Ordering a coffee isn’t a walk in the park anymore. Experienced drinkers are likely familiar with the classics — Americano, cappuccino, flat white, latte, macchiato — but there’s a new sheriff in town by the name of cold brew, and most people aren’t even sure what that means.
What’s the difference between iced coffee and cold brew? For starters, the former is made by brewing hot coffee, letting it cool, and then pouring it over ice. The whole process is relatively quick. On the contrary, cold brew is made by steeping ground coffee in cool, filtered water for hours at a time. Because it’s made without heat, it nixes much of the acidity you get with drip coffee. The end result is naturally sweeter and smoother.
When it comes to calories, there isn’t a difference between the two whatsoever prior to adding any flavoring. Cold brew’s naturally sweeter, creamier profile might make it easier for some drinkers to cut back on cream and sugar though, which can increase your coffee’s calorie count by hundreds. There is a slight contrast in caffeine content, though because cold brew stays cold through and through, the water and the coffee stay together longer, creating a perfect storm for a bigger buzz…
These chilled cousins are more different than you think.
Despite high caffeine levels (caffeine is naturally bitter), cold brew carries notes of chocolate, with a smooth, Guinness-like mouthfeel and a lower perceived acidity than traditional iced coffee. Since it is brewed as a concentrate, it will not taste water-y even when you add milk and ice !
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