Tired of your everyday coffee routine? Think outside of the box with Wandering Bear Coffee! Whether you brew your coffee with the push of a button on your Keurig machine or enjoy pouring a cup of cold brew from the fridge, Wandering Bear is designed for the laid-back, efficient, everyday coffee drinker.
We got the opportunity to try Wandering Bear’s Cold Brew and Keurig K-Cups, and to sum it up: we were pretty impressed. Find out why by reading our thorough, in-depth review of this exquisite coffee company.
Wandering Bear’s Story
Describing their coffee as “strong and smooth,” Wandering Bear lives up to this depiction. Born from a friendly competition between Matt and Ben, two coffee-obsessed graduate school students and friends. From late-night study sessions to early morning classes, the two friends consumed copious amounts of coffee and soon began a competition to see which could make the smoothest, strongest cup of cold brew.
As time passed, cold brewing and coffee roasting got continuously better. Eventually, the dynamic duo decided to share their delicious creation with the world, naming it Wandering Bear. After opening a small kitchen in Queens, New York in 2014, Wandering Bear became an exceptional small-scale coffee business, and the first company we know of to successfully achieve bag-in-box cold brew coffee on tap.
Nowadays, Wandering Bear small-batch roasts all of their coffee to perfection from their location in Brooklyn, New York. Using only 100% arabica coffee cultivated along the mountainsides of Peru, every batch of Wandering Bear coffee is made with quality in mind.
Why Choose Wandering Bear?
Wandering Bear ensures that coffee brewers of all styles can enjoy the rich, robust flavors within the coffee. Though they don’t offer a wide scope of roasts, they don’t have to! Offering ground coffee, Keurig K-Cups, and cold brew on tap, all of Wandering Bear’s coffee products are fresh, skillfully crafted, and are designed to make your coffee experience as easy and efficient as possible.
Many cold brews on the market today are often saturated with sugar and lack freshness and flavor due to extended shelf life. In addition, most cold brews, especially those produced by large brand-name companies can often taste burnt or dull in flavor from mass-production and over-roasting of coffee meant to save time and increase profits.
Wandering Bear Cold Brew Boxes
Ground Coffee & K-Cups
Likewise, many ground coffee and K-Cup producers can be sloppy when it comes to attempting to package and ship their grounds immediately after roasting. Some collect beans that aren’t the healthiest or processed thoroughly, and even doing a careless job of roasting those beans, too.
Thankfully, that isn’t the case for Wandering Bear’s ground coffee products. Keeping a watchful eye over every step of the coffee selection, roasting, packaging, and shipping processes, you can rest assured knowing that your morning cup of coffee is fresh and ready to enjoy.
What We Received
We received two fully-intact, unblemished boxes from Wandering Bear–one with a sample of Wandering Bear’s K-Cups and one pound bag of coarse grounds for cold brewing, and the other containing three 96-ounce cartons of cold brew. Our cold brew samples included the straight black cold brew, as well as the Hazelnut and Vanilla flavors.
Likewise, we brewed Wandering Bear’s K-Cups with our Keurig B60. We got a box of 10 coffee pods, each thoroughly sealed and ready to brew. The coffee grounds were precisely ground and very fresh–resulting in a savory brew even through the hands-off Keurig brewing process.
Our wandering bear Review: The gist
In-Depth Cold Brew Review
How many ways can you enjoy Wandering Bear’s Cold Brew? There are three different bag-in-box cold brew options to enjoy, as well as coffee grounds for you to craft your own cold brew at home! Whatever method you decide, Wandering Bear goes above and beyond to ensure that you’ll have a rich, succulent, fresh serving of cold brew to sip on.
With the dedication to not just roast their coffee, but to artisanally craft it for you, Wandering Bear removes all of the stress from the brewing process. All you’ll need to do is relax and enjoy your crisp, refreshing cup of coffee. Or, if want to get your hands a little dirty, you can put your barista skills to the test by making your own cold brew with Wandering Bear’s coarse coffee grounds!
Our First Impression: The box
The first impressive feature about Wandering Bear’s boxed cold brew is the design of the box. Though the inner construction of the bag-box combination is engineered very well, what really impressed us is the outer spout that dispenses the coffee.
Structured securely to the front of the box and designed with a button that’s easy to push, the spout makes serving coffee a breeze. All you need to do is place your box in the fridge, hold your cup underneath, and push the spout!
Wandering Bear offers two different sizes of cold brew cartons: 96 oz (about 16 glasses of coffee) and one gallon (about 21 glasses of coffee). Once you’ve chosen the carton size, you can then choose how many cartons you want to order at a time.
Our First Impression: The Grounds
Upon opening our bag of freshly roasted coffee grounds, the first thing we noticed was the irresistible aroma. The sweet scent of dark, robust coffee grounds immediately excited us, and with a little steeping and a lot of hours later (12 to be exact)–we had a savory cold brew to sip on throughout the week!
We kept our brewing process simple, following Wandering Bear’s ratio of 1 cup of ground coffee per 3 cups of filtered, room-temperature water. We used a simple tea bag/mason jar brewing process, but there are plenty of effective cold brewing equipment to help you make larger batches if necessary.
As far as the caffeine content is concerned, our cold brew was strong, yet smooth enough to enjoy multiple cups in one sitting. Crisp and refreshing on its own, we paired it with a sweet, luscious almond milk creamer to cut it and make it a little lighter on the taste buds.
Things We Enjoy
Quality Over Quantity
For Wandering Bear, quality over quantity is an important characteristic that makes their coffee more enjoyable. Their dedication to crafting some of the most delicious home-delivered cold brew on the market simply shouldn’t go unacknowledged–at least not on our watch! With Wandering Bear, you can save all of the money that you spend each week through the Starbucks drive-through and enjoy small-batch roasted, artisanally crafted coffee.
Creating delicious cold-brew coffee that’s blended with added sweetener and flavor is no easy task. Many big-brand coffee companies who offer flavored cold brews often over-sweeten them, or the added flavor is too overpowering in relation to the flavor of the coffee itself.
Thankfully, Wandering Bear uses 100% natural, organic hazelnut & vanilla to enhance the succulent flavor of their cold brew coffee. The balance between the additional flavors and the natural hazelnut and vanilla flavors is well proportioned, and they both pair together extremely well. In fact, you can drink these flavored cold brews as-is–extra creamer and sweetener won’t even be necessary!
Don’t have enough room in your fridge? One efficient attribution that Wandering Bear makes with its cold brew is that you don’t have to refrigerate it until you open it for the first time! Until you open it, you can keep it stored in your pantry without worrying about it spoiling.
We really enjoy this feature because other cheaper, lesser-quality cold brews must be refrigerated immediately after brewing or purchasing. Likewise, whether you make your own brew at home or buy a batch from the store, you’ll need to account for the extra fridge space it will take up.
That’s why we enjoy Wandering Bear’s cold brew–if you need to store it somewhere before you open it, you can do so hassle-free.
Make Your Own Brew, Your Way
Another thing that we enjoy about Wandering Bear is the amount of flexibility that the company offers cold brew lovers. Perfecting cold-brew coffee on tap is no simple feat, but we enjoy the additional option of allowing customers to make their own brews at home through the option of Wandering Bear’s coffee grounds.
Having the options of ease and efficiency vs. authentic, hands-on brewing truly reflects what Wandering Bear is all about: allowing you to enjoy delicious coffee in a way that not only satisfies your taste buds but also meets your needs.
Wandering Bear Cold Brew Boxes
Things To Consider
Larger Size = Lack Of Flavor Options
Though we thoroughly enjoy the hazelnut and vanilla cold brew flavors, they are unfortunately only available for the smaller, 96-ounce carton size. When you receive a gallon of Wandering Bear’s cold brew, you’ll be enjoying the unflavored variety.
That being stated, if you enjoy adding a little razzle-dazzle to your cold brew coffee, you’ll need to remember to keep your own creamer, sweetener, and additional flavors in your fridge at home.
A Quick K-Cup Review
When it comes to selecting your K-Cups, there’s actually only one roast that you can select. Wandering Bear roasts all of its K-Cup coffee to a dark roast, and it consists solely of 100% organic arabica coffee. These K-Cups are also extra caffeinated because Wandering Bear packs in 25% extra coffee to deliver 250 mg of caffeine in each fully-brewed K-Cup.
Where there’s a lack of roast options, there is some flexibility on the amount of K-Cups you can order at once. Size selections including 10 pods, 30 pods, or 60 pods, supply you with up to two-months supply of robust, full-bodied Wandering Bear brew.
What We Love
Hands-down, the flavor is our favorite factor of Wandering Bear’s K-Cups. Bold in flavor, yet lacking in bitterness, this dark roast has hints of sweet chocolate and hints of caramel that make for a sweeter, succulent brew. We enjoyed this dark roast as a regular cup of black coffee, as well as paired with a small dash of half-and-half!
Don’t have a Keurig at home? No worries! Not only is K-Cup brewing a breeze, but Wandering Bear’s K-Cups are actually compatible with a variety of single-serve coffee brewers! You can brew with Keurig 1.0, Keurig 2.0, Cuisinart, and Mr. Coffee’s single-serve machines. So if you love the efficiency of single-serve coffee, you don’t have to stress over machine compatibility–just pop in one of Wandering Bear’s coffee pods, and that’s it!
What Could Be Improved
More Roast Variety
We don’t really have any qualms with Wandering Bear’s K-Cups, but adding more roast variety is one factor that we believe can make Wandering Bear even better. Though we’re pretty smitten with these K-Cups, adding a little bit of roast level variety could allow Wandering Bear to be more accessible for the coffee brewers who prefer lighter and medium level roasts.
Things to Note About Wandering BEar
Though there are many likable things that Wandering Bear’s cold brew and K-Cups both uniquely possess, there are some characteristics about the brand overall that we especially enjoy. Wandering Bear takes special care to meet specific qualifications that set it apart from rival coffee roasters, and here are just a few traits that stand out from the rest.
A healthy environment is ideal for cultivating healthy coffee, and Wandering Bear believes that aiding the improvement of the environment is highly important. To aid in this fight, Wandering Bear actually makes all of its cold brew cartons out of 100% recyclable material. Similar to the cold-brew, the K-Cups are also certified recyclable as well. With Wandering Bear, you can drink your coffee and feel great about it too!
A benefit of Wandering Bear that may surprise you is actually the price tag. If you typically buy cheaper coffee from a convenience store, you may not be used to contributing a few more extra dollars for extra bold coffee. But this coffee isn’t crappy, cheap coffee – it’s legit.
Simply stated: this isn’t just your regular, mediocre cold brew. To put it in perspective, a 96-ounce carton of cold brew will cost you about $27, an fair cost for a small-batch roasted cold brew that’ll save you money at the coffee shop and give you something to sip on throughout the week.
Likewise, you can buy about twice the amount of pods for the same price as other K-Cup brands, but only at about half the flavor/freshness value. At a minimum, a pack of 10 Wandering Bear’s K-Cups will cost you about $16, yet it’ll still save you more money than the Starbucks drive-through every morning.
With such close attention to detail, carefully roasted flavor, customer accessibility, and delivery services, we believe Wandering Bear is worth the upcharge. You’ll be getting a significant amount of bang for your buck out of both products, as well as small-batch roasted coffee that–if you’re a frequent coffee shop customer–will actually save you money in the long run.
Ease & Efficiency
It’s no secret how simple and easy-to-operate Keurig machines are, and Wandering Bear’s K-Cups only make your efficient experience more enjoyable. If you enjoy cold coffee at any time of day throughout any time of year, Wandering Bear can help spare you the preparation and extensive, time-consuming steeping/brewing process that’s involved with brewing cold brew. All you need to do is put it in the fridge and enjoy deliciously brewed coffee at the push of a button!
Wandering Bear Cold Brew Boxes
So who is Wandering Bear best suited for? If you consider yourself a coffee connoisseur that’s continuously busy and on the move, yet you don’t have time to grind, steep, or brew a cup of coffee to help fuel you throughout the day–Wandering Bear has your back.
Instead of carving out too many hours during your day-to-day schedule, let Wandering Bear provide you with some of the best organic, extra-caffeinated, full-bodied, and flavorful coffee you’ll ever have. So enjoy your products from Wandering Bear, and as always,