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Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee: Which Method is Right for You?

Cold brew and iced coffee are two popular methods of making coffee that are often confused with one another. Both are made with cold water and are served chilled, but the brewing process is quite different.

Cold brew is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for an extended period of time, typically 12-24 hours. The resulting coffee is smooth and less acidic than if it was made with hot water, as the prolonged steeping process extracts different compounds from the beans. The flavor of cold brew is often described as being chocolatey, nutty, and sweet.

Iced coffee, on the other hand, is made by brewing hot coffee and then chilling it. This method results in a coffee that is more acidic and has a brighter, more robust flavor. Some people like to add sugar or cream to balance out the acidity.

Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee: Which Method is Right for You?

It depends on your taste preferences. If you enjoy a smooth, less acidic coffee, cold brew might be the way to go. If you prefer a bright, robust flavor, iced coffee may be more your style.

Additionally, Cold brew is more convenient for making large batches and can be stored it in the refrigerator. Iced coffee can be made in small quantities, and it’s usually consumed immediately.

Both techniques have their advantages and disadvantages. Iced coffee tends to be more acidic, but it is also more versatile and can be made in a variety of ways. Cold brew, on the other hand, is smoother and less acidic, but it takes longer to make and may not be as convenient.

Ultimately, the choice between cold brew and iced coffee comes down to your taste preferences and the convenience of making. Try both methods and see which one you prefer. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different brewing methods, grind sizes, and beans to find the perfect cup of coffee for you.

Need a product to help with Cold Brew or Iced Coffee?

We have a couple of product suggestions for you to look over. (FYI, we might make a small commission if you use our links on the products).


Takeya Patented Deluxe 2qt Cold Brew Coffee Maker


This is a very popular product and one of our favorites. The Takeya Patented Deluxe 2qt Cold Brew Coffee Maker is a great product for your coffee experimentation. Capable of making exceptional flavors, the 2 Qt. Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker is a must-have item.

Unlike hot brewing, cold brewing avoids the release of undesirable acids and oils for a smoother and perfectly balanced extraction of concentrated coffee. Make a brew that is free of bitterness and acidity, and taste only the natural, delicious coffee flavors. With an airtight design, our Cold Brew Coffee Maker keeps your brew fresh for up to two weeks, making it ideal for both hot and iced coffee. Proudly made in the USA, it can produce up to two quarts of concentrated coffee.

  • Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker: This coffee maker is made with a durable BPA-free Tritan pitcher, an airtight lid, and a non-slip silicone handle for comfortable use. It creates 4 servings of smooth cold brew coffee with any type of grounds. The 2-quart black pitcher is perfect for your kitchen.
  • Fine-Mesh Filter: The fine-mesh filter that keeps coffee grounds separate from the brewed coffee for a cleaner, smoother taste. The material can withstand hot temperatures, making it great for hot coffee, and it can fit in most refrigerator doors.
  • Premium Bottles and Lids: Takeya offers a range of innovative insulated hydration solutions, including water bottles in sizes ranging from 18 oz to 64 oz, and beverage makers and pitchers in 1 Qt and 2 Qt sizes.
  • BPA-Free Hydration Solutions: Whether you prefer insulated stainless steel water bottles or beverage makers and pitchers, Takeya USA offers a variety of products and accessories to keep you cool, refreshed, and hydrated on the go. All products are BPA-free.
  • Innovative Hydration Solutions: Takeya combines over 55 years of Japanese design heritage with modern technology to create a line of insulated, BPA-free water bottles, as well as sustainable iced tea, fruit infusion, and cold brew pitchers.


HyperChiller HC2 Patented Iced Coffee/Beverage Cooler

The HyperChiller HC2 Patented Iced Coffee/Beverage Cooler is less than $25 and is a game-changer for iced coffee and beverage enthusiasts. The design allows for the quick cooling of hot beverages without dilution. This makes it an ideal solution for those who want to enjoy a perfectly chilled drink in minutes. The build quality is top-notch, and the unit is constructed with BPA-free materials constructed for durability. The compact design fits easily in the refrigerator, and the non-slip base provides stability during use.

Overall, the HyperChiller HC2 is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a convenient and efficient way to enjoy iced coffee or beverages at home. It’s an investment worth making for a more enjoyable and refreshing experience.

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Why Cold Brew Became Popular

Cold brew coffee has become highly popular due to its smooth and sweet taste. Unlike hot coffee which brings out acids, the use of cold water in brewing cold coffee results in a full range of sweetness and mouthfeel, free from acidity. This makes cold brew the ideal iced coffee option, especially when combined with milk, which enhances its smoothness and richness.

Cold brew coffee is also more stable compared to hot coffee, making it a popular choice for packaged beverages, such as single-serve steeped coffee bags or wholesale coffee. With a shelf life of 90 days, kegs of cold brew coffee can be stored for an extended period, making it both cost-effective and easy to brew in small or large batches at home.

Beyond its unique flavor and convenience, cold brew coffee has a rich history, and certain methods, such as the Kyoto-style cold brew, are considered an art form. With its distinct characteristics, cold brew coffee appeals to both coffee and non-coffee drinkers alike. (source)


Why Cold Brew Became Popular

The popularity of iced coffee as a drink only began in the United States in the past two decades. Its popularity spiked in 1995 when Starbucks introduced its Frappuccinos, but the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf had already invented the Ice Blended in 1987. From 2009 to 2013, iced coffee experienced a significant surge in popularity, possibly due to young adults wanting to replicate the experience of drinking cold beverages with coffee, or as a healthier alternative to energy drinks. Despite its recent rise in popularity in the US, iced coffee has been consumed around the world for many years before the 1990s and early 2000s. (source)

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