Saturday, August 18

Coffee Cultured: Trying different coffee chains’ cold brew


(Noelle Cho/Daily Bruin)

(Noelle Cho/Daily Bruin)


From latte art videos on Facebook to not-so-witty quotes on T-shirts, coffee is an indisputable aspect of our everyday lives. Every frappy hour is national news, and liking the taste of coffee is viewed as a mark of adulthood. I don’t claim to be a coffee expert that can easily discern between single-origin coffees and blends. However, I love coffee because of how much it has to offer in regards to its taste, variety, effect and experience. For the rest of the quarter, I will be embarking on an in-depth exploration of coffee from all aspects, and hopefully become more coffee-cultured.

Last quarter, I reviewed the different cold brews available at Whole Foods. However, if you’re looking for freshly made cold brew in Westwood and UCLA, here are my thoughts on a few different accessible options.

Starbucks
Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew, $3.25, 3.5/5

Although this cold brew had a strong coffee taste, it unfortunately wasn’t the best coffee taste, as I found it slightly bitter and acidic. However, I’m a fan of the vanilla cream – it adds a really nice flavor and actually lives up to its name. The vanilla cream gave the cold brew a nice amount of sweetness. This drink was refreshing, but I still don’t like it enough to buy a larger size because of the subpar coffee taste.

However, if you find Starbucks’ lattes too weak, I would recommend this as an alternative, since it has a much stronger coffee taste than their lattes do.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Cold Brew, $2.85, 4/5

This cold brew has a robust coffee taste with a smoky depth. It isn’t watery at all, and is drinkable without sugar. Its slight acidity is its only fault, and reminds me a little of Stumptown Coffee Roasters’ coffee. I can only imagine that this cold brew would be close to perfect with simple syrup, but I was annoyed by the fact that the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf had already run out of simple syrup at 9 a.m. I was also annoyed with myself for not bringing my handy-dandy (and bougie) on-the-go simple syrup packets.

If you’re looking for a cup of plain cold brew with no frills for a reasonable price, I would definitely recommend Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s. However, their Vanilla Bean Cold Brew Latte is a whopping $4.85, so if you’re craving vanilla, I’d still stick with Starbucks just because of the price.

Peet’s Coffee & Tea
The Black Tie, $3.45, 4.5/5

Once again, Peet’s reigns supreme in the realm of coffee chains. This is the clear winner – it’s such a delicious cold brew beverage. It comes with layers of condensed milk, cold brew, chicory infused simple syrup and half and half. After mixing the layers, an amazing cold brew drink is born. The condensed milk flavor works perfectly with the cold brew, and it has a great sweetness level. Despite all of the added ingredients, the coffee flavor still comes through strongly. Without the quality cold brew as its foundation, this drink would be nothing.

I highly recommend this drink to anyone who’s looking for accessible quality cold brew, without having to make the journey to Santa Monica or Beverly Hills.

Kerckhoff Coffeehouse
Cold Brew, $2.65, 4/5

Considering how seriously UCLA takes its food, as exemplified by the new Hedrick study lounge, it’s no surprise that our coffee shops have a decent cold brew option. Kerckhoff’s has a pretty strong coffee flavor and is drinkable without sugar. It’s not light and fruity like some cold brews, but has a more dark chocolate, dark roast taste. Although it’s more bitter than the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s cold brew, adding sugar masks the bitterness while maintaining the flavor. For those that like to drink sweet cold brew, just ask a worker for a few pumps of simple syrup.

Because of the accessibility and price, I would definitely recommend it to any UCLA students craving cold brew or just in need of some caffeine.

Read more Coffee Cultured:
A taste of the Los Angeles coffee scene
Your mainstream coffee drinks, explained
Comparing leading coffee chains’ holiday drinks

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Michelle Lin is a Daily Bruin Quad contributor. She writes about everything, but especially likes lifestyle and informative pieces.


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