Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee

Not a lot of people understand the difference between cold brew and iced coffee. If you think about it, we don’t often try to understand the difference. All we know is that a good cup of joe is and will always be a good cup of morning gold. But there really is a massive difference between the two. Here we’ll discuss the full battle of iced coffee vs cold brew coffee.

Iced Coffee vs Cold Brew Coffee

What if one day you are in a café to spend some time relaxing when upon ordering, the barista asked you if you want an iced coffee or a cold brew coffee? You’d be like “What the heck! Aren’t they just the same?”. Well, they are not the same. But, don’t you worry for we are here to shake the ice and unfreeze their differences just for you!

iced coffee vs cold brew inforgraphic

What then are the differences?


Brewing method


To make things simpler, first, I want you to note that iced coffee is just an iced version of our typical hot coffee. Cold brew, on the other hand, is different from our everyday coffee follows a different methods from its very brewing onwards.

So now we proceed with the brewing method. Iced coffee is brewed at 175 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius, for around a minute or so, just like your normal coffee at home. While our cold brew coffee takes around 12 hours or more of brewing and it is done at room temperature only. The brewing time is very important because it greatly affects the flavor, the aroma, the caffeine, and almost all other important characteristics that a coffee can have.


Taste and texture


As mentioned earlier, the taste of the coffee is dependent on its brewing time and temperature. Generally, the higher the temperature, the easier it is for the coffee to dissolve. Hot temperature brings out the acidity and the bitterness in the coffee. And it takes longer for the sweetness of coffee to come out.

Since iced coffee uses hot-brewing method, it usually has a more bitter and more acidic taste. But it has the original flavor of our coffee beans/grounds. Cold brew coffee, on the other hand, has a sweeter, chocolate-y texture. This is particularly more favorable to those who love the sweeter side of coffee. That’s because cold brewing method is not warm enough to bring out the acidity and bitterness of coffee. It also explains why cold brewing is usually done for 12 hours or more.

The essence of cold brewing is in the length of time it takes to steep the coffee in cold water. This long steeping brings out a thicker smoother chocolate-like texture and a sweeter taste. The time compensates for the lighter extraction, and still get that coffee flavor that our taste buds are looking for. Cold brew coffee also has a stronger caffeine punch because unlike the other one, the caffeine concentration is not diluted by the melting ice.


One of the things you love about hot brewed coffee is the strong aroma that it brings out. And despite the ice that we pour in an Americano, the aromatic hints of coffee is still pretty strong. But even the aroma is different between the two. There is a hint of acidity in iced coffee but in cold brew, it gives a light coffee scent close to a milked down type of coffee drink. Minus the acidity in cold brew coffee, the scent is lighter and gentler.

Other notes

Iced coffee is easier to prepare. You’ll just brew your coffee, wait for it to cool down, and pour it over a cup of ice (or simply add ice). Since cold brew takes more time, there is also a limit to how long you should brew your coffee. The ideal time to brew coffee is between 12 to 18 hours. However, as frequent brewing has taught me, I realized that the best range to brew coffee is between 15-16 hours. though they say that bitterness comes our after 18 hours, it also depends on how coarse your coffee ground is. And the best times we’ve brewed using different levels of coarse coffee grounds, 15 up to 16 hours really is the best brewing time.

Overall effect and  My impression

Personally, I love coffee. I mean i love it a lot. But I prefer it sweet, or sweeter if possible. I drink iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk or ice cream on it. This way, I can drink my coffee without dealing much on its bitterness.

For cold brew coffee, I don’t really add a lot to it because it already has that tender sweetness. Adding just a bit of sweetener like honey gives my cold brew a level up. Nothing more, nothing less.

woman happily drinking cold brew coffee with ice

When is the best time to drink these coffees?

Anyone can drink cold brew or iced coffee any time you want. You can even drink it during winter if you like. However, depending on the need, there are perfect times when you should drink any of the two. The best time to drink cold brew is after having a hearty lunch or meal. If you are looking for a strong caffeine boost (especially if you have to go back to work), cold brew is best.

After lunch, our body focuses more on digesting the food we eat making us feel tired and sleepy an hour or two after a heavy meal. You should take cold brew coffee no less than 30 minutes or 1 hour after a heavy meal. This will prevent you from feeling lazy at work.

Iced coffee, on the other hand, is a great refreshment. So when you are feeling a bit thirsty or just looking for a great way to cool your body down in the midst of a hot summer day, iced coffee is a better option.

Who usually preferred what?

Young, and young at heart, typically prefer the iced coffee. Mainly because it can come with lots of variations that can suit their own tastes. The working adults are much more attracted to the cold brew coffee because it is less bitter but has a stronger caffeine kick that they very much needed for their day-to-day tasks.

In reality though, even if adults prefer the taste of cold brew, they are more keen on getting iced coffee due to convenience. the time it takes to

What are you waiting for? Take a sip of these cold beverages. Witness and taste their differences for yourself!