There’s a crazy new trend going around the coffee world that has confused many people by its seemingly sudden appearance. Iced coffee isn’t a new trend, but cold brew has taken the shelves and takeout cups by storm, gaining traction through the summer and retaining stability even through the chillier winter days. Unfortunately, the sudden appearance of cold brew alongside iced coffee has thrown quite a few casual coffee lovers for a loop. Is cold brew iced coffee? What’s the difference? Why is one more expensive?? Let’s explore.
The main difference between iced coffee and cold brew is the brewing method, namely the temperature.
Iced coffee is brewed normally, with hot water. It’s essentially hot brewed coffee that’s later chilled, added to ice. To reduce watered down coffee as a result of melting ice cubes, simply make coffee ice cubes. It will still water down over time, but not nearly as much. Iced coffee, as a result of the method, is thinner than cold brew and slightly more bitter. This is because heat extracts oil and acidity, which you can avoid by drinking cold brew instead, if bitter isn’t your style.
Cold brew is basically just what it sounds like—it’s brewed cold. There’s no heat involved at all. Coffee grounds are placed in room temperature water and steeped for at least 12 hours to produce a cold brew concentrate. Use a cold brew system with a built-in filter or a French press to keep it from getting muddy. Add water or milk to the concentrate in your favorite ratio and serve very cold for best results. Due to the absence of heat, there’s considerably less acid and bitters extracted (67% according to the Toddy brewer we use), leaving a pure, aromatic cold coffee.
As you can imagine, cold brew is generally more expensive because it
1) is guaranteed fresh (unlike iced coffee which is frequently yesterday’s left overs)
2) is more appealing to the palate (if done correctly)
3) takes considerably longer to brew (we all know time = $$$)
If you’re making your own cold coffee, then it mostly depends on how much time you want to invest—you’ll probably opt for the quick iced coffee on the go. However, if you want a really quality cup of joe, then you’ll want to grab a bottle of Full Bloom’s Cold Brew off the shelf at Standard Foods or The Beerded Lady, or in a brilliant fusion of coffee and beer at Double Barley Brewing—just look for Sparkky’s Coffee Chocolate Milk Stout.
Hopefully we’ve cleared things up on this front. Keep an eye out for our next blog, and have a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you and yours, from Full Bloom Coffee Roasters!