Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee: Which One Is Best For You?

Coffee with ice cubes vs. cold brew coffee are two different things, did you know?

Well, if you didn’t know now you do! 

In fact, there are some important differences between these two beverages that I want to talk to you about.

There is a difference in how the coffee is made. 

But, there are other key differences that can help you decide which one to reach for more often than the other.

With this in mind, keep reading about cold brew vs. iced coffee to learn about why they are related in taste but are actually not the same.

How it Tastes

The way cold brew and iced coffee is made is what contributes to the difference in taste.

Cold brew is made up of ground coffee steeped in cool, purified water.

Whereas iced coffee is made up of brewed double strength caffeine mixed with filtered water that just stopped boiling, and then ice cubes are added once cooled.

Because cold brew is made without heat, it offers a sweeter and smoother taste.

Iced coffee, on the other hand, is light but offers a richer taste.

Ingredients Needed to Make Both

Right Grounds Size For French Press

1. Type of Coffee

For cold brew, select a coarse grind as this will result in less of a bitter taste.

And, avoid a fine grind as this can cause your cup of coffee to taste not so great.

I have had great success with a coarse grind, and this makes it easier for the filtration process.

Colombian blends which have use dark-roasted beans make delicious cold brew coffee.

Try to find coffee beans that are not light roasted, as you want full flavour such as with the dark beans.

For iced coffee, medium roast coffee is ideal, as well as coffees with chocolate or caramel notes.

I recommend a medium or medium-fine coarse for iced coffee.

2. Water Temperature

The ideal temperature for boiling water for coffee is between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

The reason being is that when you boil under 195 degrees, this can result in watery or sour coffee because the water was not hot enough for coffee extraction.

Additionally, if the temperature soars above 205 degrees, this can result in bitter or burnt coffee.

With cold brew coffee, no heat is involved, but water temperature is still important – it must be cold!

Brewing Time

Typically for cold brew coffee, it takes around 12-24 hours until it is ready to consume.

Take note that the longer it sits, the more intense the flavour.

The more you make it, the more you will find out your personal preference in taste.

For iced coffee, it does not need to sit for nearly as long.

The only wait time will be for brewing the coffee, which can be done in minutes.

If you make the coffee the night before, then making it the next day will only take a few minutes total!

The Pros & Cons of
Iced Coffee and Cold Brew

cold brew

Cold Brew: Pros

  • Offers a rich taste
  • It is smoother compared to other coffees
  • Has a long shelf life (7-10 days in the refrigerator)

Related reading : 11 Cold Brew Benefits

Cold Brew: Cons

  • Takes time and patience to prepare

  • High levels of caffeine, which can be dangerous for certain individuals with health issues

Iced Coffee: Pros

  • Quick to prepare and enjoy
  • Does not require as much patience or steps to make compared to cold brew coffee

Iced Coffee: Cons

  • Shorter shelf-life
  • Iced cubes melt and create watery coffee
  • May not taste as rich and pure

Which One Offers More Health Benefits?

If you are concerned about caffeine intake, iced coffee offers less caffeine than cold brew due to the way it is made.

Because cold brew is not prepared with hot water, it has less acidity which in turn, is easier on the digestive system.

Therefore, if you are someone who struggles with digestive issues, cold brew coffee may be kinder on the stomach.

Despite all this, do know that coffee has been applauded for helping decrease the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

What Is the Caloric Difference?

Cold brew coffee is made up of mostly water, while iced coffee is made up of coffee and an optional milk base.

Typically, cold brew coffee packs around 5 to 100 calories, with the 100 calorie option containing syrup and cream.

Iced coffee can offer anywhere from 0 to 300 calories, depending on if syrup and milk is included in the beverage.

If you are concerned about your caloric intake, opt for either of the coffees but with less sweetener or dairy.

Which Type Contains More Caffeine?

The level of caffeine can certainly differ between cup to cup.

However, cold brew is created more concentrated than iced coffee so it offers more of a buzz.

For example, a cold brew cup of coffee can have up to 200 mg of caffeine, whereas a cup of iced coffee can have around 150 mg.

It all depends on how the coffee is made and how much you are drinking.

It is estimated that cold brew contains 2 ½ times more caffeine than iced coffee.

Which One Do You Prefer?

Now that you know all about cold brew vs. iced coffee, which one do you prefer?

I wanted to put all of this information together so that, you are armed with facts about these two types of coffee because they are so often confused.

Did you know some of the pros and cons already?

Or, were you surprised to hear some of them?

Iced coffee is very different from cold brew, and yet, they do offer the same taste and enjoyment.

Let me know what you think about these two types of drinks as well as what you read in the comments below. 

Also, share with your friends and family if you enjoyed reading!

If you have anything to share in regards to iced or cold brew then do not hesitate to send it my way.

Sarah Price

Creator & editor here at House Of Arabica. I'm a proud mother of one baby girl. Passionate about coffees and their variations. Love to review coffee accessories! Please feel free to put your comment below.

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