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Difference Between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee

Coffee is universal in its appeal. It is one of the most delightful beverages of all served across the globe. Well, like they say, “You can never have too much coffee!” If you’re one of those die-hard coffee lovers and simply crave that aromatic rich flavor, then you must know there are just so many ways you can enjoy your favorite coffee. You can pull up one just any day – whether it’s everyone’s favorite lip-smacking cold brew coffee or the incredibly delicious and creamy iced coffee. While you may be accustomed to your cold coffee, but let’s be clear; cold brew is definitely not iced coffee. It’s hard to say which one is better, but they are definitely made differently and they taste distinct as well. Go to any coffee shop, you are most likely to choose from two different options: cold brew or iced coffee. The thing is both are cold and both have ice in them – so what’s make one different from the other? Let’s see what makes the two so different.

 

What is Cold Brew?

Cold brew coffee is an enhanced version of your favorite cold coffee, except it’s made with a typically higher coffee to water ratio. Cold brewed coffee is more like an extraction technique that enhances the flavor of your lip-smacking beverage in such a way that it expresses the flavor of the bean rather than that of the roast. The process of making cold brew isn’t as simple as it sound. To make a perfect cold brewed coffee, coarsely ground coffee beans are steeped in room temperature water for 6 to 12 hours until the grounds are filtered out. You could do more or less and then filter out the grounds to create the coffee concentrate and serve as you wish, with ice, milk, or sweetener. It extracts a distinct flavor – more of the pleasant and smoother-flavor compounds.

 

What is Iced Coffee?

Iced coffee is perhaps the most favored cold beverage among coffee lovers. You probably can recognize this lip-smacking beverage from the many high-street chains who deliver it in vast receptacles filled with sugar, cream, chocolate and syrups. The acidity of an iced coffee is almost three times less than a hot coffee. Iced coffee is exactly what it sounds like; the classic cold coffee with more of the roast in the taste and less of the actual coffee. It is your regular brewed coffee served with ice. It basically starts out as hot coffee, pulled on the espresso machine and then shaken well with ice. It is a chilled version of your espresso-based coffee which is sure to leave your taste buds tingling. It can be sweetened or flavored to your liking or taste. But it is not to be confused with cold brewed coffee.

 

Difference between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee

Basics of Cold Brew and Iced Coffee

– Cold brew is a flavor-rich version of cold coffee which extracts a distinct flavor compared to iced coffee, with more of the pleasant and smoother-flavor compounds. Cold brewed coffee is often less acidic and bitter in taste than iced coffee. Iced coffee is very different from cold brew coffee and is never to be confused with the latter. Iced coffee is your regular brewed coffee served chilled over ice and can be sweetened or flavored to your liking.

Procedure of Cold Brew and Iced Coffee

– The process of making iced coffee is as simple as it sounds. As the name suggests, it is simply coffee served over ice. It basically starts out as hot coffee, pulled on the espresso machine and then shaken well with ice or ice cold milk. Like the local barista does, you simply make hot coffee and then allow it to chill, either rapidly by pouring it over ice or allow it to cool slowly by putting it in the fridge. On the contrary, the process of making cold brew isn’t that simple all. First, coarsely ground coffee beans should be steeped in room temperature water for 6 to 12 hours until the grounds are filtered out, resulting in a fine coffee concentrate which can be served with ice, milk, or sweetener.

Taste of Cold Brew and Iced Coffee

– As distinct as the procedure is to make iced coffee and cold brew coffee, they taste pretty much different as well. Cold brewed coffee extracts a distinct flavor in a way that express the flavor of the bean more than that of the roast. On the other hand, the iced coffee is more like the classic cold coffee with more of the roast in the taste and less of the actual coffee. In cold brew, the sweetness and the acidity it provides is clearly transparent, so that you get a less acidic but a little sweeter coffee.

Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee: Comparison Chart

 

Summary of Cold Brew and Iced Coffee

While you may be accustomed to your cold coffee, but not all cold coffee is cold brew and cold brew is not iced coffee. Cold brew takes time rather than heat to extract the sugar and caffeine from coffee resulting in a perfect cold brewed coffee which expresses the flavor of the bean rather than that of the roast. Iced coffee is a different story altogether; it starts out as hot coffee, pulled on the espresso machine and then shaken with ice. Iced coffee is the classic cold coffee with more of the roast in the taste than the actual coffee.

 

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[0]Image credit: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48228147471_c44fac478a_b.jpg

[1]Image credit: https://pixabay.com/de/photos/kaffee-cold-brew-eiskaffee-getr%C3%A4nk-3595479/

[2]Callow, Chloë. Cold Brew Coffee: Techniques, Recipes & Cocktails for Coffee’s Hottest Trend. London, UK: Hachette UK, 2017. Print

[3]Naru, Lauren. “What’s the Difference Between Iced Coffee and Cold Brew Coffee?” Taste of Home, 22 May 2019, https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/whats-the-difference-between-iced-coffee-and-cold-brew-coffee/. Accessed 1 November 2019.

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