Today I am writing about the difference between iced coffee, cold brew and nitro one. I am pretty sure that we cannot say there is one of them better than the others; it is just a matter of preference. As we all know, they both come out cold but their making process is totally different. First of all, iced coffee is basically coffee that was brewed hot but is now cold. It is more acidic and thinner than a cold brew. A cold brew is a craft process, where coffee is steeping at room temperature for at least 8-12 hours up to 24-36 hours and then strained with a paper coffee filter. The result is a concentrate with a smooth and sweet flavour.
So, what is the difference between iced coffee and cold brew?
Cold brew is a fresh medium-coarse ground size of coffee (depending on how much time of extraction) infused with cold filter water (usually overnight) without added heat. Brewing with cold water gives you a smoother and sweeter cup without bitterness because cold water doesn’t extract all the components as hot water does; that means that you are going to extract less bitter oils and acids so less caffeine. It also has less acid level and then it suits more for people with digestive problems. On the other hand, iced coffee is brewed with hot water and served over ice; it’s less smooth, it’s less rich flavour profile and less bitterness than cold brew.
So, in short: cold brew is up to 65% less acidic than any hot brewed coffee but it has more caffeine cause is typically brewed at a higher ratio. Cold brew has usually twice the caffeine of the iced coffee even though you can dilute it with water or milk to cut it down. It offers full-bodied with a smooth texture. Iced coffee, on the contrary, tastes thinner cause the ice water down the final cup. It requires only few minutes so it’s easier to make instead of a cold brew.
Cold brew has the benefit of a long duration: you can store it in fridge for a couple of weeks without losing flavours. It can also be enjoyed in a bottle or a can ready-to-drink or it can be made by nitro.
Nitro coffee is simply a cold brew coffee that is stored in a keg, infused with nitrogen gas and served on draft like a pint. Serving on tap gives the coffee a smooth texture and a creamier taste than cold brew with a foam on top that reminds a pint of Guinness.
I am an Italian coffee lover that pushed for the love of this “amazing drug” decided to come to London to study about coffee and its different extraction procedures and tastes.