How is cold brew different from iced coffee?

Cold brew and iced coffee are both refreshing coffee beverages, but they're made differently and have distinct flavors and characteristics:

  1. Brewing Method:

    • Cold Brew: Cold brew is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for an extended period, typically 12-24 hours. The slow steeping process extracts flavors from the coffee beans without the use of heat.
    • Iced Coffee: Iced coffee is made by brewing hot coffee using any method (drip, pour-over, French press, etc.) and then cooling it down by pouring it over ice or refrigerating it.
  2. Flavor:

    • Cold Brew: Cold brew is known for its smooth, less acidic taste. The long steeping process extracts fewer bitter compounds from the coffee beans, resulting in a milder flavor profile with subtle sweetness and chocolatey notes.
    • Iced Coffee: Iced coffee retains more of the acidic and bitter flavors from the coffee beans due to the hot brewing process. It often tastes more like traditional hot coffee but chilled.
  3. Strength:

    • Cold Brew: Cold brew is typically stronger in caffeine content than iced coffee due to the longer steeping time. However, it can be diluted with water or milk to adjust the strength.
    • Iced Coffee: Iced coffee's strength is similar to regular hot coffee, depending on how it's brewed and whether it's diluted with ice or milk.
  4. Serving Style:

    • Cold Brew: Cold brew is usually served over ice or as a concentrate mixed with water, milk, or cream.
    • Iced Coffee: Iced coffee is served over ice cubes, sometimes with added milk, cream, sugar, or flavorings.

In summary, cold brew and iced coffee offer different taste experiences and are made using distinct brewing methods, resulting in variations in flavor, strength, and serving style.