Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee

cold brew header

Until this morning I thought Cold Brew Coffee was just another fancy word for Iced Coffee but just as a bit of research tells me I was so very wrong.

Cold Brew Coffee, while not exactly being the new kid on the block, seems to be on everyone’s lips in the hipster world of coffee. Look at iced coffee in comparison, well, it is just a bit old hat really, along with prawn cocktails and beef stroganoff.

So what is the difference exactly I hear you ask?

Well, the main difference is temperature. Whilst cold brew coffee is made with cold water and never heated (pretty shocking don’t you agree?), iced coffee is just regular coffee, which is subsequently cooled down. Cold brew coffee uses time, at least 12 hours to be precise, to extract the caffeine and therefore, patience is of the essence here.

As the brewing method varies, this will also affect the taste, which I will explain:

Dilution

Watered down coffee is not a happy coffee, so since with cold brew the coffee is already cold, the addition of water or ice is entirely up to you.

Caffeine

Cold brew’s longer steep time means that your drink will absorb more caffeine. If nothing else, it should give you a good buzz no doubt! You can adjust the intensity with milk or cream.

Acidity

Cold brew has lower acidity because the grounds are not subjected to the intense heat of boiling water, this should make it easier on the stomach. Also, rapidly cooling hot coffee could give it a slightly bitter taste.

So let’s get to how each type of cold coffee drink is made.

Iced Coffee

  1. Brew your coffee as you would normally
  2. Put your brewed coffee in the refrigerator to cool down/ add ice cubes if you are really desperate – yep no rocket science.
  3. Add milk, sugar as to your preference.
  4. Voilà

Cold Brew Coffee

  1. Gradually add cold water to your grounds in a large container, alternatively, you can use your regular French press, make sure you stir gently to moisten all the grounds.
  2. Let stand at room temperature for at least 12 hours and wait and wait and wait.
  3. If using a container pour the coffee through a filter or with a French press simply press down on the plunger to move grounds to the bottom.
  4. Since this is very concentrated coffee you might want to dilute it with water/milk – this brew keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of weeks

Conclusion

In Summer, during time of intense heat (nb. if you live in the UK namely never) definitely go for the cold brew method as the end result is a smoother, sweeter coffee. However, if you are, like me, very impatient or as mentioned above you live in the UK and the ‘heatwave’ is rapidly followed by a minifreeze demanding fleece and scarf, I believe the traditional iced coffee version is still a good alternative.

Just wait for the sun to come out now, sit back and enjoy! xx