Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee

Now that iced coffee and cold drinks have become a craze, even more so with the heat we've been experiencing, people still have a vague idea of what makes cold brew different from iced coffee. Let's settle this confusion once and for all.

Let's start with iced coffee. This is typically filtered coffee that is brewed using hot water over a short period of time, usually 3-4 minutes. The coffee is then cooled down and served with ice.

Brewing coffee with hot water allows the extraction of bright citrus, floral, and fruity flavors that are present in the coffee. Please take note that each origin is unique, and flavors will depend on where the coffee is from, how it was processed, and roasted.

A popular way to make iced coffee is by using the flash brew method, which is popular in Japan. Flash brew is simply brewing a traditional hot filter coffee over ice. This method uses less water to extract the coffee, making it a concentrate. The concentrate then immediately drips onto ice, which is pre-measured based on the ratio of coffee to water.

The ice does two things. First, it instantly cools the coffee, allowing it to lock in all the delicious flavor compounds. Second, it dilutes the brew, allowing you to enjoy it at just the right strength.

Cold Brew is an entirely different type of brewing method. This type of brewing uses cold or room temperature water and soaking coffee grounds in it for an extended period of time, typically 8-16hrs. Steeping the coffee in cold water for an extended period extracts fewer acids and more caffeine, making a bolder and sweater cup with a velvety texture. In our experience, cold brew works best with darker roasted coffees since it extracts less of the bitter compounds. Cold brew is usually brewed as a concentrate and diluted with 2 parts water or milk. This makes it very versatile as you can adjust the strength of the coffee any way you like and it also allows you to have the freedom of adding your desired sweeteners or syrups. This versatility makes the cold brew a very popular drink in cafes and households around the world.