Coffee lovers everywhere love coffee in all its forms. Hot or iced, there are plenty of ways to brew, steep, and prepare your favourite coffee roast.
Two very popular methods of preparing coffee are iced coffee and cold brew, with the latter becoming very popular in recent years. Cold brew has taken the coffee world by storm as a great way to enjoy a full-bodied coffee while also enjoying a cold beverage.
Both are great summer drinks to enjoy as a caffeine boost in the morning or throughout the day. The best part is you don't have to go to your local coffee shop to get them. You can easily make iced coffee or cold brew from home with the same tools you use to make hot coffee.
We recommend grinding whole beans at home, and using a coffee machine or press to brew your grounds. When it comes to these two drinks, both enhance different aspects of a coffee’s flavour profile.
Both iced coffee and cold brew definitely have their advantages and disadvantages, so let’s break down their differences.
Iced Coffee and Cold Brew Are Brewed Differently
While they are both technically a version of iced coffee, these two beverages are ultimately different because of how they are brewed. Iced coffee is brewed just like hot coffee, then is cooled down afterwards by adding ice and cold water or milk.
You can either make it by pouring hot water through a sieve or coffee filter or using drip coffee or any hot brewed coffee method, then add cold liquid and ice to make traditional iced coffee.
Cold brew is brewed by pouring cold water, adding coffee grinds (ideally freshly ground), and allowing it to steep for 18 to 24 hours. Then, the mix is poured through a sieve or coffee filter to create a coffee concentrate.
This is richer in flavour and must be diluted with water or milk to make a cup of cold brew. There are plenty of ways to prepare your favourite cold coffee drink. One great way to make iced coffee is by pouring your regular brewed coffee into an ice cube tray and freezing.
That way, you can have coffee ice cubes ready to go without the hassle of making it each morning.
Is Iced Coffee Better Than Cold Brew?
In the matchup between cold brew vs iced coffee, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. It all comes down to personal preference, preparation methods, and the type of coffee you’re using. That’s why iced coffee and cold brew really can’t be ranked.
Cold brewing brings out different flavors in the coffee than hot brewing the exact same batch of beans would. For instance, iced coffee can be made with your favourite coffee and diluted with cold milk and ice. When it’s immediately cooled down, it produces a different flavour from hot coffee.
Meanwhile, cold brew is an extremely concentrated brew that steeps for 24 hours. It too will bring out a different flavour in the same coffee than hot brewed or iced coffee will, so it really depends on your own personal taste.
Cold Brew Takes Longer to Make
The disadvantage to making cold brew coffee is that it takes significantly longer to make than iced coffee. With iced coffee, you just use your favourite brewing process to make regular coffee and add ice cubes. Cold brew coffee takes a lot more time. You can buy it in stores or a coffee shop, but it’s easy to make it at home too.
The best way to make cold brew coffee is by using whole beans and grinding them to a coarse grind. Freshly ground beans will have a significantly fresher taste than pre-ground coffee.
If you don’t have a lot of time to prep and wait for coffee to brew, a cup of iced coffee can take you less than 15 minutes, depending on your coffee maker.
Does Iced Coffee or Cold Brew Keep Longer In the Fridge?
Fortunately for any cold brew lovers out there, cold brew coffee keeps longer in the fridge than iced coffee. After making a batch of cold brew, it can keep in the fridge for two to three days, while iced coffee usually keeps for a day or two. Iced coffee is best enjoyed freshly made.
What Kind of Coffee Is Best for Cold Brew?
Dark roast is arguably the best kind of coffee to use for making cold brew. We offer the best dark roast coffee that’s even available with a subscription plan. Our dark roast offers rich flavours and a full bodied taste that really shines in cold brewed coffee.
Since cold brew is left to brew for 24 hours, those rich, deep notes of dark chocolate and caramelized sweetness in our dark roast really pop out.
Does Cold Brew Taste Better than Iced Coffee?
For cold brew, medium to dark roast coffees are your best bet to achieving a full-bodied brew that brings out the best flavours of the coffee. Since cold brew steeps for a long time, it becomes very concentrated, and a dark roast coffee offers that richness without becoming too bitter.
Meanwhile, iced coffee is brewed with the same method of hot coffee, so it produces a similar richness to coffee. Since the coffee beans are heated and quickly steeped instead of slowly steeped for a day, the brew extracts different flavours than cold brew.
Making iced coffee follows the same conditions that hot coffee does. It’s easy to accidentally burn the coffee grounds and end up with a bitter-tasting coffee. But if you’ve got your coffee-making technique correct, then it shouldn’t be a problem.
In the battle between iced coffee vs cold brew, it’s really a toss-up between personal preference and brewing method. Try making both for a week each and see which cold coffee drink you prefer! At Coast to Coast Coffee, we offer coffee subscriptions that are great for any coffee lover looking to try some new brews.
Check out our coffee selection for everything from light to dark roasts, and fair-trade organic coffee from several different regions.
We’ve handpicked the best coffees out there that offer several different flavour profiles, making for an enjoyable coffee experience, no matter if you’re making cold brew or iced coffee.