The Best Boxed Cold Brews for Busy Weekdays and Long Weekend Escapes

published May 14, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Along with the rest of the Kitchn team, I’ve been exploring the many different ways that one can get their morning caffeine. There are a lot of them … but as is my niche, I’ve stuck to scouting out the store-bought options. Of the new-to-me ones, so far I’ve tried TJ’s Instant Cold Brew (and loved it), an intensely strong concentrate called Jot Ultra Coffee (also loved it, but more on that soon), and a whole slew of different boxed cold brews.

My most recent discovery is that I like my coffee like I like my wine: in a box. Boxed cold brew is the path of least resistance in the morning. I don’t have to add water, calculate a ratio, or even stir. (Of course, you can dilute these brews if you want to; you just don’t have to.) I simply need to reach into the fridge, press a button on the dispenser, and pour the object of my desire into my cup. Okay, maybe I also have to reach into the freezer for an ice cube, and add milk and sugar if I’m feeling it, but that’s it!

Now that I’m fully vaccinated and things like traveling are once again on my radar, boxed cold brew is no doubt going to be my caffeination method of choice. Like I said, these, uh, come in a box, so they’re extremely easy to pack and won’t tip over in the backseat of a stuffed vehicle. They also are safe to drink for weeks after opening (in the fridge, of course!), due to the bag-in-a-box method of storage.

As far as use cases go, if you’re planning a weekend getaway with family or friends, and anticipate that everyone will need to be at least slightly caffeinated before your 11 a.m. brunch reservation, boxed cold brew is king.

Here are the three cold brew boxes that I would 100 percent buy again (and bring with me on a trip).

Credit: Lauren Masur

1. Bean Box

Bean Box partners with “award winning artisan roasting partners” to make super high-quality cold brew. The boxes come in two flavors: Rich & Creamy (which has notes of chocolate and vanilla) or Smooth & Bright (which is fruity). You can buy the boxes individually for $22 each, or get both for $42 plus free shipping. Hint: Get both, then bring one on your trip and leave one waiting for you in the fridge for when you get home.

Buy: Bean Box Cold Brew, $42 for two 1.5 liter boxes

Credit: Wandering Bear

2. Wandering Bear

Wandering Bear isn’t joking when they say they make “extra strong cold brew.” Each glass of this stuff equals two espresso shots — and one box contains 16 glasses. A box lasts in your fridge for up to 30 days once tapped, but will likely be gone long before then because the brew goes down smoothly. Customers can make a one-time purchase or subscribe for monthly deliveries for 10 percent off.

Buy: Wandering Bear Cold Brew on Tap, $26.66 for 92 ounces

Credit: La Colombe

3. La Colombe

The La Colombe Fridge Pack, which launched in July 2020, is one gallon of dark-roasted Brazilian Single-Origin cold brew. It’s double-filtered, which means that each sip will be super smooth. Don’t worry: It still has that super-strong coffee flavor that La Colombe fans wait on very long lines for at the cafés. This box boats the biggest size of the three options listed here, so it’s great for longer trips. Once tapped, it has a shelf life of 30 days.

Have you ever tried boxed cold brew? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.