There has been an ongoing debate about cold brew vs iced coffee. Most people think that they are just the same. However, today’s modern coffee lovers believe that they are different – and they will result in different outcome too. Both of these drinks are probably sharing the same trait of being cold. But in the basic principle, they are completely different.
The Iced Coffee – Past Condition
Do you remember this situation? It’s a hot day and you are dreadful. You want a drink that can refresh you as well as giving you a boost of energy – just enough to make you go through the hard and grueling day.
So, you finally make a hot coffee, pour it over the ice cubes, and voila! Your iced coffee is ready. When you drink it, you may not be overly satisfied with the taste. It doesn’t feel right but you have the energy kick that you want so you don’t make it a fuss.
The Present Condition
In today’s modern situation, things would be different. If you come to the coffee shops (or the popular chain stores), you can enjoy a tasty iced coffee. And it is seriously tasty and delicious.
You are wondering why you can’t make the similar iced coffee at home – no matter how hard you try. You probably have doubled the portion and then pour it over ice so the diluted result will be as tasty as you have expected. You probably have brewed the coffee and let it be until it is completely cold, and then add ice cubes to make it refreshing.
No matter whatever you have tried, your iced coffee doesn’t seem to be right enough or tasty enough. Have you ever thought that it is probably because of the hot brew? Instead of hot brew, you should be making cold brew. And that’s cold brew vs iced coffee is all about.
Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee
What differentiates the two is water temperature and also brewing time. In making the iced coffee, you basically brew your coffee regularly. You use hot and boiling water to make the coffee using the coffee maker. Because of the hot water, the brewing time runs pretty short – within minutes only.
The hot temperature makes the extraction process go quickly. All of the essence will be removed out of the coffee real quick so you only need to wait for less than 5 minutes for the brew to complete.
In making the cold brew, hot water has never been used. You need to use cold water to make the coffee. Because of the cold water, the brewing time takes longer. The cold temperature will extract the essence longer. When you want to make the cold brew, you need to do it at least 12 hours – 24 hours will be the max time. If you brew the coffee less than 12 hours, the taste will be plain and not punchy enough. It’s because the coffee grounds aren’t extracted long enough.
Because of the different methods and systems, the end result will be different too. The hot brew generally produces strong and punchy coffee, but when you turn it into an iced coffee, it may be runny and not as strong as the regular hot brew. The cold brew, on the other hand, produces a smoother, richer, and tastier end product.
Most coffee lovers even say that the cold brew creates a naturally sweeter coffee. Cold brew also produces a milder coffee that is friendly for the sensitive stomach. It is somewhat gentler to the digestive system – perfect for those who want to enjoy the coffee without hurting their system.
The Caffeine Intake
Be advised, though, that when it comes to the caffeine concern, the iced coffee is probably your best bet. If you are looking for a beverage with higher caffeine content, then iced coffee is better. Because of the water temperature and the fast extraction time, the caffeine content is somewhat stronger and higher. If you want the lower caffeine level, then you should go with the cold brew. Because of the low water temperature and the slow extraction time, cold brew is not too much packed with caffeine.
Also keep in mind that cold brew is different from decaf coffee. If you are expecting a very low caffeine level from a beverage, then the decaf coffee will be your best bet. Cold brew may have lower caffeine level when compared to the hot (regular) brew but it still has its own caffeine level. If you are looking for a beverage that has very minimal caffeine level (which is less than 10%), then you are looking for the decaf coffee.
Things can be overwhelming and confusing, especially with the terms. You need to understand the difference of cold brew, iced coffee, and decaf coffee. Once you understand each of them, it would be easier to differentiate one another. Be sure to understand the concept of cold brew vs iced coffee to get a better understanding.