cold brew vs iced coffee

Iced Coffee vs Cold Brew: Understanding the Differences

In the summer heat the only drink that is appealing cold coffee. However, should you go with the iced coffee or cold brew? What’s the distinction between these refreshing beverages?

Iced coffee is a traditional coffee beverage that is brewed hot and then poured over ice. It can be prepared using any kind of coffee and is usually served with cream, milk, and sugar. 

However cold brew can be described as an extract of coffee that is created by the steeping of coarse coffee grounds with cold water over a long duration. It is usually served with ice and is diluted with milk or water according to the taste.

While both iced coffee and cold brew are served cold, they differ in terms of their flavor profile, brewing process, caffeine content, serving temperature, and price.

Now we are going into detail for further information about cold brew and iced coffee, so don’t leave just stay with us and enjoy!

Iced Coffee

It is a kind of coffee that is made hot, then served on ice to cool it. It is usually served with sugar and milk and can be made using various methods of brewing including espresso or drip coffee.

How it’s made


  • 1 cup coffee grounds
  • Hot water 4 cups
  • Ice


  1. You can make the coffee according to your preferred method. You can make use of drip coffee makers or a French press or any other method you prefer.
  2. Place the coffee in a big bowl and allow it to cool for a couple of minutes.
  3. Make sure to fill a glass with ice.
  4. Pour the coffee that is cooled on top of the ice.
  5. You can add sweetener or milk if you like.
  6. Mix and then enjoy!

Taste and flavor profile

  • More acidic: A hot brewing process used in the brewing of cold coffee may make the coffee have an acidic flavor due to the release of acids from the grounds of the coffee.
  • Bitter: The higher temperature of hot brewing may result in more bitter compounds being taken out of the coffee, leading to the coffee having a slightly bitter taste.

Caffeine content

  • Brewing time: is shorter the hot process for the iced coffee usually takes just about a couple of minutes, which results in less extraction of caffeine from the grounds of coffee when compared with cold coffee.
  • Diluted: Iced coffee is generally served with ice. It can be served with flavor syrups or milk to dilute the amount of caffeine per cup.

A. Pros

  • Quick and easy to make
  • Lower cost
  • More widely available
  • Can be customized with milk, cream, and flavor syrups

B. Cons

  • More acidic taste
  • Lower caffeine content
  • Shorter shelf life

Serving style

* Blended with cream or milk: Iced coffee is usually served with cream, milk, or half and half to give an ice cream-like, smoother flavor.

* The flavorful syrups that are available: Iced Coffee can also be customized using flavor syrups, like caramel, vanilla, or hazelnut, to create a sweet, distinctive flavor.

Cold Brew Coffee

Cold coffee is a form of coffee that is created by the coffee grounds being soaked in cold or room temperature water for a long period of time, usually 12-24 hours.
The resultant coffee is soft, less acidic, and sweeter than coffee that is brewed using hot water. This makes it an ideal choice for those who feel traditional coffee can be acidic or bitter.
The extended steeping time of cold brew coffee allows an increase in the amount of flavor as well as sugars, to come out of the ground, resulting in a more smooth and sweet flavor.

How it’s made

  • Ingredients:
    1. 1 cup coffee beans coarsely ground
    2. 4 cups of cold water
  • Instructions:
    1. The coffee beans should be ground coarsely. A coarse grind can aid in preventing the coffee from becoming bitter in the process of steeping.
    2. Pour the coffee grounds into a jar or pitcher of large size.
    3. Place cold water in the grounds of the coffee, making sure that the grounds are fully soaked.
    4. Cover the pitcher or jar with the coffee and allow it to sit for at minimum twelve hours (or as long as 24 hours) in the fridge. The longer you let the coffee steep the stronger it will become.
    5. After the time of steeping then run the cup through a fine mesh filter or cheesecloth to eliminate the grounds.
    6. Serve the cold brew on frozen ice. Add sweetener or milk according to your preference.

Taste and flavor profile

  • Smoother: The prolonged steeping time for cold-brewed coffee permits smoother extraction of flavor compounds from the grounds of the coffee, which results in the taste of coffee being less bitter.
  • It is less acidic: Because cold-brewed coffee isn’t subjected to extreme temperatures and therefore is less acidic than iced coffee. This could make it more comfortable for your stomach, and therefore less likely to trigger acid reflux
  • Sweeter: Cold-brew coffee is generally more of a sweet taste due to the lengthy steeping process that draws out much of the bean sugars that are naturally present in it.

Caffeine content

  • A longer steeping time: The longer steeping period of cold brew coffee permits the extraction of more caffeine from the grounds of the coffee, leading to more caffeine per cup.
  • Concentrated: Coffee is concentrated usually prepared in a concentrated manner and then dilute with milk or water prior to serving, which may lead to a more percentage of caffeine per serving.

A. Pros

  • Smooth, less acidic taste
  • Higher caffeine content
  • Longer shelf life
  • Can be served hot or cold

B. Cons

  • Longer brewing time
  • Requires special equipment (e.g. cold brew maker)
  • Can be more expensive

Serving style

  • Straight: Cold-brew coffee is typically served straight or with some sugar or milk to boost the taste.
  • Concentrated: Since cold-brew coffee is typically made in a concentrated form and is often diluted with milk or water prior to serving to lessen the strength.


In my opinion, both cold brew and iced coffee offer unique and enjoyable coffee experiences. Cold brew coffee is smoother and less acidic, with a sweeter taste due to the longer steeping time, while iced coffee is more traditional, with a stronger and potentially more bitter taste due to the hot brewing process. 

Additionally, cold brew coffee typically contains more caffeine per cup, while iced coffee is often served with milk or cream for a creamier taste. Ultimately, the choice between cold brew and iced coffee comes down to personal taste and preferences, and both options can be customized to suit individual preferences.

Hope you will enjoy this article!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which one is healthier: cold brew or iced coffee?

Both cold brew and iced coffee can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. However, adding sugar, cream, or other sweeteners can increase the calorie and sugar content of both drinks. Black coffee, whether cold brew or iced, is a low-calorie and low-sugar option.

2. Which one has more caffeine: cold brew or iced coffee?

Cold brew coffee typically contains more caffeine than iced coffee because of the longer steeping time. However, the exact caffeine content may vary depending on the type of coffee, the brewing method, and the amount of dilution.

3. Can I make cold-brew coffee at home?

Yes, you can make cold brew coffee at home using a variety of methods, including a French press, a drip coffee maker, or a cold brew coffee maker. It is best to use coarse coffee grounds and cold or room-temperature water for the best results.

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