Difference Between Iced Coffee and Cold Brew (With Table)

Whether we want to relax whilst reading a book or are struggling to meet a deadline, coffee can become our best friend. To keep up with our hunger for coffee, apart from different coffee brewing devices, there are also different methods of brewing coffee now- two such being iced coffee and cold brew.

Iced Coffee vs Cold Brew

The difference between Iced Coffee and Cold Brew is that while both are two varied methods of brewing coffee, while the former is brewing coffee by pouring hot water on it and then emptying the content in a glass of ice cubes so that the coffee gradually cools down, the latter is literally as its name suggests, in a sense, in this method the coffee is brewed in cold water for hours.

Iced Coffee is a preparation coffee. This method requires that hot water be poured onto the coffee beans. This releases the caffeine into the water. Following this, the content is then emptied into a glass with ice cubes. As the cubes melt, it dilutes the taste of the coffee, inducing it to cool down in the process. If someone has a propensity for acid reflux, then this is the kind of coffee they would want to avoid. 

On the other hand, the name Cold Brew makes its method of preparation abundantly clear. It is literally, as its name suggests, in a sense, in this method, the coffee is brewed in cold water for hours, and no heat is applied to it whatsoever. Since it uses cold water to brew it, the taste of the coffee is much bolder but also smoother.

Comparison Table Between Iced Coffee and Cold Brew

Parameters of ComparisonIced CoffeeCold Brew
NatureCold coffee that is brewed in hot waterCold coffee that is brewed in cold water
ProcedureThe beans are first soaked in hot water and poured over ice thereafterThe beans are soaked in water for approximately 10 hours or more, following which the content is strained and served
Preparation TimeThis is a better option to choose if you are running late and have less to no time to spareIt takes more than 10 hours for the water to extract the flavor of the beans as there is no application of heat to speed up the process
FlavorConsiderably strong and bitterSmoother in comparison
Sensitive StomachIt can affect you adversely if you have a sensitive stomach or are prone to acid-refluxSince it is smoother it isn’t bitter and is gentle on the stomach

What is Iced Coffee?

This name most certainly resounds with coffee lovers. It is a method of preparing coffee that stands in dire contrast to its name. This method requires that hot water be poured onto the coffee beans. This releases the caffeine into the water. Following this, the content is then emptied into a glass with ice cubes. As the cubes melt, it dilutes the taste of the coffee, inducing it to cool down in the process.

This is a better option to choose if you are running late and have less to no time to spare. The only time that this process takes is to cool down the coffee after pouring it over the ice. Apart from that, it takes the same time that one requires to brew hot coffee.

Since the hot water extracts the flavor of the beans, it has an acidic taste. The flavor is much stronger and as acidic as black coffee. But as the ice cubes melt with time, it dilutes the strength of the coffee and the acidic flavor. However, it also ends up losing its flavor in the process.

Another factor that should not be skipped is the fact that since this coffee is a little acidic, it is harsh on the tummy, and it’s best to avoid it if you have a troubling history of acid reflux.

What is Cold Brew?

This, too, is another method of preparing coffee that agrees with its name. The beans are soaked in water for approximately 10 hours or more, following which the content is strained and served. In this method, no heat is applied to the coffee beans at all. Instead of the hot water extracting the flavor, it is the time taken to brew this coffee that gives it its flavor.

Since time is so crucial in deciding whether you have a tasty cold brew served to you or not, do not mistake preparing this coffee to prepare a normal cup of coffee. The coffee gets its flavor from the duration for which it is brewed. Therefore, the process consumes at least 6 hours to a maximum of 12 hours.

But do not be disappointed either! This coffee sure has its perks. Given that the coffee beans release their flavor with time into the water (that is kept at room temperature), the coffee is a lot smoother in comparison. The real taste of the beans comes out best, thereby making the experience of drinking it exotic and refreshing on a sultry summer afternoon.

Furthermore, since this coffee is smooth and strong but not acidic, it is not harsh on our stomachs.

Main Differences Between Iced Coffee and Cold Brew

  1. Iced Coffee is a kind of cold coffee that is brewed like any other coffee. In contrast, Cold Brew does justice to its name as it is the kind of cold coffee that is brewed using normal water instead of hot and steaming water.
  2. The process of preparing Iced Coffee involves the beans being soaked in hot water first and being poured into a glass containing ice cubes thereafter. On the other hand, the manner of brewing Cold Brew is that the beans are soaked in water for approximately 10 hours or more, following which the content is strained and served.
  3. The time required in brewing an Iced coffee is less. However, Cold Brew should not be on your preference list. You are running per a packed schedule. This is because it takes more than 10 hours for the water to extract the flavor of the beans.
  4. The taste of Iced tea is quite bold. Whereas the taste of Cold Brew is not acidic but smooth and strong.
  5. Iced Coffee has only one thing pulling it down, and that is its propensity to adversely affect one who has is often troubled by acid reflux. In contrast, Cold Brew is gentle on our stomachs.

Conclusion

If you find it extremely challenging to manage a day without coffee, then it is certain that you have tried almost all kinds of flavors to choose your favorite from the lot. And if your taste buds titillate on even hearing about cold coffee, then Iced Coffee and Cold Brew are a must-try. While both are types of cold coffee, they do share a list of factors that differentiate one from the other.

While the former is brewing coffee by pouring hot water on it and then emptying the content in a glass of ice cubes so that the coffee gradually cools down, the latter is a method in which the coffee is brewed in cold water for hours. Furthermore, there is a stark difference in their tastes as well so to the methods in which the two are brewed. While the former is stronger and acidic, the latter is strong yet smooth and more stomach-friendly.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0950329306000814
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-34392-w
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