Iced Coffee vs. Cold Brew Coffee

A steaming hot cup of coffee may be all you need to jump start your day. On those chilly, early mornings when you need to be up and about, you’ll certainly be grateful to have the mug of hot coffee firmly held in your hand.

Yet there are days or times when hot coffee just won’t do the trick. When the scorching afternoon sun becomes too much to bear, even the very thought of a hot drink is extremely repulsive. Thankfully, coffee lovers have recourse in cold coffees. With these cold drinks, you get to enjoy your favourite beverage at just the right temperature. But what really is the difference between iced coffee and cold brew coffee?

Chemex
Chemex

Iced Coffee


As the name implies, iced coffee is coffee that has had some interaction with ice. Simply put, it is coffee that has been brewed the usual way, and then passed through ice to cool it. You might be wondering: but won’t that coffee be overly dilute? The solution to this apparent problem is to have the coffee passed through the ice drop by drop. This way, the ice will melt a lot slower than it would if you poured a whole cup of steaming coffee onto it.

Additionally, in order to reduce the rate of dilution, you also need to use a little more coffee than you ordinarily would. The higher concentration of coffee helps keep dilution at bay, so that the coffee you get at the end of the process is as tasty and aromatic as ordinary coffee.

In order to make your work easier, you should consider using devices like the Aeropress, Chemex and Hario V60. Alternative Brewing stocks cold brew coffee equipment from Hario and Bruer to name a few. They make the extraction of coffee a lot easier as you may have noticed over the years of coffee brewing at home.

hario-v60-iced-coffee-setup-copy
Hario v60

What you need in order to get a cup of refreshingly cool iced coffee is:

  • Kimbo Coffee filter
  • 200 grams of ice
  • 500 mLs of hot water
  • 60 grams of coffee
  • Kettle
  • Coffee cup

Brew coffee the usual way, and then add ice to the receiving jar. Pass the hot coffee through large chunks of ice in the filter to the receiving vessel. Getting iced coffee is as simple as that.

Alternatively, if you want absolutely no interaction of your precious coffee with ice, you can choose to crash- cool the coffee. All you need to do is brew coffee as usual, and then put it in a container with good heat conducting properties, such as steel. Then put the container in a refrigerator or another container filled with ice. Stir the coffee and within minutes you will have your iced coffee.

Iced coffee is a great option if you are in a hurry and need a cup of cold coffee, and if the aroma of coffee is imperative to your enjoyment.

Brewer
Brewer

Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee on the other hand is coffee that is brewed using cold water from the start. As bizarre as that may sound, the resulting drink is actually great. With cold brewing, time is what is used to extract the oils, sugar and caffeine from the coffee, unlike the usual way where heat is used to extract the substances from the coffee.

As such, the cold brewing process is painstakingly slow, but coffee made this way is smoother and richer in taste. The coffee can be made through either immersion or the dripping method. The amount of time used to make the coffee is what matters, and it can range anywhere between two hours and twenty four hours, depending on the amount of coffee you are making and a host of other factors.

Making cold brew coffee requires very little effort. In fact, once you have set up the coffee brewing equipment, the next time you will need to think about the coffee is when it is ready. Making the coffee also doesn’t require the use of sophisticated devices, although you can use them if you feel like it. The Bruer cold brew System (pictured) is an extremely easy to use device that does a fantastic job!

Iced coffee and cold brew coffee are both rather enjoyable, and you should at least give each of them a try. They surely will spruce up your hot summer day.

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