Trader Joe’s French Roast Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate


IMG_20160502_184840.jpgSome time ago I published my review of Trader Joe’s original Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate. The product was, needless to say, an instant hit. 24 ounces of fine, dark coffee, cold press-expelled and concentrated 2-to-1. It not only scratched that caffeine itch, but it did it in a damn nice way. It was, in its own way, the cookie butter of the coffee drinking world – a remarkable game changer that everyone can agree on.

Now, I’m not much of a coffee drinker myself – my monthly coffee intake is roughly equivalent to what most people drink in one morning. I bring up this as a sort of inverse bona fides – I really know next to nothing about coffee. Nevertheless, even I, untrained palette I, was able to appreciate the fine, if subtle, qualities present in Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate. In fact, TJ’s cold brew coffee is responsible for the very first redaction I ever ran on this blog. After giving it an initial rating of “Eh, I don’t get what the big deal is”, I ended up going back to the bottle time and time again, until I’d polished the whole thing off. It’s that good. Even an untrained, unsophisticated coffee drinker preferred it to ordinary brewed coffee.

What’s the appeal? The biggest difference is that cold brew coffee is almost unbelievably mellow and unacidic, compared to ordinary brewed coffee – even for “low acidity” blends. When coffee grounds are cold brewed they’re basically just soaked – soaked in cool water for a day or more until gentle osmosis has impregnated their medium with all the flavor and caffeine of the bean. This lengthy process is the reason you have to buy your cold brew coffee pre-made – and why Starbucks runs out of it part way through the day. You simply can’t brew up more of this stuff on command.

As a result of this patient process, the resulting coffee avoids any of the acrid components that show up in hot-brewed, or over-cooked coffee, while also teasing out more subtle aspects of the bean that obliterated by being exposed to boiling temperatures. The coffee is still as bold, bitter and brawny as it would be of it was hot brewed, it’s just easier on the palette, teeth and, importantly, stomach.

So if Trader Joe’s cold-brew coffee is already such a hit, what does this new variety have to offer? Why bother with a French Toast? To be honest, there’s really not a whole lot of difference between the new brew and the old brew – more crunchy cookie butter vs. smooth than of cookie butter vs. oreo cookie butter.

“French roast” just refers to how long a
coffee bean has been roasted for, before grinding. In this case, a very long time. On the informal scale of bean roasting, the French is the penultimate roasting designation – only the Italian roast subjects beans to more heat for longer. As you might expect, a longer roast results in more of that smokey, toasty, roasted taste, but at the cost of burning away any individual characteristics of the original bean. As such, it’s not usually the coffee conisseur’s first choice. However, that same extended roasting process also breaks down the acid in the bean, making it a naturally choice for those looking for a lower acidity brew.

The end result means that this brew is a little bolder and even less acidic than its forbearer. Those are both pluses in my book. If you’re looking to expand your cold brew experience, or just trying to find the least acidic coffee on the market, you’ll want to give this one a try.

The Breakdown

Would I Recommend It: Yup – if you like cold brew coffee, you’ll like this.
Would I Buy It Again: This jug is a 2x concentrate, so it should last me a year or so.

Final Synopsis: More of what you live in a cold brew.


6 Comments on “Trader Joe’s French Roast Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate”

  1. parmashopper says:

    I bought this and I did not get the difference between the regular Cold Brew and the new French Roast. As a matter of fact, I bought two bottles. I would have to have a sample of both side by side to compare. Maybe, it is just me. It’s okay.

  2. Hethr says:

    I like coffee, but I also like being lazy. This means I use instant coffee. But dear god not Trader Joe’s instant coffee! I should really try out the concentrate.

  3. WmB says:

    I’ve only returned a couple of products to TJs but this new French Roast concentrate is going back. It’s bitter and acrid. I loved the previous product. Like you, I’m not a coffee addict. But I found the old cold brew product perfect for iced coffee during the summer. I’d buy it again given the choice.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Anyone know how much caffeine/ ounce in this concentrate?

    • parmashopper says:

      I can’t tell you how much caffeine that this product has. I am not a chemist. It is mild in flavor and caffeine. If you want a real caffeine kick then you have to go with a regular restaurant
      coffee or name brand coffee you buy in a can at a store. It has enough caffeine to lift your
      spirits. The main goal with the Cold Brew is to get you a coffee that will not pinch your esophagus or stomach with acid flare ups. I have no problem with the caffeine content.

  5. andyazel says:

    I’m a big coffee fan, but I found the french roast cold brew to be acidic, sour and even putrid. Even watered down and sweetened it has a strange, distinctly uncoffee-like taste.

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