Is cold brew vs. iced coffee the same? Some people believe they are, but coffee baristas think differently.
In fact, any genuine coffee lover understands that these two beverages are not the same.
Learn how to make a cold brew. Find out how to make iced coffee. Experiment with hot and cold brews and test the taste difference for yourself.
What Is Cold Brew Coffee?
Cold-brew vs. iced coffee is quite different from each other.
Although both coffee types are delicious, the cold brew coffee is a cold brew, as its name suggests.
What does cold brewing mean exactly? Well, cold brew coffee requires you to steep the coffee grounds in cold water.
You should also brew the cold coffee at room temperature, and you do this for a longer period than it takes to make a cup of hot filter coffee–much longer.
Because you use cold water to brew your coffee, it doesn’t extract as much oil from the grouts as hot water.
Also, you end up with less acidity in your cold beverage and less flavor.
In other words, the cold brew coffee is smoother, more nuanced, sweeter, and less bitter.
But the longer you leave the coffee grouts steeping in cold water, the more oils and flavor you extract.
Another point about the cold brew is that you will use more ground beans to make up for the loss of flavor when using hot water.
The length of time you do your cold brew also makes a difference to the taste.
Coffee enthusiasts will typically leave their brew to steep for at least twelve to eighteen hours.
A slow process? Absolutely! But the results of delicious and worth the wait.
Coffee lovers also tend to use mild to medium strength coffee when steeping because the length of time the grouts steep also determines the flavor.
A full-bodied roast may be a little too strong for some.
So how do you make that delicious cold brew? Follow these steps to find out how:
Find the right container for your cold brew. This can be a glass bottle, water pitcher, French Press, or coffee plunger.
Glass works best as it won’t affect the flavor of the coffee.
Avoid using a plastic container as this can impact the taste, and you’ll probably have to throw the cold brew away.
#2 Pick your favorite filter coffee brand
Most coffee enthusiasts recommend using the same coffee beans for a cold brew that you enjoy hot.
You can pick any coffee brand and strength as long as you enjoy the flavor.
If you use your regular hot brew coffee beans, you’ll also be able to tell how the hot and cold brew differs.
#3 Grind the beans
Grind the beans to a coarse texture. The grouts should be the size of small breadcrumbs, so use the coarsest setting on the grinder.
Use filter water for your cold brew. If you don’t have filter water available, boil water in the kettle and allow it to cool.
The ratio of the water to coffee should be 8:1. So, for example, if you want a 32 oz. of cold brew, use 4 oz. of coarsely ground coffee.
#4 Mix the cold brew
Place the coarse coffee grounds in the container and pour the cold water over them.
You can brew the mixture for six, twelve, or eighteen hours or however long you wish.
Of course, the longer the mixture steeps, the more robust will be your cold brew.
#5 Filter the mix
You can now filter the mixture by pouring it through a fine sieve unless you used a container with its own filter.
You can now sit back and sip your cold brew. Next time, make enough for two people because good coffee tastes better with good company.
A side note–the cold brew will have a strong kick due to the higher caffeine content.
What Is Iced Coffee?
Iced coffee is nothing new. In fact, it has been around for almost two centuries.
So much so that people in countries around the world make and enjoy this beverage regularly.
So, what is iced coffee, you may ask? Iced coffee is not the same as cold-brewed coffee.
When it comes to cold brew vs. iced coffee, the two beverages are different.
We’ve explained what cold brew is, so it is time to move onto explaining iced coffee.
Iced coffee has its origins in Algeria, where it is known as Mazagran.
Algerians first created this beverage in 1840, and they probably came up with the idea because it is such a hot country.
Algerians first made their iced coffee using cold water and coffee syrup.
Similar stories can be found in history where the Italians made their own cold granita café, and others made an icy cold slush iced coffee.
But these beverages used hot coffee, which people cooled with ice, which shows you how modern iced coffee has changed over time.
Since the 17th century, iced coffee has seen many changes, as manufacturers now make pre-mixed packets of coffee to which you add cold water and drink.
Various countries also prefer their iced coffee in different ways. For example, the Australians flavor their cold milk with coffee and sugar.
If you go to a coffee shop in this country, they will serve their iced coffee with whipped cream on the top or even ice cream.
Other styles of serving iced coffee in this country include using coffee syrup, cocoa powder, or coffee beans.
Chileans enjoy their iced coffee using powder or espresso. They also add ice cream, cinnamon, vanilla, and other flavors to enjoy their iced coffee in the hot summer months.
Indians simply mix instant coffee with frozen or cold milk, add sugar, vanilla ice cream, or ice to enjoy this beverage.
Some countries prefer their iced coffee with a cooled hot brew, ice, and condensed milk.
Around the world, everyone has their own idea of how to make iced coffee. Mostly, these beverages are really milkshakes or flavored milk.
But how do Westerners make their iced coffee, and what is the acceptable method of making this beverage?
You can make an iced coffee using a hot drip brew and allow it to cool. Or you can cool the hot coffee with ice.
Coffee lovers with a sweet tooth will melt a little sugar in hot water to add to this mix.
Typically, home-brewed ice coffee or even those available at coffee shops is made from hot coffee, which is then cooled.
This technique ensures that you get all the bean’s flavor because the hot water extracts soluble oils and flavors from the bean or grouts.
You end up with a cold coffee that is as strong and flavorful as hot coffee.
Whether you prefer your iced coffee as a thin brew with cold milk, ice cream, or ice, the choice is yours.
But authentic iced coffee is made from coffee bean grouts, and this strong flavoring is complemented by adding ice-cold milk.
How Do They Differ?
Many people think that cold brew vs. iced coffee is the same thing. They aren’t!
A cold brew requires you to steep coarse coffee grouts in water, cold or at room temperature, for up to 18 hours.
This steeping action is what extracts the flavor of the ground coffee bean. But less extraction of oils occurs in cold water than in hot water.
Also, the steeping process is lengthy to arrive at a similar result as coffee made with hot water, but the flavor differs.
Hot brew coffee dissolves soluble components in the bean, which is not possible with cold water steeping.
As a consequence, there is less of a bitter flavor. The cold brew has a smoother taste, and it is sweeter.
Another difference with the cold brew vs. iced coffee is that people usually make the cold brew the same way they make hot coffee.
They simply add milk and sugar to taste, or they can add vanilla essence or other flavors to enhance the coffee’s flavor.
In contrast, iced coffee uses hot brewing methods. It is then cooled by allowing it to stand or using ice to cool the beverage.
As mentioned earlier, iced coffee comes in many forms, with people around the world choosing to add whipped cream, ice cream, or condensed milk to their iced coffee.
Like a cold brew, people generally make their iced coffee using more coffee grouts (or instant coffee) to strengthen the beverage’s flavor.
Another way that iced coffee differs from cold brew is that you can make a robust hot coffee like espresso and use this to flavor milk.
Then, add ice or allow the coffee to cool naturally, and you have a cold, milk-flavored iced coffee.
Any coffee lover has probably tried to make iced coffee at home, but few have tried to make their own cold brew.
Maybe it’s time to test the subtle or overt taste differences for yourself because the flavors of cold brew vs. iced coffee are different.
Don’t believe us? The only way to find out for sure is to test this statement through practical experience.
Last Updated on October 5, 2022 by Ashok Parmar