Feature image cold brew vs. hot brew coffee

7 Differences You Should Know Between Cold Brew Vs. Hot Brew Coffee

Cold brew vs. hot brew coffee has recently become a primary debate among many coffee enthusiasts.

This debate has resulted from the claims that cold brew coffee is smoother and less bitter with a perfect taste for summer when people need to take in less heat

Cold brew has now become a hot trend in coffee making and a go-to option for many coffee lovers in both home and coffee shops.

cold brew coffee with ice

While the love of cold brew coffee blossomed in 2016 and 2017, many people still don’t understand the differences between cold brew coffee vs. hot brew coffee.

The main thing to note in these two brews is that their preparation rules play differently, and the extraction approaches are also different.

Unlike regular hot coffee, which is brewed quickly at hot temperatures, cold brew coffee is brewed slowly at low temperatures.

The coffee beans for cold coffee steep longer within the water.

If you are wondering how different cold brew coffee is from regular hot coffee, you have come to the right page.

We have done a lot of research about cold brew vs. hot brew coffee and have come up with 7 differences between these coffee brews.

7 Differences You Should Know Between Cold Brew Vs. Hot Brew Coffee

1. Cold Brew Has Lower Bitterness Than Hot Brew Coffee

Brewing with cold water produces a brew with lower acidity and bitterness than that of hot water brewing.

This is usually due to changes in the extraction process of the coffee components from the coffee grounds.

Extraction usually happens when water dissolves in coffee grounds and pulls out the coffee components. These components can be acids, oils, particles that dissolve, and other things.

Different temperatures affect the extraction process in terms of speed, and the things pulled out. For example;

When making hot coffee, it’s recommended to use high temperatures of about 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve intense flavors.

Achieving intense flavors means that hot water extracts coffee components fast and effectively.

When you use a higher brewing temperature like 210 degrees Fahrenheit, you end up with an intensely bitter brewed coffee.

High temperatures cause the acids to decay, forming extra-bitter compounds. This makes the brew taste too sour.

When more acidic compounds dissolve faster than the non-acidic ones, the coffee flavor lacks balance.

But when it comes to cold brewing, the extractions process is slower. It doesn’t slow down the extraction of the non-acidic compounds.

Cold brewing changes what’s extracted and what stays behind. In this case, most of the acidic components remain behind.

2. Cold Brew Coffee vs. Hot Brew Coffee Flavors

The variation of the acidity levels and the extraction process mean that flavors in cold and hot brews can change dramatically.

This is because oxidation happens slower in cold water than in hot water. Slow oxidation results in less acidic and less bitter flavors.

While cold water brewing slows down the extraction of acids, the extraction rate of the non-acidic components remains the same.

Therefore, the actual chemical make-up of cold brew is very different from that of hot coffee, and there is a big difference in their flavors.

If you try a glass of cold coffee and another glass of hot coffee made from the same beans, you will notice a big difference in their tastes and flavors.

Generally, cold brew coffee has a sweet and smooth flavor, with a very gentle hint of acidity and nearly no bitterness. It doesn’t have rich aromas.

On the other hand, hot brew coffee has a rounded, sweet aroma, gentle sweetness, and crisp acidity and bitterness.

3. Cold Brew is More Versatile

While you can still mix hot coffee with a few things to get various drinks, it’s not versatile as a cold brew. The versatility you get from the cold brew is unmatched.

Cold brew coffee chemistry is simple. The cold brewing process gives you a concentrate that is not actually ready for drinking, but you can pair it with other ingredients.

There are many ways you can use your cold brew coffee to make a variety of drinks. Here are some of them:

4. Caffeine Levels Vary Slightly in Cold Coffee Brew VS Hot Coffee Brew

Most people are confused about cold brew vs. hot brew coffee caffeine. There are a lot of questions about whether cold brew has more caffeine than hot brew coffee.

According to Caffeine Informer, cold brew coffee vs. hot brew coffee caffeine is quite diverse.

pouring hot brew coffee for you

If you use the same brew-to-water ratios for brewing cold and hot coffee, you will find that more caffeine is produced in hot coffee within the same brewing time.

This is because heat speeds up the extraction of caffeine from coffee grounds.

However, cold brew coffee gets the credit for having more caffeine since it’s usually brewed as a concentrate with a higher coffee to water ratio.

Caffeine levels in coffee depend on the coffee grind to water ratio, not necessarily on the temperatures. Cold or hot brewing methods don’t affect caffeine quotients.

Another factor that brings out the difference in caffeine quotient in cold and brew coffee is the brewing time.

Brewing cold coffee with cold water may take longer due to the slow extraction rate. Cold brew coffee tends to have higher caffeine levels as the brewing process takes longer and has less water.

Hence, if you want to drink coffee for the caffeine, cold brew is a better option as you will use less water, and the brewing process will take longer.

5. Antioxidants in Cold Brew VS Hot Brew Coffee

Many people love coffee due to the amazing health benefits it delivers, like reducing inflammation and fighting other deadly diseases.

There are some claims that cold coffee offers higher contents of antioxidants, but no research has proven such assumptions.

Researchers at Jefferson University found out that hot brew coffee and cold brew coffee have similar pH levels, ranging from 4.85 to 5.13.

While the pH levels in hot and cold coffee are the same, hot coffee contains higher amounts of antioxidants than cold coffee. This is because hot coffee brew has higher concentrations of de-pronated acids.

However, when light-roasted coffee beans are used, the content of antioxidants in hot brew coffee is similar to that of cold brew coffee.

6. Brewing Process

Another notable difference between cold brew and hot brew coffee is their brewing process.

Though it takes relatively longer to prepare cold brew coffee, it’s very easy to make it at home compared to hot coffee.

To brew cold coffee, you just have to pour some water into a jug and then add your coffee beans. The brewing process takes about 12 to 24 hours.

pouring hot brew coffee

Hot brewed coffee can be made in less than 10 minutes. All you have to do is add your coffee grounds into a coffee maker and then allow hot water to pour over the grounds.

Read More:

Amazing and Best Ways to Brew Coffee

7. Cost of Making Cold Brew VS Hot Brew Coffee

The cost incurred in preparing cold and warm coffee is very different. Cold coffee is cheaper and easier to prepare.

Cold coffee brewing requires fewer components and to make because it is more of a manual process.

The traditional coffee makers are more costly as they are prone to failure over time. Therefore, you will have to invest in modern and upgraded components.

Cold Brew Coffee VS Hot Brew Coffee: Which is Healthier

Hot brew coffee tends to have higher levels of antioxidants than cold brew coffee.

These antioxidants are the ones responsible for most coffee health benefits. This means that hot coffee is better than cold coffee in terms of health benefits.

Nonetheless, coffee lovers with gastrointestinal issues could benefit more from cold coffee than hot coffee.

Depending on the brewing method used, cold brew coffee may have slightly less acid than hot brew coffee. It also contains more compounds that protect your stomach from coffee acidity.

What is Better About Cold Brew Coffee?

There are many reasons why cold coffee is better coffee. Below are some of them;

There are many reasons why cold coffee is better coffee. Below are some of them;

1. Low Acidity

Among the advantages of drinking cold coffee are its low acidity levels. Low acidity has many health and taste benefits.

It ensures your body PH levels are balanced. Also, eating or drinking foods with high acidity may cause health conditions like heartburn.

2. Smoother and Sweeter

Unlike the hot coffee that is exposed to high temperatures, cold coffee is smooth and less bitter.

Bitter coffee means you have to add sugar for it to taste better. This is not the case with cold coffee. It is sweeter, meaning you will only add a little sugar and flavor to it.

3. Boost Your Mood

The proportions of caffeine in the cold brew coffee can improve the state of your mind. Many studies have revealed that many people who take coffee have lower depression rates and good sleeping patterns.

Other studies have suggested that taking cold brew coffee will boost your mood and brain functioning.

4. Lower Risks of Heart Diseases

Cold coffee has compounds like caffeine, magnesium, quinides, lignans, and many other crucial compounds crucial for the heart’s health.

If you drink cold coffee, your heart’s health will improve. However, if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, you should reduce the amount of cold coffee you take.

Can You Drink Cold Brew Straight?

You cannot drink cold brew coffee straight after brewing. This is because cold-brewed coffee produces a concentrate that should be mixed with other ingredients before it is ready for consumption.

For instance, you can mix cold brew coffee with cold water and ice for iced coffee or mix it with hot water to form hot coffee.

Many other ingredients can mix with cold brew coffee to form something that you can enjoy. They include milk, water, ice, sugar, spirit, and soda to create different flavors.

What is the Best Ratio for Cold Brew Coffee?

The best ratio of brewing coffee solely depends on how you want to use it.

If you want to take the cold coffee over ice, you have to put less water in it since the melting ice will be watering it down.

If you’re going to reheat the cold coffee before enjoying it, you should put in enough water because nothing reduces its concentration.

Sometimes, you may make a concentrated cold coffee and then mix it with milk to drink a latte.

Nevertheless, there are cold coffee ratios that are accepted widely as the best. Below are some of them;

  • If you are brewing cold concentrated coffee for Lattes, the best ratio will be 3 ounces of coffee beans to 2.5 cups of water.
  • For a cold brew that you want to reheat, use coffee beans to water in the ratio 1:1 and add hot water to taste. You can increase or reduce the coffee ratio to water whenever you want a stronger or weaker coffee, respectively.
  • When brewing cold coffee to pour over ice, use a coffee ounce to cups of water in the ratio of 1:1. This is the ideal ratio for cold brew coffee.


Coffee is said to be stronger when it has a higher amount of caffeine dissolved in it.

Many people fail to understand this, but the answer is simple.

Regular hot coffee is stronger than cold brew coffee only when they are prepared with the same type and amount of ingredients. Coffee components are easily extracted in hotter solutions.

Coffee is highly variable, and there are many factors that come into play when it comes to the strength of coffee.

These factors include the type of coffee used, the amount of water used, temperature, grind size, brew duration, roast level, and blend.

However, if all these factors are kept constant and only temperature varied, there will be a difference between the hot and cold brews.

Whereas many factors will determine the amount of caffeine in coffee, the temperature is paramount. Here is how it affects the coffee strength.

Temperature significantly affects the solubility of caffeine. The hotter the solution, the more concentrated the coffee will be, depending on coffee-grind to water ratio.

If you have the same amount of coffee with similar grind size and roast, and all the other factors remain the same, the coffee grind will be over-extracted in hotter water than cold water.

To verify this at home, you can use the same ration and type of ingredients and prepare both hot and cold coffee. Leave the hot coffee to cool down and taste both. The hot coffee that cooled down will be stronger.

Both cold and hot coffee are taken to relieve the longing for caffeine. However, these two types of coffee drinks are entirely different in their preparation methods, chemical composition, and taste.

Even if you were to leave hot coffee to cool down, still it will not taste like cold coffee. Below are some of the significant differences between the two types of coffee;

· Caffeine Concentration

Many articles on the internet are trying to explain the differences between caffeine levels in cold and hot coffees.

The truth is that caffeine difference will depend on many factors ranging from the ground size, the brew duration, coffee garind to water ratio, and temperature to some point.

· Acidity and Bitterness Levels

Cold brewed coffee has a lower level of acidity compared to hot brewed coffee.

The main reason for this is because, during extraction, different substances like acids, sugars, oil, and other particles are removed from the coffee ground to the coffee drink.

The high temperature will increase the rate and extent to which this substance will be extracted

· Versatility

Cold coffee is very versatile because it can be mixed with ingredients to form many exciting flavors.

Some of the most common flavors made out of cold coffee include iced coffee, hot coffee, cold brew cocktails, cold brew soda, and iced cold brew latte.

On the other hand, hot coffee is good but can be mixed with very few ingredients and thus not very versatile.

· Flavor and Taste

If you were given hot and cold coffee prepared from the same coffee beans, you would quickly notice the difference.

Hot coffee has crisp acidity, pleasant aroma, rounded flavor, and some hint of bitterness. This is entirely different from the cold coffee, which has a smooth taste, sweet, a little acidity, and no bitterness.

All these differences are brought by the temperature and methods of preparation.

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