Some like it hot; some like it cold. Each one of us has our own way of brewing and drinking coffee. Coffee is a delicious beverage that can be enjoyed piping hot or chilled depending on how you like it.

Hot and cold coffee each have distinct flavors and benefits that lead to enthusiasts preferring one over the other.

After all, you can’t argue with someone who likes an ice-cold cup of coffee to make a hot summer day a little more bearable or someone who loves a hot brew to turn a cold winter afternoon into something cozier.

If you’re here to know about the differences between the two types of coffees, we will tell you all about hot coffee vs cold coffee and which one is better.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

Hot Coffee

Hot Coffee

Hot coffee is a hot brew that can be made with various brewing methods, from drip pots and French presses to pour-overs and expensive espresso machines.

You can drink it black or add a splash of milk, creamer, syrups, or other flavors and toppings.

Hot coffee is best enjoyed fresh and nearly piping hot. Once it gets cold, you’ll be left with a bitter brew that lacks complexity and depth of flavor.

A hot brew is a fantastic way to warm up on a cold day. It can also give you the caffeine kick you need first thing in the morning or during an afternoon slump when you can’t focus on your tasks at hand.

Pros

  • It takes less amount of time to prepare
  • It contains more antioxidants
  • It contains a good amount of caffeine
  • It is best enjoyed during fall and winter
  • It is known to enhance feelings of interpersonal warmth and positivity
  • It can help reduce stress, tiredness, and lethargy with a single whiff
  • It has a stronger, bolder, well-rounded flavor

Cons

  • It tastes comparatively more bitter and acidic, unless it’s a dark roast
  • It can be made only using the hot brew method
  • You need to wait for a little while before drinking to avoid getting burnt
  • It can cause an upset stomach and stained teeth due to high acidity

Cold Coffee

Cold Coffee

Many people confuse cold coffee with cold-brewed coffee. But in this case, the term “cold” refers to the beverage’s temperature when it’s served and not the brewing method.

Cold coffee is brewed hot, and ice is added to it after the brewing process. It can be prepared just like any other cup of coffee, including the cold brew method.

Remember that you need to cool the coffee down before you add ice so you can enjoy a delicious, chilled beverage.

Note that a cold brew takes more time to prepare than a hot brew because it steeps for longer. However, it involves a little less effort.

Its smoother, milder flavor and lower levels of acidity and bitterness make cold brew well worth your while.

Iced coffee is best consumed when the weather is hot, and you need a caffeine kick without heating yourself further.

Pros

  • It can be made using both hot brew and cold brew methods
  • It is usually brewed and served in larger quantities
  • It may have a higher caffeine content than hot coffee, especially if cold-brewed
  • It tastes more flavorful and less acidic and bitter, especially if cold-brewed
  • You can drink it immediately without scalding your tongue
  • It is best for hot summer days
  • It is not likely to cause an upset stomach and teeth stains due to low levels of acidity
  • It is known to protect better against heart attacks

Cons

  • It takes more time to prepare
  • It has a lower amount of antioxidants
  • It has a lower strength of flavor

Preparation Differences

Although hot and cold coffee contains the same ingredients, the specific quantities and brewing methods differ.

Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just brew a hot cup of coffee, let it sit a while before you drink it, and then call it cold or iced coffee.

A well-prepared cup of coffee, whether hot or cold, needs just the right balance of coffee grounds and water. And the perfect cup of java is decided by the way you prepare it.

Read on for a guide on the different ways you can go about making a cup of hot or cold coffee.

Hot Coffee

Hot Coffee

Hot coffee is traditionally prepared with the hot brew method. To brew the perfect cup of hot coffee, measure each tablespoon of coffee by every 6 ounces of water that you pour. Let the brew sit for 30 seconds at a temperature of around 200°F.

You can take it to the next level and use bleached filters while passing quality oxygen during the brewing process. Most cafes serve hot coffee after pouring water into coffee grounds for about half a minute.

Cold Coffee

Cold Coffee

Cold coffee can be prepared using the hot brew method or the cold brew method, after which ice is added to chill it.

Cold Brew

Ideally, cold-brewed coffee should be made over an extended period. The coffee beans need a lot of time in the water—it takes a while for the flavor and intensity of the beans to get infused into the water.

The trick is to make large batches of cold-brewed coffee in one go—they can actually last you up to 10 days!

Cold-brewed coffee can be made in multiple ways, too. Two of the most commonly followed methods are cold immersion and slow drip.

  • Cold Immersion

Take 100 grams of coffee, crushed extra fine in a burr grinder, and place it in a French press. Pour about 700 ml of water evenly over the grounds.

Use a spoon to push down any loose grounds floating on the surface of the water. You can leave it on the countertop for 12 hours or in the fridge for 15 to 16 hours.

Use French press filters to press down the coffee beans to ensure all the coffee concentrate is extracted. Now pour it through a second filter, add ice, and serve it chilled.

  • Slow Drip

The slow drip method is the most common preparation method for cold-brewed coffee. You have likely already seen them in cafes: coffee beans are poured into glass towers with multiple chambers.

Coffee grounds are placed in the middle chamber, and the beans, along with the ice, are placed in the top chamber. As the ice melts, it drips through the beans and the grounds to make cold brew concentrate. You can then add water and ice and enjoy your cold coffee.

If you find your iced coffee overly bitter or acidic, you can add a bit of milk or flavored syrups or toppings for a more mellow taste.

On the other hand, if you find it too weak or watered down, brew hot coffee at double strength. This way, your cup will not end up diluted or tasteless once you add the ice.

Taste Differences

Taste Differences

Hot coffee and cold coffee have marked differences when it comes to taste.

When you brew hot coffee, the hot water used in the brewing method opens the coffee grounds and extracts all the intense flavor compounds within a few seconds. This results in a more potent brew.

A cup of hot brewed coffee has more balanced and bolder flavors. It has a crisp acidic taste with hints of sweetness and bitterness. It also generally tastes more acidic and bitter than cold coffee, which is often why people find it stronger.

Once ice is added to a hot brew to make cold coffee, the water from the ice will water down the flavor and acidity. 

Additionally, iced coffee prepared using the cold brew method has less acidity and bitterness. This is because the cold brew method does not over-extract the flavors from the beans. What you get instead is a more subtle, delicate, smoother, and sweeter brew.

Many of the compounds in coffee beans—such as the oil and acids contributing to the flavor—are only soluble in high temperatures. This also causes a much different flavor profile in cold brews compared to hot coffee.

Conclusion

In this debate between hot coffee vs cold coffee, there is no clear winner. Both types have their pros and cons, and it’s all down to your preferences in terms of flavor and acidity.

If you want a quick cup of coffee to satisfy your caffeine cravings and give you a shot of energy and focus, hot coffee is perfect.

On the other hand, if you have a sensitive stomach or would simply like a less bitter and acidic drink, cold coffee will suit you well.

Whichever temperature you go for, hot and cold coffee have many benefits. When enjoyed in moderation, coffee can boost your cognitive and physical performance.

It can also reduce stress and the risk of getting diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders. It also helps you live a longer, healthier life.

We hope our guide on hot coffee vs cold coffee helped you understand their differences. If you enjoyed reading this article, do share it with your friends, family, and your circle of coffee lovers. Happy coffee drinking!

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Last Updated on June 18, 2022 by Ashok Parmar

My name is Ashok Parmar, and for seven years, I worked as a warehouse manager that strictly dealt with coffee shops all around the United States.

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