To non-coffee drinkers, all kinds of coffee are the same. But for us coffee lovers, we're pretty particular with the brewing methods, process, and taste.
Cold brew coffee goes through a steeping process. No, it's not just a regular iced coffee. Learn more about the differences between hot and cold brew as you read through.
What Is Hot Brew Coffee?
Hot brewed coffee is not that complicated to understand. It's the regular hot coffee you see served in coffee shops, restaurants, or something you can easily make at home.
You can use a french press, drip machine, or a manual dripper to extract the coffee beans with hot water for the brewing method.
You may hear people use names such as hot drip coffee, hot americano, brewed coffee. Essentially, they're all similar.
What Is Cold Brew Coffee?
Most people think that putting ice over regular brewed coffee already makes it cold brew. It doesn't. Cold brews entail steeping ground coffee beans for a more extended period.
You can use either room temperature water or cold water to infuse the coffee beans and let them steep overnight or even up to days.
Cold brew coffees are more concentrated, often diluted before being served.
Cold Brew vs. Hot Brew: Which Is Better?
Now that we've addressed the main distinction, let's dive deeper into the differences.
Hot brewing coffee takes only minutes. All you need is hot water over the coffee grounds, let it steep or drip for a while, and you're done.
Cold-brewed coffee requires at least 12 hours of steeping. Some people let it steep with cold water on the get-go, but some put it in the fridge.
Either way, the cold brewing process is the same.
Ah, the "how much caffeine is there?" question. Hear our explanation.
The caffeine content of both hot and cold brew are technically the same, assuming that you are using the same amount of beans.
Using hot water extracts more caffeine from ground coffee. However, the concentrated result of the long steeping time in cold brewing makes the cold brew stronger.
But because we drink cold brew in its diluted form, you are consuming less caffeine (but with more flavor) than if you were to drink your hot cup in one go.
Hot coffee is more acidic than cold coffee because cold water produces fewer oils and other content that causes acidity.
Having less acidity in cold brew makes it the perfect option for people who get acid reflux or heartburn. If you’re looking for stomach-friendly coffee, check out this guide on the best low acid coffee brands.
Great news, you don't have to get rid of coffee from your diet!
Without the hot water, the flavor of cold-brewed coffee has less bitterness. Cold brew is also smoother than hot brew coffee.
It depends on what you're after. If you're looking for less acidity, opt for cold brew. If you're on the hunt for some antioxidants, then hot brew is the way to go.
So, Which Is Better?
The better question is, how do you like your coffee? There's no telling which one's the best option since we all have varying coffee preferences.
You'll Like Cold Brew Coffee If:
- You don't like the acidity of hot coffee or hot brewed coffee.
- You prefer your cold coffee to have a smoother and less bitter taste.
- You like preparing huge batches in advance and consuming it gradually within the week.
- You want to store the coffee for a more extended timeframe.
You'll Like Hot Brew Coffee If:
- You want more antioxidants (cold brew is found to have significantly less).
- You want your coffee now.
- You prefer the acidic and bolder flavor of hot coffee, not the toned-down taste of the cold brew.
Cold Brew vs. Hot Brew: Brewing Process
We've briefly touched on the process above, but let's specify the how-to steps if you want to make your cup. Keep in mind that you don't have to follow everything to dot.
Hot Brew Coffee
It's straightforward to brew hot coffee. Since you are using hot water temperature, the extraction is fast, and you can have a nice cup right then.
- French Press: Put the coffee beans, pour hot water, steep for around four minutes, then press.
- Drip Coffee Machine: Place the beans and water in the proper reservoir. Press the button!
- Manual Drip Coffee: Set the brewing tools in place (filter paper/cloth, coffee pot, dripper), then put the coffee grounds on the filter. Pour water gradually in a circular motion, then wait for the coffee to drip.
Cold Brew Coffee
The most crucial point in cold brewing coffee is the steeping process. The method you're using for cold brew doesn't matter as long as you use cold water and let it steep overnight at least.
- French Press: Similar process to hot brew but instead of pouring water, use cold or room temperature water, and don't press until serving time.
- Use a Mason Jar: Put the beans in the jar and infuse it with cold or room-temperature water. We suggest storing this in the fridge and consuming it gradually.
Iced Coffee vs. Cold Brew Coffee
It's easier to distinguish hot brew from cold brew because, well, one's brewed hot and the other's brewed cold.
But here's the tricky part: how do you differentiate iced coffee from cold-brewed coffee?
Cold brew coffee is everything we've discussed above. A cold-brewed cup is achieved by longer steeping; it's less acidic and infused with cold-temperature water.
On the other hand, iced coffee is simply regular coffee with ice. Technically, the brewing method and duration are similar to a hot brew.
You still used the same water temperature to brew, so you're getting the same content only with ice.
If you're after the anti-oxidants and the same acidity but prefer a cold beverage, put some ice to your cup, and you're set.
Hopefully, this guide from MyCoffeeBase has helped you clear up your doubts on the differences between cold brew and a hot brew.
Coffee is coffee. Whether it's a regular coffee, a cold brew, a hot brew, a latte, they're all fantastic as long as you brew properly.
But knowing the correct type of brew you want allows you to tailor-fit your coffee experience to your unique preferences - and that creates a new kind of magic!