Cold Brew v/s Iced coffee

Have you ever been confused while choosing between cold brew coffee or Iced coffee on a hot day? Yes, their appearance can be similar as both of them are served over ice. But they never taste the same and are brewed differently too. Although both of them can be prepared at home and are perfect for any quick chilly moment in hot summers.

Cold Brew Coffee:

The cold brew coffee is brewed using cold water or at room temperature. The cold water used for brewing remains in contact directly with the coffee grounds for 12 to 24 hours. The cold water is added as it does not extract the goodness of coffee as quickly as the hot water. This is the reason that the process requires more than 12 hours to complete.

A vessel or a french press is used for immersing coffee grounds in cold water. A method known as the “Slow Drip method” can also be used to drip cold water over the coffee bed slowly. Once the steeping process is finished, the end product is received as a concentrate and is mixed with water to prepare the cold brew. It depends upon the customer how he wants his coffee to be usually its 50:50 ratio for coffee to water concentrate.

Hot water is not involved at any stage of preparation of cold brew. Generally, cold brew is less acidic, refreshing, smooth and possesses smooth flavor. The concentrate prepared can also be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks.

Iced Coffee

Iced Coffee

There are many methods to prepare iced coffee. Initially, it was prepared by just pouring hot coffee over ice cubes. It tasted a bit dilute, and people were not very happy with the end product. So, they chose to move away from the process and started trying other methods.

One such method was to prepare it in double batches using coffee grounds in double amounts in their coffee maker. It is then cooled and poured directly over ice cubes. Another method to make your coffee stronger is to cool your hot coffee, pour it into your ice cube tray and place it in the freezer. Next day you can serve via pouring your hot coffee over these coffee ice cubes and enjoy your excellent Iced coffee.

Now let’s know the critical differences between Iced coffee and Cold Brew Coffee:


The cold brew is less acidic because of its brewing method. It is quite chocolatey and smooth in taste and is easier on the stomach. At the same time, Ice coffee has a thinner taste because of its melting ice. Ice tea is always brewed hot, which makes it taste bitter and allows the extraction of more coffee soluble than the cold brew.


Cold brewers know the techniques to reduce the amount of any undesirable coffee ingredient, i.e. bland flavor, acidity, off notes. They can also increase the quantity of caffeine and on an average, the cold brew coffee yields about twice the caffeine present in any regular cup.

Time and Temperature: 

‚ÄčCold brew coffee is brewed with the help of water at room temperature. It makes the temperature of water to be at 72 to 68F (22 to 20C). As a result, the brew time is relatively long and typically takes about 12 to 48 hours to complete. At the same time, Iced tea is always brewed hot and chilled then. It takes just a few minutes to brew the Iced tea, and the best temperature of extraction is 205 to 195F (96 to 91C) before the coffee is cooled.


Cold brew coffee can be served cold or hot with a light splash of milk or as liked by the customer. Iced tea is always served over ice cubes only.

Brewing method:

The cold brew coffee is always brewed by soaking the coffee beans at room temperature or cold water for at least 12 hours to extract caffeine, oil and sugar.

Iced coffee uses hot water to extract the flavors to prepare a hot coffee cup, which is then poured over an ice cube.


The water quality to prepare your coffee is quite essential for your brewing process. While making the cold brew the water and coffee beans sit together for a longer duration, making the flavor subtle, which means the water quality plays a significant role in brewing method for adding flavors to the end product. For iced coffee, the coffee prepared should be of excellent quality to retain good flavor and always use fresh water to prepare your coffee.

So Which one to choose?

It depends upon the customer how he wants his coffee to be. If he prefers to have a chilled coffee, then a nicely prepared cold brew coffee can provide them with all the specialties without any bitterness included. On the other hand, if he wants to have a cold coffee just like the relaxed version of the hot coffee, then ice coffee should opt.

Iced coffee is liked by the customers who find the cold brew too sweet or mild, and they want to consume something stronger on hot or humid days.

Aqsa is a part-time home chef and a full-time gourmet who believes that discovering new flavors from various cuisines is one of the biggest joys of her life. A die-hard coffee aficionado, she is also a literature graduate who loves to document her culinary experiences to be shared with a larger audience.

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