Is cold brew stronger than regular iced coffee?
Is there anything better than the refreshing taste of ice cold coffee giving you the caffeinated jolt to take on your day? I didn't think so.
But when you're waiting in line at your local coffee shop and seeing both cold brew and iced coffee on the menu, you might be asking yourself, "What's the difference?"
Nope, they aren't the same. There are multiple factors that separate these two delicious drink. Look at the reasons why below.
1. Brewing process.
Cold brew is created by steeping medium-to-coarse ground coffee in fresh, filtered water below 40 degrees for about 24 hours, followed by filtering out the grounds for a clean cup without sediment. Unlike regular coffee, cold brew is never exposed to heat. Cold brew has time on its side, using it to extract the coffee’s sugars, oils, and caffeine.
Iced coffee is one in the same with every other hot coffee brew method. It is simply hot coffee that has been cooled down so that it can be poured over ice. Important to note: Your “fresh iced coffee” you just picked up may just be the leftover “fresh hot coffee” you drank yesterday. Coffee shops are not my siblings and I’m not interested in hand-me-downs.
Cold brew takes the gold with its’ prized natural sweetness, produced by its lower extraction rate. Although a cold brew may sit for hours, the water will never extract all of the coffee’s solubles. While some of the unextracted solubles will be aromatic and flavorful, others are undesirable and bitter. Because of this, cold brew tends to be slightly flatter than other brew methods, but also much sweeter. This sweetness makes cold-brews perfect for adding cream to if you’re into that.
3. Time is on your side.
Because some solubles remain unextracted in cold brew batches, the freshness of dry coffee grounds isn't as important for cold brew as it is for hot coffee. You can still make a sweet, caffeinated cold brew with dry coffee grounds that are more than two weeks old. But note that once the cold brew is made, it has a shelf life of a maximum of seven days.
If you're looking for a great cold brew recipe, we've got you covered.
Related: Coming in 2019: Death Wish Cold Brew
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