1 Kyoto Black cold brew
The gist Justin Doggett employs the Kyoto-style method to make his cold brew, which entails slowly dripping water over coffee grounds (he uses a blend of Brazilian dark roast and Guatemalan medium roast).
The joe Kyoto Black is so smooth, with a light sweetness and a flavor reminiscent of a roasty stout, that it was practically a ringer in this taste-off. This is one to keep in the fridge at all times.
Details $4.50 for a 12-ounce bottle; $39.95 for a 1.5-liter pouch of concentrate. kyotostylecoffee.com for locations
2 Big Shoulders Coffee Black
The gist This canned brew is a blend of the roaster’s core trio of beans from Colombia, Uganda, and Ethiopia.
The joe The coffee is hugely citrusy with lots of acid up-front, which makes it taste slightly off balance (a little cream took care of that).
Details $4 for a 12-ounce can. bigshoulderscoffee.com for locations
3 BrewBike Original Blend cold brew
The gist Cold brew from a Northwestern University coffee startup that sells it from roving two-wheeled coffee shops. For home consumption, the coffee comes in bags that you soak in water in the fridge overnight. It’s not hard, but you’re out of luck if you binge A.P. Bio after dinner and forget to make it.
The joe The dark roast yields an easy-drinking coffee that’s sweet and smooth but doesn’t stand out.
Details $14 for eight servings. brewbike.com for locations
4 Gaslight Coffee Roasters Cold Brew Concentrate
The gist It’s sold as a concentrate, and you mix two parts of it with one part water (or to your taste, though this ratio hit the spot for me).
The joe Rich and robust, with caramelly notes and a crisp mouthfeel, this is just really delicious coffee. The large size of the bottle is kind of dangerous — I blew threw it faster than is probably prudent.
Details $14.99 for a 32-ounce jar. 2385 N. Milwaukee Ave., Logan Square
5 Marz Coffee Black
The gist The mad scientists at Marz are always innovating new beverages. One of their latest is this canned cold brew made with medium-roast beans from nearby Bridgeport Coffee Company.
The joe A coffee that’s easy to like. It has pleasant fruit and cacao nib flavors, while the nitrogen adds a lush texture.
Details $14 for a four-pack. 3630 S. Iron St., Bridgeport
6 Hellion Cold Brew coffee
The gist Metric Coffee makes this ubiquitous cold brew, which is available in bottles, cans, and draft.
The joe Brisk with rich chocolate notes, Hellion has tons of acidity. Even if acidity isn’t your jam (and it’s not mine), this still pairs quite nicely with a Do-Rite cider doughnut.
Details $4 for 12-ounce can or a 16-ounce draft bottle at Foxtrot. hellioncoldbrew.com for locations
7 Sputnik Cold Brew Coffee
The gist It’s the newest cold brew on the scene and arguably the cutest (the bottle features the likeness of a Soviet space dog).
The joe After the debut batch included lots of sediment, the Sputnik team smartly rejiggered the formula in October. This is smooth and pleasantly bitter, with Hershey’s chocolate and barky spice notes.
Details $3.49 for a 12-ounce bottle. sputnikcoffeecompany.com for locations