Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee: What’s the Difference?

  • By Bradley Carter
Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee: What’s the Difference?

Cold brew and iced coffee seem the same, right? They’re both coffee. They’re both cold. They’re both wet. It must be just marketing, right?

No, actually, it’s not. Though cold brew and iced coffee look the same, the similarities stop at that they are both coffee and are both coffee, cold and wet.

Here are the differences:

Brew method

Cold brew coffee is brewed, just like the name says, cold — without heat. Basically, to make cold brew, the coffee is given a course grind, placed in a filter, and then the filter and coffee placed in cool water. Once there, the coffee sits for a number of hours. While some specially designed industrial cold brew units circulate the water in such a manner to complete a brew in as soon as four hours, must of the time it takes about 20 to 24 hours to make cold brew coffee.

Iced coffee on the other hand is coffee brewed hot, typically with a drip machine. Water heated to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, just below boiling, is sent through medium ground coffee, and the resulting brew is poured over ice. This method is faster, easier and potentially cheaper as it requires no new equipment.

So if iced coffee is faster, easier and cheaper, why bother with cold brew you ask? Good question. The answer brings up the next difference between cold brew coffee and iced coffee


As cold brew is brewed in cold water over a longer period of time, the result tends to be smoother, have a creamier mouth feel and have a considerably less of the acidity than iced coffee. For many people, this profile makes cold brew more desirable than iced coffee and the fact that without the acidity as in regular coffee, cold brew may require less sweetening — if any at all — giving it less calories than sweetened iced coffee.


Many people have found cold brew gives a bit more of a kick than iced coffee. This is likely due to a higher caffeine content thanks to all the time the coffee spent in the water brewing, allowing the water to extract more caffeine.



So there you have it! As you can see, though, yes, both cold brew and iced coffee are indeed coffee and are cold and wet, they are very different after all.

If you would like to make your own cold brew, here is our special recipe so you can give it a try.

5 easy steps to make your own cold brew coffee 



About G4C

Grounds 4 Compassion is an Oklahoma City-based company focused on providing freshly roasted quality coffee for our customers and investing back into our community. Our goal is ultimately to help improve our community and our world as we endeavor to make a good cup of coffee.

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