Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee

Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee
A debate we’ve been noticing pop up recently is whether or not cold brew coffee contains more or less caffeine than a typical cup of hot coffee. It’s a fair question, after all they’re brewed differently, so why wouldn’t the end result be affected? We won’t keep you hanging, we know the answer… there is more caffeine in cold brew! In fact usually a lot more. Care to learn why? Keep reading below.

Why is There More Caffeine in Cold Brew?


The simple answer is brew time.

Going a step deeper, solubility is the name of the game. Caffeine’s solubility into water increases dramatically as water temperature increases. In fact, the level of solubility in water at 77 degrees is only about 2%, whereas at water’s boiling point? 66.7%. Clearly temperature has a lot to do with how much caffeine is absorbed.

Cold brew, generally speaking requires between 12-24 hours of brew time.

The longer steeping time for cold brew coffee is the primary reason for why there’s more caffeine versus a hot cup of coffee or even iced coffee. Iced coffee is simply brewed hot, and then poured over ice. There’s nothing special about that process. Iced coffee will contain all your usual levels of acidity and taste that you’re used to in a regular hot coffee.

With cold brew, you have a more complex, less bitter, and smoother taste. Cold brew can be served black, with no added sugar or milk, for a rich-tasting chilled drink. The acidity is cut down in cold brew coffee primarily because it’s made using cold water.

The Numbers Behind It All


What kind of caffeine levels are we talking about?

Equipment matters, as does the process, beans, etc. However, cold brew usually contains around 200mg of caffeine per 16 ounces. When compared to iced coffee, you’re looking more towards an average level of 85mg in that same cup.

All in all, cold brew is almost twice as caffeinated.

An Easy Way to Make Your Own Cold Brew


If you’re interested in an easy, yet effective way to make your own cold brew from home, follow these steps below.

  1. Coarsely Grind Coffee Beans
  2. Add Cold Water
  3. Steep for a Minimum of 12 Hours
  4. Separate Grinds From Your Brew

Coarsely Ground Beans Work Best
Using freshly ground coffee beans for any type of coffee is the most ideal. It delivers the best flavor regardless of how you’re brewing it. If you’re in the market for a new grinder, Chris’ Coffee has an extensive collection of Grinders for sale online.

It’s very important to use a coarse grind when making your own cold brew because of the extraction time necessary for a smooth taste. If you use too fine of a grind setting, the coffee will end up extracting too much and you’ll end up with a really bitter tasting drink. Set your grinder for a coarse setting or French Press and you should be in good shape.

Add Water
Not much involved here, simply use whatever container you’d like to pour some cold water over your grounds. Generally speaking, a ratio of 1:4 for cold brew is what you’re looking for. In other words, 1 cup of beans for every 4 cups of water.

Steep for 12-24 Hours
Here’s where you can experiment a little and find your sweet spot.

Depending on how long you allow your brew to steep you’ll end up with varying degrees of bitterness and acidity, so have fun with this part. We recommend at least 12 hours, but 18 seems to be a fairly preferred amount of time. You can leave your container on the kitchen counter overnight, but we actually like to keep our’s in the fridge.

Separate Grinds
There’s a variety of different kinds of strainers and mesh cloths on the market you can buy to strain your coffee, however a standard French Press works best.

And that’s all she wrote folks! Fresh, cold brew coffee right from the comfort of your own home, and at a fraction of the price from an upscale coffee chain. If you found this guide helpful, you can see more of our How To Guides on the Chris’ Coffee Blog or by subscribing to our free newsletter where we often share unadvertised sales and promotions.
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