two cups of iced coffee

The Difference Between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee—What to Know

Ever walked into a coffee shop and noticed the two similar iced coffee items on the menu that are priced quite differently? 

Iced coffee and cold brew are two types of coffee drinks that can confuse many cafe shop customers. While their names might sound similar, each has its own merits and unique points. By knowing these subtle differences, you can make an informed decision and fully enjoy your daily cup of coffee.

This article will help you tell the difference between these two chilled coffee drinks and how to prepare them. After this, your summer days will be filled with so much energy and yummy cups of coffee!

Cold Brew for longer days

For days when you need caffeine to keep you going, a bottle of cold brew would be your secret weapon. Cold brew contains a higher concentration of caffeine as compared to regular iced coffee, mainly because it is composed of coffee concentrate.

Cold brew coffee is made through the Immersion Method. This simply means that you are submerging coffee in water for a long period of time before extracting the brew. Because Cold brew is such a strong concentrated coffee, the coffee-to-water ratio of this drink is significantly higher compared to other coffee brewing recipes. Diluting it with a couple of ice cubes will help ease its strong flavor and caffeine content.

Unlike other brewing methods that use hot water, with cold brew, you use room temperature or cold water. This is because the coffee will be submerged in this liquid for eight to twelve hours. If you use hot water, then chances are you will be burning your coffee especially after having it sit in that hot water for hours. The result would be just be burnt coffee in a big pitcher.

Making cold brew at home

A basic Cold Brew recipe uses about 55 grams of coffee with medium-to-fine grind size. Let it steep in cold water for eight to twelve hours and then extract the coffee to a different bottle. 

What’s great about making this is that you can even play around with the ratios until you find the perfect recipe that would suit your palate. Cold brew concentrate can be a bit strong—to dilute this, you can add ice cubes or milk to even out the flavor.

Iced Coffee to help you go with the flow

A notable characteristic of iced coffee is its therapeutic brewing method. You might’ve seen baristas in your local coffee shop standing behind the brew bar making filter coffee using a V60 or Kalita Wave.

Iced coffee is made by using the drip method. In cold brew, you allow the coffee to steep for hours, but with drip coffee, you just let the water flow. Making delicious drip coffee is an art—you’re dealing with a lot of factors, like the time, temperature, grind size, and the consistency of your movements, each of which directly translates to the taste of your coffee.

Stay calm with Iced Coffee

A basic recipe you can follow to create a great cup of iced coffee at home simply requires a few coffee equipment: A V60 or Kalita Wave, some coffee filters, a scale, and a kettle. What you would want to do is grind around 18g of coffee, with a grind size a bit coarser than espresso, and place it in your filter. Start brewing with a temperature of 197.6°F, and you’ll be done brewing in about two and a half to three minutes. Let it cool for a bit and add some ice cubes to finish!


For the days when you are on-the-go, cold brew should be your choice of drink. If you have time to spare and want to get in the flow, however, then Iced Drip Coffee would be the drink for you. When you’ve tried making these types of coffee at home, you’ll eventually want to try other brewing methods that will suit different types of moods and vibes. At least now, you’ll know what to get on your next coffee shop visit!

We’re a local coffee shop, tap house, cocktail bar, and restaurant based in Arizona. We created a space where people can come to work, grab lunch, meet new people, and hold events. If you want us at your next event, let us know. Send us a message today!

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