Difference between Iced Coffee and Cold Brew

I’ve lived most of my life in hot climates, which makes enjoying freshly brewed coffee difficult when temperatures rise. However, since coffee is my favorite beverage, I found iced coffee to be the perfect remedy for this problem.

Everyone has different tastes, so coffee, a versatile beverage, adapts to them and should be enjoyed according to each person’s preferences.

Although cold coffee offers many options, there can be some confusion when comparing the two most popular types: Cold Brew and iced coffee. But don’t worry, in this article, I will clear up your doubts and give you some tips to enjoy both options to the fullest.

Differences between iced coffee and Cold Brew coffee

Although at first glance they may seem similar, they have many differences.

What is iced coffee?

An iced coffee is a refreshing drink prepared by pouring hot coffee over ice. The coffee can be made in different forms, such as espresso, filtered coffee, or even instant coffee, and is poured over a generous amount of ice. In short, it’s a simple way to enjoy the taste of coffee on a hot day.

Recipe for iced coffee

To make iced coffee, you can use any coffee you like. In my case, I prefer to use a good espresso. Here is a simple recipe to enjoy this refreshing drink at home.


  • 1 plain espresso
  • 1 glass of ice
  • Sugar to taste


  • Prepare an espresso coffee or the type of black coffee you prefer. Remember that the more concentrated the coffee, the better the result, as the ice will dilute the drink.
  • If you like, add sugar to the cup in which you have prepared the coffee. You can skip this step to drink your coffee without sugar.
  • Pour the coffee over the ice in the glass and stir to lower the temperature of the coffee as the ice melts.

Considerations for making a good iced coffee:

  • Timing is a key factor in this drink because as the ice melts, the coffee will dilute. If you like your coffee strong, drink it faster.
  • As the coffee is diluted with water, its acidity will increase. It is, therefore, important that you extract the coffee correctly during the brewing process.
  • If you prefer not to dilute your coffee, you can use plastic ice cubes, although they will take longer to cool the drink.

What is Cold Brew?

Cold Brew is a coffee brewing technique that involves steeping ground coffee beans in cold water for an extended period of time, usually 12 to 24 hours. This brewing method produces a mild, less acidic, and sweeter-tasting coffee than traditional hot coffee, as the extraction process is slower and gentler.

Cold Brew coffee recipe

The Cold Brew coffee brewing technique originated in Japan in Kyoto, under the influence of Dutch traders. Known as Kyoto-style coffee, this method involves the slow dripping of cold water over ground coffee, creating a slow process that has become a ritual for the Japanese.

Although cold-brewed coffee gained popularity in the United States about 15 years ago and then in Europe, a simpler, but not necessarily faster, preparation method has been adapted.


  • 150 grams of ground coffee
  • 1 liter of cold water


  1. Select a glass container and add the ground coffee.
  2. Slowly and carefully pour the cold water over the coffee and mix well.
  3. Cover the container and let it sit in the refrigerator for 18-20 hours.
  4. A paper filter in a bowl or pitcher and pour the mixture to remove coffee sediment.
  5. Repeat this step several times to ensure the brew is free of coffee grounds.

Considerations for best results:

  • Use fresh, high-quality coffee beans for the best taste.
  • Adjust the amount of ground coffee used to the desired strength, and grind the beans before adding water.
  • Use room temperature or cooler water to prevent the coffee from becoming bitter.
  • After letting the mixture rest in the refrigerator, filter it carefully to remove the coffee grounds.
  • Serve the cold brew coffee black, over ice, or with milk, according to your personal taste.

Cold Brew preparation with a French coffee maker

The French coffee machine is an excellent tool for preparing Cold Brew, as it simplifies the filtering process.

Proportions and grinding

To prepare Cold Brew in a French press, use the same ratio of coffee to water as mentioned above. However, there are no strict rules about the amount of coffee and water to use, as it usually depends on the personal preferences of the brewer.

The coffee beans should be ground coarsely, even coarser than in the traditional French press.

Brewing time

The most difficult thing is determining the brewing time for the type of coffee used. This will require some trial and error, and you may have to experiment with different brewing times to find the one that suits you best.

Final result and preservation

The end result is a cold coffee with low acidity and natural sweetness that combines well with milk for a refreshing drink. Another advantage of using a French press to make Cold Brew is that you can make a large quantity that will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

So, if you’re like me and prefer cold drinks to beat the heat, don’t hesitate to try these two excellent methods.


Iced coffee and Cold Brew are excellent options for enjoying coffee on hot days, but they differ.

Iced coffee is a simple and refreshing drink that can be prepared quickly and easily. On the other hand, Cold Brew is a more time-consuming and laborious process that produces a sweeter and less acidic coffee with a longer shelf life.

The choice between the two ultimately comes down to personal preference, so it’s up to you to decide which is the right fit for you. Whether you make a quick iced coffee or a slow-brewed Cold Brew, don’t forget to use high-quality coffee beans and adjust the recipe to your liking.

Characteristics summary:

  • Preparation Time: Cold Brew takes 12-24 hours to prepare, while iced coffee can be made in minutes.
  • Grind Size: Cold Brew uses coarse grounds, while iced coffee uses fine grounds.
  • Extraction: Cold Brew is made with cold water, while iced coffee is with hot water.
  • Freshness: Cold Brew can last up to 2 weeks, while iced coffee should be consumed immediately.
  • Acidity: Cold Brew has a lower acidity than iced coffee.
  • Bitterness: Cold Brew has a lower bitterness than iced coffee.
  • Taste: Cold Brew has a sweet and smooth taste, while iced coffee has an aromatic and balanced taste.