornings. […]

  26. You have to love the smell of your coffee before you can love the taste. I always have my Trader Joe’s brewed up with cream (dark roasts are my justification for enjoying “real,” heavy whipping cream).

    • parmashopper says:

      I am glad to hear every one is enjoying this. Make it you own. This foodie trend is a smart trend and choice for those who have to worry about gastritis. I have seen the same size bottle sold at Giant Eagle for a bit more. I don’t recall the name on the label there. Cheers.

  27. […] I’ve shattered two of ours in the past (oops!) but we’ve also been making due with this stuff, and our Nespresso (which is on MAJOR sale and Trent is going to be so pissed when he sees this, […]

  28. […] 5. Trader Joes Cold Brew. Trent has gotten into this sweet routine where he’ll bring me coffee every morning in bed – even if I’m still sleeping. It’s literally the best thing ever to just roll over and start caffeinating myself without any of the effort, and I so appreciate the loving gesture.  Since we’re both obsessed with iced coffee and I seem to break (err– shatter) every single cold brew french press that we own, we’ve started buying Trader Joes’ concentrated Cold Brew. You add a splash or two of it to almond milk or water with ice and you’ve got yourself the easiest iced coffee on the planet. […]

  29. Matt says:

    Yes everyone loves it what does it do we would have simply recipes to do with it

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