Iced Coffee vs Cold Brew – What is the Difference?

As summer approaches, many people prefer a cold cup of coffee. It offers a much-needed caffeine dose with refreshment in the hot summer weather.

Comparing Cold Brew and Iced Coffee

There are many techniques used to get the perfect cup of coffee. If you’re interested to know all the different techniques to prepare a cup of cold coffee, continue reading. We’ll discover the difference between iced coffee vs. cold brew.

What Is Iced Coffee?

Iced Coffee is brewed regularly like any other cup of hot coffee using hot water to extract the coffee flavor. After that, the resulting hot coffee is poured over ice.

Iced coffee usually has more diluted flavor due to the ice melting. In order to get the same coffee flavor in your iced coffee, you’ll need at least 10% more coffee than that used for a similar-sized cup of hot coffee.

Iced Coffee can be tailored to your personal preferences. Some people prefer to add some milk and/or cream. These create a sweeter coffee taste and less strong flavor.

Other people add extra shots of espresso. This will give them more energy as well as add to the taste of the iced coffee.

Iced coffee can be added to coffee in the blender for an ice blended version similar to Starbucks Frappuccino. The simpler way is to simply add the coffee over ice and serve.

What Is Cold Brew?

One of the recent trends in the coffee scene is the cold brew coffee. Sometimes cold brew coffee costs up to twice as much as iced coffee. The question is what makes the cold brew more expensive?

Cold brew coffee is prepared by soaking coffee beans in cold water for a long period of time, usually 12 hours or more. This soaking takes out sugars, oils, caffeine making the taste more distinct. This means that the preparation method is much more complicated than your regular cup of coffee.

Cold Brew is less acidic than other types of coffee. Since it’s soaked for an extended period of time, the coffee beans lose some of their acids. This gives it a better creamier taste and makes it easier on the stomach. The longer the coffee beans are soaked in cold water the stronger the coffee taste is.

Cold-brew coffee usually has a stronger caffeine kick due to the fact that the coffee is soaked in cold water for a long period of time.

It can be served hot or cold. You can add milk or cream if you prefer. 

Cold brew or iced coffee

Can you Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home?

It isn’t hard to prepare your own cold brew at home using the type of coffee beans you prefer. Just make sure that the coffee beans should be medium ground.

In order to prepare the cold brew, you’ll need 225 grams of ground coffee beans and 8 cups of water. Also, prepare a container or jar with a narrow opening.

Add the cold water and coffee beans to the container. After that, mix coffee and water together until the coffee is fully soaked in water. Leave it to steep anytime from 12 to 24 hours.

Now it’s time to strain the coffee. The straining process is simple. Place the coffee filter on the top of another jar, and pour the concentrate through it. That’s it! Choose a suitable coffee filter.

You have 2 options that are easily accessible.  The first one is thin paper coffee filters which are sold in stores and online. They are specifically used for filtering coffee grains. If you don’t have access to these, you can use a cloth handkerchief.

Bring out that vintage handkerchief and get it to work. Just make sure that it covers the top of your container.  Don’t use your favorite one as it might end up with a coffee stain!!

Finally, store the concentrate in the fridge for up to two weeks. When you want to prepare your cup of cold brew, pour ½ cup of your cold brew concentrate to ½ cup of cold water. You can add ice for the extra freshness in hot weather.

Don’t forget that you can also add milk, cream or even make it hot!

Is Iced Coffee Made differently?

The quick answer is yes. It’s much easier than preparing the cold brew. You can easily put some ice to your cup of coffee with your favorite flavor.

For an added twist, throw some ice with your cup of coffee into the blender and have a Starbucks-like cup of ice-blended coffee.

People looking for the perfect iced coffee usually use the Japanese method. This is to pour hot coffee drop by drop on the ice cubes. This method cools the brew and keeps the richness and aroma of fresh coffee.

The slow cooling by pouring the coffee over ice ensures less dilution. Sudden pouring of hot coffee on ice causes sudden melting of the ice making the coffee less concentrated and more watery. This means that if we properly prepared the iced coffee, it shouldn’t end up watery.

Is Iced Coffee just Cold Coffee?

Iced coffee is created like any regular hot coffee brew method. It’s simply hot coffee that has been cooled down so that it can be poured over ice.

However, it has some techniques to cool it over without dilating it so much like the Japanese method. Also, We have to make sure that it isn’t made by hot coffee left to cool off as this causes the oxidation of coffee which ruins the taste. It has to be hot when added to the ice cubes.

What is the Difference Between Starbucks Cold Brew and Iced Coffee?

When preparing their cold brew, Starbucks’ soaking process lasts for 20 hours. Throughout this process, the cold water and the coffee stay together longer creating a stronger flavor.

One of the most significant differences between cold brew and iced coffee is caffeine intake. For reference, let’s look at the 16-ounces cup. For the cold brew, it contains 200 milligrams of caffeine. This is 12 milligrams per ounce.

The same amount of Iced coffee contains 165 milligrams, which is 10 milligrams per ounce. This means that the iced coffee has 20% less caffeine than the cold brew.

Another difference is the price. The cold brew is 50% more expensive than the iced coffee of the same size.

Comparing iced coffee with cold brew

Is Cold Press Coffee the Same as Cold Brew?

The quick answer is no.

Brewing coffee using the cold brew method takes several hours.  However, this results in less acidic and richer flavor than a typical brew.

A French press brews the coffee by soaking the coffee beans in hot water for 2-4 minutes. After that, the plunger is pushed to keep the coffee beans down while pouring your hot cup of coffee.

This brewing technique makes the coffee taste more intense as it is not filtered so it keeps its oils and flavors. This is the main difference between the cold brew and cold press the fact that the french press doesn’t have a filter.

However, there’s a health warning against using a French Press to brew coffee. This brewing technique leaves a high level of cafestol in the coffee. There’s a risk of increasing the level of bad cholesterol when consumed in large quantities.

Final Thoughts

As a cold coffee lover, you have many options, each with a different texture. Also, the coffee intensity differs between one type to the other. It’s important to try out different types and choose your favorite.

Also, if you’re planning to prepare your coffee at home, you should make sure that you have suitable equipment, especially, in the case of cold brew coffee. What would be better than enjoying your cold coffee cups this summer!!

Comparing Cold Brew and Iced Coffee
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