Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee: What’s the Difference Anyway?

When the weather heats up, most people’s thoughts turn to cold drinks. If you’re like most coffee drinkers, you probably enjoy your caffeine fix cold and sweet. But do you know the difference between cold brew and iced coffee? Both drinks offer a refreshing taste on a hot day, but they are made using different methods. In this blog post, we’ll break down the differences between cold brew vs iced coffee so that you can decide which one is right for you. Stay cool!

About The Cold Brew

Cold brew is a way of making coffee that is brewed at lower temperature for a longer time, and uses more coffee grounds than the average cup of joe.

Making cold brew starts with water and coarse ground or whole bean coffee. The process can take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours to make cold brew coffee.

The ratio of water to coffee used depends on the desired strength of the final product, but it typically ranges between 1:8 and 1:10 parts water to one part ground coffee. Using less liquid makes a stronger concentration while using more liquid creates more caffeine content in each serving. The ideal temperature range for making cold brew is under 80 degrees Fahrenheit which allows for a fuller extraction without sacrificing taste.

After adding the grounds to a container or jar, cold water should be poured over the mixture. The container must then be allowed to sit at room temperature from 12 to 24 hours. After this waiting period is complete, the liquid can be placed in the refrigerator until all of it has been transferred into a separate container.

For those looking for a more concentrated version of cold brew, the coffee grounds should not be removed from the liquid as it sits over time. Instead, an additional process of pouring and straining through a filter will remove any sediment left behind.

When creating cold brew coffee at home there are many recipes that call for steeping ground coffee beans overnight in cool water and then removing them before serving or storing what’s left to become a concentrate. This is not to be confused with iced coffee, which just uses cold brewed coffee over ice cubes. It’s important to note that the steeping process can vary in both time and temperature depending on the desired outcome. Cold brew concentrates typically require 12 to 24 hours of steeping at room temperature or in a refrigerator before being filtered and used in various hot and cold drinks.

The Pros And Cons Of Cold Brew

In recent years, cold brew coffee has been popping up everywhere from restaurant menus to the aisles of our local grocery stores. With cold brew’s sudden surge in popularity, there are bound to be questions that arise as to how this drink stacks up against other coffee preparation methods. In order to help you decide for yourself if cold brew is right for you, we’ve outlined some pros and cons for all those curious about what goes into making a delicious pitcher of iced coffee.

The Pros

The first benefit of drinking a cold brew is its ease of preparation. Unlike brewing hot coffee with a traditional drip machine or French press, preparing the perfect pitcher of cold brew requires just two ingredients-coffee grounds and water. All you need to do is combine the two and let them sit for 12-24 hours. After that time has passed, simply strain the mixture with a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer and your cold brew concentrate is ready! From there you can add milk or water as you see fit. The simplicity of this method makes it perfect for those who want their caffeine fix quickly without any hassle.

Another major plus is that cold brew tends to have less acidity than traditional drip coffee, making it an option for those who are susceptible to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn. While the exact reason behind the lower acid content of cold brew remains unclear, many speculate that it’s due to differences in extraction methods between the two. Hot water extracts both the coffee solids and acidity, while cold water only extracts the flavors of the coffee grounds without stripping them of their bitterness. This may be due to inhibition, which is when an existing compound prevents other compounds from being released.

Another benefit that cold brew has over traditional drip is its lower caffeine content. While they may not taste like it, many iced coffees contain up to 40% more caffeine than their hot counterparts! The higher temperature of hot water allows for a speedier extraction of caffeine but at the cost of flavor and mouthfeel (a term used in coffee tasting to describe how “thick” or “rich” something tastes).  This makes iced coffee one of the most popular ways to consume coffee at a faster rate, but may leave some unsatisfied with the taste. Cold brew concentrates generally have around 20-50% less caffeine due to their slower extraction process which highlights the flavors of the coffee grounds without losing any of the caffeine.

Lastly, cold brew is an excellent option for anybody looking to experiment with new flavors and ingredients. While brewing hot coffee usually results in one very concentrated shot of flavor that can’t be altered much, cold brew allows you to adjust both the strength and flavor of your brew by adding different amounts of water or milk after it’s been strained. By experimenting with concentrations and flavor profiles, you’ll be able to find something perfect for you! Just remember though that since this method tends to highlight the subtler flavors of the coffee, it takes a little more effort to get that perfect “wow” factor out of cold brew!

The Cons

While we’ve talked about all the benefits cold brew has over traditional drip and French press, there are still some cons that need to be mentioned. For starters, cold brewed coffee is only good for two weeks. That’s right-just fourteen days! While many people who make cold brew will say that they taste their coffee after a week and then filter it the following week, the majority of us forget that we have a pitcher in our fridge until it’s too late! Even though this method does create less acidity in your coffee, it still has a much shorter shelf life than other methods. If you need your caffeine fix regularly throughout the day, then cold brew is probably not for you!

Another issue that people have with cold brew is its price tag. While making cold brew at home can get pricey, buying pre-made bottles or cans of cold brew are even more costly! If you’re wanting to save some cash, it’s a good idea to make your own at home using this method. While it may take a few extra minutes of preparation and waiting, you’ll be able to brew enough cold brew concentrate for multiple weeks at a fraction of the cost.

Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee: What’s the Real Difference? Keep reading…

About The Iced Coffee

Iced coffee is a type of cold brew that  is often served over ice cubes. Sometimes, condensed milk can be added to the coffee for sweetness and flavor.  Typically, iced coffee is brewed with double the amount of ground beans in relation to hot drip coffee. It can also be prepared iced in advance.

The iced variant is usually consumed in the summer months when it’s too hot to drink hot beverages like coffee or tea.  Vecchi developed an Iced Coffee recipe which was meant to resemble one that had been left standing around overnight. To prepare this, he brewed cold-brewed concentrate using water with a temperature of 50 degrees Celsius, then combined it with ice made out of regular drinking water.

Some coffee shops serve iced coffee using different types of add-ins such as chocolate, syrup, and even alcohol like Kahlua. For example, Starbucks offers an Iced Espresso drink that they began selling in 1994 under the name “Cool Lime.” This beverage is made with espresso that’s chilled after being brewed but before it’s added to ice.

Some iced coffees are pre-sweetened or sweetened with sugar during the brewing process. Others use sweeteners like honey instead of refined sugars for additional flavor.

For iced coffee drinkers who don’t want to make their own iced coffee at home, many restaurants offer specialty versions of iced drinks. They can be quite pricy depending on where you dine.

Iced coffee is also served at “coffee shops” or cafés. These businesses serve specialty drinks like cappuccinos, mochas, and lattes to people who want to relax with a hot beverage. iced coffee can be served at various times throughout the day, depending on the business’s hours of operation and drink menu.

Some restaurants serve iced coffees that are made using different types of beans instead of just regular drip coffee. They typically give customers more choice than places that only sell regular drip coffee brewed in large pots for hours at a time. Iced coffees made from espresso are called “iced lattes” but they do not contain milk because these drinks are prepared with just coffee and ice.

Iced coffees are also served in Asia, particularly in Japan. For example, the company “Hill Street Coffee” began selling iced coffee on Tokyo streets at night because it was difficult to find high-quality cold beverages during the hot summer months. The business is now very popular all over Asia for its light roasted beans that are simmered with water at temperatures of more than 90 degrees Celsius for 16 hours before being brewed into iced drip coffee.

The Pros And Cons Of Iced Coffee

The Pros

There is no better way to beat the heat than to grab a refreshing glass of iced coffee, but what makes it so great?  Here are some things that make iced coffee stand out from hot brewed coffee:

– It’s more flavorful

When hot-brewed or “hot-drip” coffee is cooled and poured over ice, all of the subtleties and complexities of the bean come forward. The best coffees will shine when prepared as cold brew. So don’t be afraid if your iced coffee doesn’t taste as good as those expensive specialty drinks at your local café. You’re getting an incredible value by making it yourself!

– Less acidity

Iced coffee is naturally less acidic than hot-brewed coffee for a couple reasons. The first reason is because it’s brewed at a lower temperature, and the second reason is because the ice cubes help to mellow out the flavor.

– Less extraction from the bean

With cold brew, there is no need to have a fine grind on your beans or to use as much ground coffee per cup. In fact, you should experiment with using more ground coffee per cup of water when preparing iced coffee for optimal strength and flavor.

– It’s bolder

Since you only have half of what you would normally use in terms of volume when brewing Iced Coffee, all of those precious flavors and oils extracted from the ground coffee will stand out and sparkle, making it a bolder tasting beverage than hot brewed coffee.

– It’s cheaper

Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee? Here is another reason to love iced coffee. You can use more ground coffee for each batch of Iced Coffee and still end up with a delicious brew that costs less money per cup. Try experimenting with different roasts and blends as well, since you will be able to taste the difference!

The Cons

– You have to wait for it to cool down.  I don’t know about you, but waiting a couple minutes for a coffee that I could drink instantly is completely unacceptable.

– The ice melts and dilutes the taste of the coffee.  Sure, you can drink it fast enough so this doesn’t happen as much, but then you’d be getting your caffeine fix in addition to heat stroke.

– It wastes resources – keeping something cold requires more energy than keeping something at room temperature, so why not just keep your coffee at room temperature for your convenience?

So next time you’re thinking about taking a break and grabbing an ice-cold beverage, don’t forget your reusable travel mug filled with fresh cold brew instead of buying one of those expensive specialty drinks. The best part is you’ll be saving money by making it yourself at home!

Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee Comparison

Cold brew coffee has been on the rise, with many restaurants and cafes now offering cold brewed coffee as a staple on their menus. Cold brew also varies greatly in its results compared to traditional hot drip iced coffee.

When comparing cold brew to the process of making iced coffee, there are some major differences between the two methods. Whether you’re new to either variation or just want to learn more about how these coffees compare, it’s important that you know what makes each kind unique.

Let’s take a look at some of the most obvious differences between these two types of coffee:

– Strength Variation (Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee)

Iced Coffee – This will all depend on how much ice you add during your pour over, but generally speaking it’s much weaker than drip iced coffee.

Cold Brew – Cold brew is always much stronger than iced coffee, especially when it comes to pour over methods that require you to dilute at the end of your brew (like the Kalita Wave).

– The Grind Size (Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee)

Iced Coffee – This all depends on what kind of pour over method you are using, but generally speaking it’s much finer than cold brew. Therefore, it extracts quickly and can be diluted with ice without making too much difference in strength.

Cold Brew – Cold brew is usually around twice as coarse as iced coffee grinds, so it takes a lot longer for water to penetrate through the bed of coffee during your steep. It also does not dilute well with ice and will likely taste quite strong if you add more than a few ice cubes.

– Brewing Time (Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee)

Iced Coffee – For most pour over methods, your iced coffee should be brewed in around half of the time it would take to make hot drip iced coffee. This isn’t always the case for cold brew because of its grind size difference, but typically speaking – cold brew takes twice as long to steep as iced coffee does.

Cold Brew – Cold brew is always made by letting water seep through coarsely ground coffee for much longer than it would take to make hot drip or pour over iced coffee. Typically cold brewing can take anywhere between 12 to 24 hours depending on what kind of container you are using and how big the grind size is.

– Dilution Ratio & Strength

Iced Coffee – The more ice you add, the weaker your iced coffee will be.

Cold Brew – If you want to make a cold brew stronger, simply add more water or milk without adding too many ice cubes that it starts tasting watered down. You can also let it steep a little longer to extract a bit more from your grinds without letting too much extra water in.

– Tasting Notes (Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee)

Iced Coffee – With the fine grind size and quick extraction time, most iced coffees are considered flawless and do not vary greatly with taste profile. It’s usually consistent between cafes and restaurants because of this reason, so it typically tastes very similar no matter who makes it.

Cold Brew – Because of the coarse grind and long extraction time, most cold brews do not taste exactly the same from place to place or even batch to batch. The good news is that this can be a great thing because you get to experience various tasting notes based on what kind of beans were used, how many batches you’ve gone through, and all sorts of other factors like where your water comes from.

Tips To Makes Cold Brew Coffee

You’re probably saying to yourself, what’s wrong with my regular iced coffee? Well, nothing. But if you want something a little more iced and a little less hot, coffee brewed cold is the one for you.

Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee? It brings out a different side of your beans before adding ice to chill it down. This results in a smooth, bold flavor without any bitterness or acidity. We’ve got some tips to help you out before making your first pot of cold brew coffee at home:

– Make sure you have the right ingredients.

Coffee is as much about what goes into it as how it’s made . To get that classic coffee flavor without the heat that can destroy those nuances, don’t just use any old ground coffee.

– Use coarsely ground beans, not finely ground ones. A grind that’s too fine can actually make your cold brew cloudy or weak tasting. You’ll want a coarsely ground coffee so the water has room to move through, extracting all of those flavorful oils and essences just right.

– Grind it fresh for the best flavor possible . Because you won’t be heating this coffee up, any little bit of exposed bean surface will quickly oxidize and go stale. That means no pre-ground stuff allowed! Make sure you have a good grinder that can do medium to course grinds well before you start brewing your cold batch of goodness.

– Measure out the right amount of beans for your needs . If you’re the only coffee drinker in your household, measure out enough beans to brew 12 ounces. For two or three people, go for 32 ounces. Scale up with more ingredients as needed.

– Use the right water-to-coffee ratio . The sweet spot is usually 1 part coffee to 4 parts water, but if you like it strong, go 2 or 3 parts instead. Boiling hot water can burn off those flavor notes , so make sure your steeping time is about twice as long as usual with cold brew (six hours instead of three). Add ice to taste when done brewing and enjoy!

– Only use filtered or bottled water for this iced coffee recipe . Hard tap water that’s high in iron and minerals can make your coffee taste bad, and no one wants that.

– Don’t forget to add milk and/or sugar to taste before chilling! No need to boil the milk when brewing cold brew because it’s not hung up on that extra heat like regular hot coffee is. If you like your coffee sweet, add a little bit of sugar in with your water and beans mixture when you start brewing.

Is Cold Brew Better Than Iced Coffee?

Cold brew coffee has been one of the hottest beverages on the market recently. It seems like practically every iced drink you order is going to be cold brew now. Iced coffee lovers, however, have noticed a difference in taste and texture between cold brew and iced coffee. But what is the difference? And which one is better? 

The way iced coffee and cold brew are prepared can make a huge difference in the outcome of your cup of joe. Iced coffee is brewed hot and cooled by adding ice or ice water after brewing. Cold brew is different because it requires longer steeping times than traditional hot-brewing methods allow. This extended steeping time allows for different flavor profiles to develop as compared to regular iced coffee.

Some flavors that come out in cold brew are chocolate, nutty and caramel undertones, as opposed to the fruitier taste of iced coffee that you might be used to. If you love your regular cup of iced coffee but don’t want to give up all the flavor, try adding a splash of cold brew for an extra kick! It will bring out those other delicious notes without sacrificing the refreshing drink you know and love. But if it’s creamy sweetness you crave, skip the cold brew – it’ll only make things more complicated.

What Happens If You Brew Cold Brew Too Long?

When brewing coffee, there is a certain “sweet spot” of time one must wait for optimal flavor. Too short and it under-brews, too long and you get bitterness. There are many ways to brew cold brew coffee but regardless of which method you choose, the basic idea is that hot water is let sit with coarsely ground beans for an extended period of time – usually between 12 hours to two days. The longer it sits, the stronger your cold brew gets, though at the risk of over-extraction leading to more bitter flavors. It’s not so much of a scientific process as it is more of an intuitive one, where knowing what each step tastes like along the way gives you a good idea of how long everything needs to sit.

What’s the problem then?

If you’re following a recipe, like this one from Starbucks , it will tell you what time to ideally let your cold brew sit for in order to get the most flavorful cup, but what if you wait longer? What happens if your cold brew sits too long and is over-extracted beyond that “sweet spot” of ideal flavor? The flavors that are meant to be subtle or nonexistent become more dominant, with  bitterness being the most common result. To answer my question, here are some examples of  over-extracted cold brews I have made in the past by letting them sit too long:

The beans on top were added later for effect but they do resemble overly-bittered beans.

Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee – This bean was extremely over-extracted and tasted like bitter dirt. Don’t drink the dregs!

What Does This Look Like in a Cup?

I’ll admit, it’s difficult to capture what overly-harsh flavors look or taste like since it’s so subjective, but here goes: When brewed for too long, cold brew tends to be more thin and watery than usual because of all the soluble matter that escaped from the grounds due to evaporation. It also has an overwhelming acidic flavor which makes it seem sour even when sweeteners are added. You might have noticed this phenomenon with Starbucks’ iced coffee before where they add vanilla syrup to mask the acidity while still showcasing some of those bitter flavors, though this is a result of the way they brew it.  In its purest form, cold brew will have more of a bite to it and doesn’t come across as thick or creamy as hot-brewed coffee does. It’s just not pleasant to drink straight up.

Does Temperature Matter?

Letting your cold brew sit for too long doesn’t just affect the flavor, but also the temperature at which you serve it. When something sits longer than needed, all that added acidity means that you shouldn’t serve it until chilled lest you burn your tongue on acidic lava! Chilling down hot coffee isn’t so bad since there are no sugars to caramelize, but who wants an almost vinegar tasting beverage served lukewarm? It’s not ideal and won’t taste right, so don’t keep it hot!

How Can You Tell If Your Cold Brew Is Over-Extracted?

Luckily you can taste your cold brew all along the way to determine how long it has been sitting for. The longer it sits, the more harsh flavors will shine through along with a higher acidity which may or may not add bitterness. In other words, if your coffee tastes bad then let it sit for less time next time. Here are some easy ways to tell if your cold brew is over-extracted:

– The watery texture of over-extracted coffee makes it seem thin and insipid even though this may affect a small portion of what you’re drinking. It’s just not pleasant.

– The more acidic your coffee tastes, the closer you are to being over-extracted. Don’t serve it if it seems more tart than usual! Why would Starbucks add vanilla syrup to their cold brews then? In order for them to mask the harsh flavors that result from extended periods of sitting time and encourage people to drink it on-site as opposed to take away since they know most won’t be able to finish it otherwise.

– If your cold brew is too bitter for your liking, this means there was a longer period of time where hot water and coarsely ground beans were in contact with each other; i.e., too long! You can also combine all three factors together into one simple way to test your cold brew if you are feeling extra observant. Simply cup your coffee with one hand, then blow on it with the other. If it’s over-extracted, blowing will create bubbles across the surface of your coffee!

If you can’t see bubbles in your cup, this means it probably isn’t over-extracted. Keep in mind that this is not a surefire way to tell since there are many variables affecting this process, but it’s an easy thing to try when you’re bored.

Knowing When Your Cold Brew Hits That “Sweet Spot” As mentioned before,  there is a point where cold brewing perfection occurs when flavor begins to peak just before being-extracted which I have nicknamed “sweet spot.” Every time you cold brew, it’s a different journey to reach that point. Sometimes your coffee will reach it in just 12 hours, while other times 25 hours will have passed before the sweet spot is found. It depends on what coffee beans you’re using and how coarsely they were ground too. One universal factor affecting this is the temperature at which you brew: higher temperatures will allow extraction to take place faster, while lower temperatures will slow this down.

That’s what cold brewing is all about; finding your perfect ratio and sweet spot so that you can enjoy a well-balanced cup of coffee without feeling acidic or burnt in any way! There are many ways to tweak this ratio in order to obtain the type of coffee flavor you like. Here are some ideas:

– The more coarsely ground your beans, the longer they should sit for optimum extraction without becoming too bitter or acidic tasting. If it’s powdery, then let it sit longer!

– For a smoother cup of cold brew with less acidity than usual, use 1/3 the amount of water you normally would. This will mean more caffeine too!

– For a fruitier cold brew with less acidity, let it sit for only 10 hours.

– If your coffee is too acidic or tastes especially bitter, reduce the brewing temperature to 95°F and increase the water ratio to 2:1.

Know Your Limits! While it is tempting to let your cold brew sit for as long as possible so as to unleash maximum flavor, there comes a point when the bitter and acidic flavors present in over-extracted coffee will fully take over making it unpleasantly harsh on your palate. It’s best to cut you cold brew off when you notice this happening rather than let it sit for too long.

The sweet spot will vary from one coffee to the next, which is why cold brewing isn’t an exact science that can be measured in hours or grams per liter or anything else. That’s what makes cold brewing a craft! The more often you experiment with different beans, grind sizes, water ratios, and brew temperatures, the better you’ll get at cold brewing.

>>> See more: The Easiest Cold Brew Ever: 2 Ways | Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide which coffee is best for you. The cold brew process is different from that of iced coffee, but the end product has many similarities. They’re both refreshing and caffeinated beverages with a similar amount of caffeine as regular brewed coffee (about 70 milligrams per 8 oz cup). Both cold brew vs iced coffee have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it ultimately comes down to what you prefer. If you want a richer flavor that stands up to milk and sugar, go with cold brew. If you like your coffee light and refreshing, iced coffee is probably the better choice for you. No matter which type of coffee you choose, we hope our guide has helped make your decision easier. Thanks for reading!

Read more:

French Press vs Moka Pot: Our New Favorite Travel Coffee Maker

Leave a Reply