Cold Brew and Iced Coffee: What’s The Difference?

Today, you can walk into any cafe or local coffee shop and see a variety of drinks on the menu. You see a list of hot drinks and you see a list of different iced drinks ranging from iced coffee to cold brew. All of them are cold drinks that taste like coffee and are poured over ice, but what is the difference? 

Cold-brew and Iced coffee look similar but hold many differences. You can now find varieties of iced coffees and cold brews, in restaurants and groceries as well, that are sold in cans or bottles. Many coffee enthusiasts enjoy cold-brew for its different aspects and taste that it has. 

Furthermore, there can also be many differences between these two alone. However, as the days get warmer, I will explain the main differences between these two iced drinks so the next time you need a refreshing coffee drink, you will make the right choice! 

Here are the key differences between Iced Coffee and Cold Brew 


In general, iced coffee is brewed as normal hot coffee, which is then cooled down for hours until ready. It will taste the same and have the same features as a regular hot coffee, but the difference is that it is cooled and poured over ice. 

If you ever forget to drink your early morning hot coffee, the leftover that is cooled down can be poured onto a cup of ice and be considered iced coffee. Very simple, right? 

The product of iced coffee is exactly the same as hot coffee, only that it goes through a cooling process. However, when you pour your coffee into ice it can tend to lose flavor, due to the ice melting. 

The taste of iced coffee can be considered more bitter, since it is initially brewed at high temperature. This high temperature brew can also extract more coffee solubles to have a fuller body of coffee, but leads to a bitter taste.  

If you are looking for a stronger taste in iced coffee, all you have to do is double the amount poured into the brewing cup and wait until it cools down. Also you can try to add already made iced coffee, and pour it onto an ice tray to have coffee ice cubes. 



The process to make cold brew coffee is a bit longer and more distinct than iced coffee.

Initially, the coffee beans are soaked in water for a couple hours to ensure the best and most flavorful cold brew experience. This is done to get results that are less acidic, highly caffeinated, and a super-smooth taste. 

Cold brew also refers to the process that the coffee is made, not the temperature that it is served as. The more the coffee beans are soaked into room temperature water the more sugar, oils, and caffeine that is extracted. 

Due to its brewing method, cold brew contains half the acidity than that of iced coffee, to produce a soothing taste that is easy on the stomach. As mentioned, cold brew can be served either hot or cold. The name cold brew is given because the coffee grounds are never brewed at high temperature. 

If you are looking for a cold coffee drink with more flavor and less acidity, go with a cold brew!


Now that we have discussed the main differences on how iced coffee and cold brew are made, which one has more caffeine?

In simple terms, if you get a typical 16oz of Iced Coffee (165mg) and compare it to a typical 16oz cold brew (200mg) you get more caffeine with a cold brew. However, this ultimately depends on how the brew is made, you can always get more. Iced coffee is regularly coffee that is cooled down, while cold brew is brewed from room temperature and filters out the grounds. This is the most concentrated coffee you can get, meaning getting more caffeine.

Ultimately, if you’re looking to be productive and not too jolty in the morning try an iced coffee. If you’re an early bird that needs the most energy to get through a rough day, pick up a cold brew!