Although cold brew is cold coffee, it’s certainly not iced coffee. Cold brew is made using cold water, is less bitter, and less acidic. Typically, cold brew is more expensive compared to iced coffee. On the other hand, iced coffee is made using room temperature or hot water. It’s not only more bitter and more acidic but certainly cheaper.
Iced coffee, for many years, has been reigning supreme as the preferred early morning drink. But recently, a new smooth player has come onto the scene—cold brew. It comes without the diluted flat flavor of the traditional cup of Joe. These days, even in coffee houses, it is becoming more and rarer to find iced coffee being sold as patrons go for the new mode of drinking and making coffee, cold brew. Having said that what are the distinct differences between the two?
Cold Brew VS Iced Coffee Brewing
For starters, iced coffee is made by first brewing some hot coffee, allowing it cool, and then simply pour it over some ice. This is a relatively quick process. Cold brew, on the contrary, is made by first steeping ground coffee in filtered, cool water, for several hours.
Because cold brew is made without any heat, it cuts off much of the acidity typically associated with drip coffee. This means the final coffee is not only naturally sweeter but smoother.
Basically, the process of making cold brew isn’t as simple or straightforward as that of iced coffee. The element of time is actually what makes your cold brew so tasty. If you want to make the best cold brew, steep coarse-ground coffee in cold water for a minimum of twelve hours. The longer your coffee sits, stronger will be the flavor.
There is a slight yet distinct contrast in the caffeine content between the two. If you are keen on your caffeine intake, then taking iced coffee might be a better option. The general consensus is that typically cold brew contains more caffeine but a smoother flavor compared to iced coffee.
This, according to experts, is because during the brewing of cold brew, the coffee, and the water stay together for a longer period which creates a perfect scene for more action. For example, one 16-ounce iced coffee from Starbucks has 195 milligrams of caffeine while a similar size cold brew contains 205 milligrams.
Cold Brew VS Iced Coffee Acidic Levels
Cold-brewed coffee has less acidity than iced coffee. Because it uses time rather than heat in extracting the coffee’s sugars, caffeine, and oils, the end result is in, general, less bitter and less acidic than iced coffee. Because of that brewing process, cold brew coffee tastes better and some people even find it’s easier on their stomach and digestive systems.
One type of these two coffees isn’t necessarily “better” than the other. The truth is that they have distinctly different tastes because they are made differently. In addition, there are also several subtle differences in terms of the respective health benefits.
Perhaps more importantly, is that both have similar perks that experts associate with consuming coffee in general. These include reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, uterine cancer, and Parkinson’s disease as well as providing the human body with antioxidants.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.