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Differences Between Iced Coffee and Cold Brew

At first glance, it may seem that iced coffee and cold brew are similar drinks, offering the same delightfully refreshing experience, but this is not the case. Although they will both help you to cool down, the difference between the two lies in the way the coffee is made, the preparation time, and the final flavor.

Cold brew

Cold brew, also referred to as cold water extraction or cold pressing, is one of the stars of specialty coffee shops. It appeared more than 400 years ago in Japan, where it was made in long rituals that consisted in letting water fall, drop by drop, onto ground coffee until the drink was prepared, in what is now known as cold drip.

Only about 15 years ago did this drink start gaining in popularity throughout the United States and Europe, thanks in part to a new, easier preparation method. It can be brewed in a plastic container called a toddy, in a French press, or even in glass jars.

Coarse ground coffee is steeped in cold water for at least 14 to 16 hours. This way, sweeter and less acidic soluble compounds will be extracted, since the latter are only obtained by exposing the coffee to high temperatures.

It can be prepared in different ways to suit your personal taste: on the rocks, with milk, coconut cream, cranberry juice, tonic water, liquor, lemon, orange, etc.

Here are the main characteristics of Cold Brew:
1. It is prepared with cold or room temperature water.
2. It requires a long preparation time.
3. It is brewed as a coffee concentrate.
4. It has less acidity and a milder flavor.
5. It is a very versatile drink that can be mixed with many ingredients.

Iced coffee

Iced coffee, on the other hand, is made by brewing the beans in hot water and then cooling them. This is usually done by brewing regular hot coffee and either letting it cool or pouring it over ice. The drink thus obtained retains the flavor extracted during the hot preparation process and generally has greater acidity and bitterness. As the ice melts, the drink can also become increasingly diluted. 

The characteristics of iced coffee are:
1. It is prepared with hot water and cooled with ice.
2. It is quicker to prepare.
3. It can be made using a variety of preparation methods.
4. It has a more acidic and bitter taste.
5. It can be weak due to the dilution of the flavor as the ice melts, so ideally the hot coffee and ice should be ordered separately to preserve the attributes of the bean.

Iced coffee and Cold brew are refreshing and popular. Neither is better than the other. We would like to encourage you to try both to decide for yourself which is your favourite.

Fully automatic iced coffee machine

Most machines in our lineup include a solution that caters to the increasing demand for iced coffee and cold brew. Our expert team in product development has found the appropriate brewing conditions to ensure maximum extraction with minimum water-down.

Check out our Fully Automatic Coffee Machine line up here: