Iced coffee and cold brew, what’s the deal with those?
Both serve as a good refreshing caffeine beverage in the summer months—cold and served with ice and to an untrained eye, they’re practically the same. Although they have many similarities, they’re different, especially for avid coffee enthusiasts.
As the months heat up, the idea of drinking an iced coffee seems to grow more and more alluring the hotter and hotter the days go by. Coffeehouses serve these black and, to others, a little sweeter and creamier.
Iced coffee is exactly what it sounds—coffee cooled down with ice. However, just ice with coffee doesn’t make a great iced coffee.
For many of us, the concept of an iced coffee just involves storing the leftover brewed coffee from this morning to the fridge and letting it cool down before pouring it on a cup and adding in the ice, and perhaps milk and syrups. It is a method which isn’t all that bad, especially if you’re just trying to find that cold caffeine fix you might have needed in a jiffy.
But there’s a better way (and probably the only way iced coffee is served from your local cafe) which is coffee brewed with hot water directly over ice. When done well, it results in a bright flavorful cold coffee drink made in just under 10 minutes.
While cold brew is, well, cold, it’s definitely not iced coffee, per se.
Coffee is usually associated as a hot drink—or a cold drink made from hot coffee extract, cold brew doesn’t actually become hot for most of its long preparation time, because it doesn’t use hot water but that doesn’t mean that you’re not in for a good cup of coffee.
Cold brew isn’t as straightforward as making iced coffee. The thing that makes it special and tasty is that it relies on time and patience to extract the coffee oils instead of heat (which is why most coffee shops prepare these in batches). And if done correctly, it results in a less acidic and smoother coffee brew to make up for all that time waiting.
Cold brew involves steeping medium-coarse ground coffee in cold water for twelve to a whole day. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor. The grounds are then filtered out once done steeping, leaving a somewhat coffee-concentrate ready to be served on its own or mixed with milk or water.
So tell us, which one do you prefer?
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