Popular Store-Bought Iced Coffee Brands, Ranked Worst To First

When it comes to iced coffee beverages, we've got more options than ever at our fingertips. There's so many new products, with Starbucks releasing new drinks for summer 2024McDonald's new beverage spinoff, the CosMc's, grocery aisles are more packed than ever, and new and exciting brands offer hot and cold coffee everywhere. Some habitual drinkers have even replaced their cuppa with mushroom coffee. New colorful drink cans with trendy logos and branding are popping up everywhere, and some are quickly gaining popularity. With all these choices, how can you know what's best to drink? We're here to help with your iced coffee fix.


To qualify as an iced coffee, we simply chose coffee drinks enjoyed with ice. This could be cold brew or iced coffee, as long as it's served cold and require no heating or brewing. Some options in our list are ready to drink straight out of the bottle, while others require a quick dilution with water and your favorite milk. We've happily (and luckily) sampled each of the coffees in our list to rank our favorites from worst to first. If you're looking for a new morning brew or just a huge fan of iced coffee, you're in the right place. Read on to find out our number one iced coffee.

9. Stok

Stok is a cold brew company whose drinks are brewed with Rainforest Alliance Certified Coffee. Its lineup of flavors is extensive and can be a little confusing, but the company explains you can choose different roast levels to fine tune the flavor and caffeine content you're looking for. The company offers Bright & Mellow black cold brew coffees as well as Extra Bold in unsweetened and sweetened varieties, along with an espresso blend (its strongest) and cappuccino blend (containing some milk for creaminess). Its newer flavor options tout espresso and cappuccino names, which is confusing considering this is a cold brew and those are typically served hot.


The coffee itself was not our favorite as it came with a cloudy flavor that didn't taste as smooth as we hoped. When tasting the company's classic black unsweetened cold brew, we really wanted to add milk or something else to enhance the flavor. If you like coffee that doesn't taste too strong or are looking for the most affordable cold brew option, this one could be good for you. We'll stick with some of our other iced coffee options, but there's definitely a chance Stok has something you might like.

8. Chamberlain Coffee

Chamberlain Coffee, another newcomer to our iced coffee roundup, was founded by YouTube personality Emma Chamberlain back in 2020. The Chamberlain brand offers much more than coffee, which may indicate why it isn't one of our top choices, as coffee is not purely its focus. Rather than marketing coffee itself, Chamberlain feels more like a Gen Z lifestyle brand that's trying to sell as many products to you as possible — and it seems to be working for its intended audience, Gen Zer's. When it comes to the coffee beverages, Chamberlain has several ready-to-drink cold options in stores, all of which are flavored and sweetened. 


We tried the Cinnamon Bun Latte, which was the only option available in our local market at the time (although there are also salted caramel and vanilla flavors). It received an A+ for the cute branding and product labeling, but was too sweet and barely tasted like coffee, thus landing low on our list. However, we'd love to try its single serve cold brew pouches at some point in the future, which are unsweetened and seem super convenient for on-the-go coffee.

7. Califia

Califia Farms is the only brand on this list that sells items other than coffee and tea related merchandise, and you've probably already heard of its non-dairy milks. Offering both iced coffees and cold brews in different flavors, we sampled Califia's Unsweetened Black Coffee, which was ready to drink straight from the bottle. The caffeine level was on par with other coffee brands and it tasted strong, yet light enough to drink without milk or sugar added. This coffee tasted full bodied and smoother than some options on this list, but felt lower in quality overall.


Califia Farms' products can be found in the refrigerated coffee section in large, bulb-shaped bottles that are sure to catch your eye (even better, they're made from 100% recycled plastic). The neck of the bottle seemed thoughtfully designed, and was easy to hold onto while pouring. While this coffee didn't excel to the top of our list, it's widely available and affordable at about $5.49 per 48 fluid ounce bottle. If you pick up a bottle, you may also want to grab one of the company's organic almond or oat milks to pair with your coffee.

6. Chameleon Coffee

Chameleon Coffee started in 2010 in Austin, Texas and is still going strong today with more retail locations than ever. Another cold brew concentrate, this bottle can be found in the refrigerated coffee section, and one bottle will yield up to 64 fluid ounces of cold brew. The company's concentrates are steeped for 11+ hours and come in six different flavors, including Black, Vanilla, Espresso, Mocha, Hazelnut and Sweet Cafe Cubano. We tried the Black unsweetened variety as baseline flavor.


We liked the smooth-yet bold-flavor of the cold brewed coffee, and it didn't seem overly strong, which meant we could have a slightly larger serving (not at all a problem when it tastes great!). At about $10 per 32 fluid ounce bottle, Chameleon is one of the more expensive options for concentrate, which is fair considering it's also organic and it comes in recyclable glass bottles. Besides its classic concentrates, its new collaboration with Girl Scouts of America recently hit the shelves, with cookie-inspired flavors like Thin Mint and Coconut Caramel. These select flavors are available in individual cans. Chameleon's classic black concentrate made one of the best tasting coffees in this lineup, although it didn't rise all the way to the top of our ranking.


5. Rise Brewing Co.

Rise Brewing Co. is unique to the cold brew game in that it only offers nitro cold brew in canned versions.. There are no concentrates, or larger format options available. But, canned nitro brew is great if you're on the go since it's ready to drink and don't require ice. There are six varieties available, like the oat milk vanilla and salted caramel nitro; however, we tried its original black, vanilla, and mocha flavors. Surprisingly, the vanilla-flavored coffee tasted better than the original black, which was too strong and bitter.


The nitrogen charge froths the coffee upon opening the can and smoothens the texture. While Rise isn't our top choice coffee, it's an excellent contender for a canned caffeinated beverage when you need coffee quickly — and specifically, without ice. You can find Rise products in major grocery stores like Whole Foods and Albertsons, in the refrigerated beverage section.

4. Wandering Bear

Wandering Bear began selling its on tap boxed coffee online only in 2014, shipping boxed bags with pour spouts similar to a boxed wine. When the box arrives, you can pull out the spout and set it upright in the refrigerator for easy access. The coffee in the bag is an organic black cold brew, and it tastes amazingly smooth and bright over a glass of ice, even sans milk. The company's packaging states that one 6 fluid ounce cup of its ready-to-drink coffee is equal to 2 shots of espresso, which seemed about right flavor and caffeine-wise. Conveniently, it's ready to drink from the box and requires no dilution.


While we really loved this coffee, ordering the boxes online can take a bit of time and the large box was hard to fit in a crowded refrigerator and not recommended if you have a small fridge. It seems Wandering Bear has caught onto that, as its coffee can now be found in some retail locations around the country, including Whole Foods. With a great flavor and easy-to-use pour spout, this coffee was super enjoyable and could easily become our daily favorite. We highly recommend this boxed brew as an option for stocking up on premium quality coffee or even as a gift for your favorite coffee lover. 

3. Blue Bottle

Blue Bottle Coffee started in San Francisco, where struggling musician James Freeman used $15,000 in credit card debt to turn his coffee obsession into a million dollar business. Beginning as a small coffee cart, Blue Bottle quickly expanded to cafés and can now be found in several major cities, including California, New York, Boston, D.C., and Chicago. Like Grady's, Blue Bottle also has a signature New Orleans-style cold brew that contains chicory. These coffees are sold in retail locations and at grocery stores in signature milk carton containers.


We also sampled Blue Bottle's mini can (8 fluid ounces) of bold cold brew coffee, which was super bright tasting and light in color and was one of the best-tasting cold coffees sampled, even without ice. One can will cost you around $4.79 at Whole Foods, making this little can one of the most expensive items in our roundup. When the coffee is this good, we don't mind ponying up a few extra bucks.

2. La Colombe

La Colombe started its first coffee shop in 1994 in Philadelphia. Since then, it expanded nationwide with dozens of cafes in several states, including New York, California, Illinois, and more. In 2015, the company created the iconic Draft Latte, which gained in popularity over the years and can be purchased directly on its website, with a packaged commercial can appearing in stores in 2016. Today, you can find its canned lattes and cold brews in grocery stores, airports, and of course, at the company's retail locations. 


We tried the draft lattes and bottled iced coffee. In our opinion, La Colombe coffee is some of the best on the market, and can be consumed straight from the bottle or can without any dilution. The draft lattes also contain nitrogen (like a few other products in this list), providing a little froth and foam action when the top is popped. The La Colombe cans seemed to foam much more than any other nitro coffees we sampled, and got extra frothy when poured over ice. With a smooth, strong coffee flavor and practically no acidity, this coffee is our runner-up.

1. Grady's

Grady's Cold Brew is a true pioneer in the bottled concentrate game, debuting 2011, long before many (if any) cold brews were on the market, Grady Laird, a former production employee at GQ magazine, began selling coffee concentrate to his colleagues at Conde Nast. Growing over the years from a regional product to one that is now available nationwide, the quality and flavor of this New Orleans-style cold brew shines with every sip. We diluted the mixture according to the bottle's instructions,  which yielded a strong, tasty cup of cold brew that left us pleasantly buzzing. Without milk added, the chicory flavor is the main star, adding a subtle note of spiced sweetness to the black brew. It doesn't taste too acidic, and one small glass bottle of concentrate makes up to eight full sized coffees without taking up all of the fridge space. 


Grady's says it brews its coffee for 20 hours with a signature blend of coffee, spices, and ground chicory, a unique coffee bean alternative – which is what makes this darker roast New Orleans-style. If you become a fan (like us) and want a larger dose, you can try the company's brew bags, which makes a larger batch of cold brew. Grady's takes the number one spot on our list for tasting so delicious purely on its own, and still packing that punch of caffeine that you're looking for when you drink coffee. You can truly feel the quality when you hold the bottle and taste the product.


We've taken several factors into account when tasting and ranking these ten iced coffees. To qualify for this article, the coffees need to be ready to drink (aside from concentrated coffee), meaning no brewing or heating of any kind is required. Every coffee in this list contains caffeine and is sold either as a cold brew or iced coffee. Some of the sampled products were single servings, while others came in larger bottles that made multiple drinks.


We have sampled each of the coffee products and provided a general ranking based on taste profile, strength, and overall product experience. Acidity and smoothness were the main focus of the taste test. The coffee products were all sampled during the same time period, and were tasted according to the package's serving directions (chilled, with ice, etc.). Products were not diluted beyond the package's recommendations, and each was also sampled first without added milk if it was sold as a black coffee.