Is cold brew stronger than regular iced coffee?
It’s hard to believe that a new season is already on the horizon. While it feels as though we’re fixed in winter for an eternity, spring and summer tend to fly right by, seemingly only a blip on the radar.
Off with the heavy knit sweaters of autumn and winter, and on with lighter layers of lighter hues. Boots are out and Birkenstocks are in. School's out for the summer and it's time to start checking off items on your bucket list. If you’re going to do summer right, you’ll need a strong brew to really push you through. Step aside, iced coffee — you’re out… and cold brew is in.
But is cold brew really stronger than your traditional iced coffee? To put it simply, yes. And here’s why:
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.
Now that we know why cold brew is favored, you have two choices. Put the iced coffee down, pick up a cold brew and start checking off that Bucket List, or, throw the bucket list out. And if you're looking for a great cold brew recipe, we've got you covered.
Related: Is cold brew better for you?
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