What is the Difference Between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee
With the growing popularity of cold brew, it can easily be confused with an iced coffee. How it is different from iced coffee and which one is best for your summer months?
What is Cold Brew?
Cold brew coffee is just as it sounds and is literally “cold coffee.” Well, what is so special about cold brew coffee then? The main difference between cold and regular brewed coffee is in the method of extraction or process of brewing. Rather than the traditional way, which is to use hot or warm water to extract coffee grounds, cold brew is made with room temperature or cold water. It is coffee that is never subjected to heat and instead uses more time to extract coffee from medium size coffee grounds. Unlike regular brewed coffee, it has a mellower taste with less acidity and less rounded out mouthfeel.
- It can prevent coffee from being watered down since no ice is used.
- Good for those who prefer a mellow coffee taste.
- No much attention needed for making it since you can set it up and leave alone for a while.
- Has a very long brew time compared to regular coffee (can take anywhere form 12-24 hours). In addition, you will need to remove the coffee sediments from the water depending on the type of cold brew coffee grounds you are using.
- You need to plan ahead and prepare beforehand if you want to drink it.
- Can end up with a flat taste with less body and mouthfeel.
What is Iced Coffee?
Iced coffee is essentially the same thing as regular brewed coffee, but chilled. Hot water is poured over coffee grounds (can be in various ways) in order to extract it. It is then cooled down and poured over ice. While many people may think that iced coffee is diluted, there are many ways to minimize this dilution and if an iced coffee is made right, it should not be watered down in any way. For instance, you can use quality instant coffee so you do not need to wait for the coffee to cool down, use iced coffee cubes instead of ice cubes, or even drip coffee over ice so it cools as the coffee is extracted.
- Faster brewing process compared to cold brew.
- No need to prep beforehand.
- Can have a fuller body flavor and mouthfeel.
- If made properly, coffee won’t be diluted or watered down.
- If brewed coffee is left to sit for too long, it can oxidize and negatively affect coffee flavor.
- If not made properly, coffee can be watered down.
Caffeine Content: Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee
The caffeine content in coffee can vary greatly depending on the type of coffee beans, the amount of coffee grounds used, and how they are extracted. Now, is cold brew stronger than regular coffee? Some people believe cold brew contains more caffeine than iced coffee because it is made with a higher ratio of coffee grounds to water. It is also extracted fro longer and is has a more concentrated coffee content, which might increase the caffeine amount.
Cold brew is produced as a concentrate that is diluted afterwords. It is diluted with a 1:1 ratio of coffee to either water or milk. Because of this, the caffeine content is also reduced. In reality, both iced coffee and cold brew contain about the same amount of caffeine. It is all a question of how do you dilute it or what do you add to your cup. To learn about caffeine content in different types of coffee, read our previous post here.
How to Make Cold Brew
While the long brewing process of cold brew may seem daunting, it can be easier than you think! Here is how you can make cold brew at home:
- 3/4 cup of coffee beans of choice
- 4 cups of cold water
- Container to extract your coffee in
- Cheese cloth
- Container to store your cold brewed coffee
- Grind three-fourths of a cup of coffee beans into a coarse ground.
- Pour your grounds into a container large enough to hold both coffee grounds and water.
- Add in 4 cups of cold water and stir gently to ensure all grounds are properly moistened.
- Let it sit at room temperature for about 12 hours.
- Put a cheesecloth over the opening of the container you will use to store your cold brew.
- Slowly pour the water and coffee grounds mixture/extraction over the cheesecloth.
- Let it sit until the coffee is completely filtered out.
- Remove the cheesecloth and solids.
- Cover it and keep it in the fridge!
- Enjoy for up to two weeks!
How to Make Iced Coffee
Making iced coffee on a hot day doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Here is the best way (and easiest way) to make iced coffee:
- 1 cup of room temperature or cold water
- 1 tablespoon Waka Coffee’s instant coffee
- Ice cubes or ice coffee cubes
- Milk or creamer (optional)
- Pour one coffee from one packet or 1 tablespoon of Waka Coffee instant coffee.
- Top the coffee granules with 8-10 fl oz of room temperature or cold water (leave more room for milk if wanted).
- Mix until completely dissolved.
- Add in milk or creamer if you’d like.
- Add in ice cubes or ice coffee cubes.