Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee

Cold Brew

Author: Grace Miller at Joyride Coffee

Cold brew coffee is increasingly becoming the standard summer drink in high-end cafes (and, of course, some of the most cutting-edge offices). So what exactly makes this coffee so different from traditional iced coffee we’re used to?

In short:

The Brew

Cold Brew: created by steeping medium-to-coarse ground coffee in room temperature water for an extended period of time (12+ hours) and then filtering out the grounds for a clean cup without sediment. Unlike regular coffee, cold brew is never exposed to heat. Cold brew uses time, rather than heat to extract the coffee’s sugars, oils and caffeine.

Despite high caffeine levels (caffeine is naturally bitter), our cold brew carries notes of chocolate, with a smooth, wine-like mouthfeel and a lower perceived acidity than traditional iced coffee. Since it is brewed as a concentrate, it will not taste weak and diluted even when you add milk, ice or condensed milk!

Cold brew being served with Half & Half

Iced Coffee: created like any regular hot coffee brew method. It is simply hot coffee that has been cooled down so that it can be poured over ice. (Something to think about: this means the iced coffee you are drinking today at a café may very well be the leftover coffee you drank hot yesterday).

The heat applied to brewing coffee is important: the chemical structure of coffee changes as temperature moves from hot to cold. The process of oxidation is well known in whole bean coffee after roasting, and over time oxygen brings out unpleasant flavors and causes coffee go “stale”. Coffee in liquid form also goes stale, albeit more rapidly. The heat involved with brewing will expedite the oxidation process, which is a significant factor in contributing to poor taste found in regular iced coffees.

Since iced coffee is brewed hot, it can taste bitter, although high temperatures can also extract more coffee solubles than cold brew. While this can lead to a fuller body versus cold brew, the additional extracted solubles include organic materials that can also add to bitterness.

Iced Coffee

Our cold brew is produced using a bean-intensive process, which creates a concentrate far stronger than drip coffee. Although not as bitterly strong as an iced espresso, cold brew concentrate packs a punch, with about twice the caffeine per ounce as a regular cup.

Because of it’s strength, we suggest that you dilute our cold brew concentrate with milk, water, or ice in a 1:1 ratio, although many a brave soul choose to drink it straight, including our crazy Director/Coffee Geek!

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