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Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee: Which One is the Best Choice

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

Do you ever find yourself in a situation trying to decide between a cold brew and an iced coffee? Do the terms mean the same thing? Is one better than the other? If you're looking for answers to all these questions, then this article is for you. Cold brew vs. iced coffee—we've got you covered!

Let's start with defining each option to distinguish them from one another. After that, we can go into what makes each of them great.

What is Cold Brew?

Cold Brew Coffee

It's a coffee brewing method that has quickly become popular over the past few years. It involves steeping coffee beans at room temperature or cold water for about 12 to 24 hours.

During this steeping process, the flavor and aroma of the beans are extracted into the water, producing a rich and full-bodied coffee concentrate.

When combined with milk or water, this cold brew concentrate can make a delicious cup of coffee that is both smooth and sweet. The longer you steep your cold brew, the stronger the flavor will be - but it also means that it takes more time to prepare!

Cold brew is a method of coffee brewing that has exploded in popularity over the past few years, but it requires a very specific type of coffee grounds to work properly. The ideal coffee grounds for cold brew are extra coarse, which can be difficult to find and even more difficult to prepare without the right tools.

That's why GAVO has created a manual coffee grinder that is perfect for producing the coarse grounds needed to make cold brews. With the GAVO manual coffee grinder , you can easily adjust the coarseness of your grounds by turning the knob on the side, allowing you to tailor your grind size to whatever your brewing method requires.

What is Iced Coffee?

Iced Coffee French Press
Cool down with the refreshing taste of French press iced coffee

This coffee is a delicious and refreshing way to get your caffeine fix. It’s made by brewing hot coffee, then pouring it over ice (or making it your own cold brew!), and adding cream, milk, and/or sweeteners.

It gives a smooth, creamy caffeinated drink that can be enjoyed all year round. Iced coffee has become increasingly popular in recent years, with some specialty coffee shops offering their own unique takes on the classic recipe. It's a great alternative to hot coffee during warm weather or when you just need an extra energy boost!

Cold coffee is a great way to enjoy your favorite type of coffee without the heat. Although cold-brew coffee has become increasingly popular, making iced coffee at home is still a great option. To make iced coffee, simply brew hot coffee, then let it cool down before pouring it over ice and adding cream or sugar as desired.

Iced coffee can be made with any type of coffee grounds and can be served plain or with added flavors like vanilla or caramel for a sweeter twist. It's ideal for summer days when you want something cold and refreshing but still packed with caffeine.

What are the Similarities

cold brew versus iced coffee
gavo's difference between cold brew and iced coffee

Before we dive into the differences between the two drinks, let's look at what they have in common.

  • Both iced coffee and cold brew use coffee grounds.

  • Both are served chilled over ice.

  • Both can be enjoyed with various flavorings, such as cream, sugar, vanilla, or caramel.

  • They both provide a refreshing pick-me-up on warm days.

  • Both require longer p

reparation times since they need to be brewed or steeped for an extended period of time.

  • Cold brew typically has a stronger taste than iced coffee due to the longer steeping brewing process.

  • The texture of cold brew tends to be thicker and creamier than that of iced coffee.

What are the Differences Between the Two?

cold brew coffee
coffee being pored into a glass mug of ice

Now that we've seen what they have in common let's look at the differences between iced coffee and cold brew.


Iced coffee is typically brewed with hot water and then cooled down before being served over ice, while cold brew uses cold water to steep the coffee grounds. This difference in temperature impacts the resulting flavor of each beverage. Iced coffee retains a bit more of that classic roasted taste since it was brewed with traditional heat, whereas cold brew is less bitter and more mellow due to its steeping process.

In addition to the flavor, the temperature of each beverage can also affect its caffeine content.

Cold brew tends to have a higher caffeine concentration than iced coffee because it's been steeped in cold water for a relatively extended time, allowing all of that delicious caffeine to really soak into the grounds.

Preparation Time

The preparation times for iced coffee and cold brew are quite different, which can be a major factor when deciding which one you want to make or order at a cafe. Iced coffee only takes about 5 minutes from start to finish; all you need is ground beans, hot water, and some patience waiting for your freshly-brewed java to cool off.

On the other hand, cold brew requires overnight steeping (typically 12 hours) so there’s some extra planning involved if you want this chilly caffeinated beverage first thing in the morning.


When it comes to the strength of their flavor, cold brew and ice coffee can vary quite a bit. Iced coffee is typically brewed with about double the amount of grounds than hot coffee, which helps ensure that all the flavor will still be present when the drink is cooled over ice.

On the other hand, cold brew's extended steeping time allows for more caffeine and flavors to be pulled from the grounds, resulting in a bolder, richer coffee taste. This makes cold brew an ideal choice for those who prefer a stronger cup of joe!

iced coffee


Another difference between iced coffee and cold brew comes down to texture. Due to its longer steeping process, cold brew tends to have a much thicker consistency than iced coffee; it may even resemble syrup or honey in its richness.

On the other hand, iced coffee has a smoother feel in your mouth that’s often described as “light” or “refreshing.” This makes it perfect for those who don’t like overly heavy drinks or those seeking a little pick-me-up in the middle of their day!


Cold brew coffee is typically much lower in acidity than traditionally brewed drinks, thanks to its extended steeping process and low-temperature brewing method.

This makes it a much smoother option for those who are sensitive to acidic foods or drinks, as well as anyone wanting to add a few health benefits to their morning cup.

cold brew coffee bottled by espresso lab


Finally, when it comes to cost, cold brew and iced coffee can also vary significantly. Iced coffee is usually more expensive since it needs to be brewed with hotter water and more grounds, while cold brew may actually save you some money due to its longer steeping time.

Additionally, many cafes now offer cold-brew concentrates that make it easy (and inexpensive) to make your own batches at home!

Which One Should I Go For?

iced coffee
A refreshing beverage

When it comes to deciding between cold brew and iced coffee, here are a few things to consider:

  • Do you prefer a bolder, richer flavor? If so, cold brew is probably right for you.

  • Are you looking for a more refreshing beverage? Iced coffee can be a great choice!

  • Do you want to save some money? Cold brew may be the way to go.

  • Are you sensitive to acidic foods or drinks? Cold brew is a great low-acid option.

  • Can you wait 12 hours for your drink to be ready? If so, brewing coffee is the way to go!

No matter which one you choose, both iced coffee and cold brew can provide a delicious and refreshing caffeinated beverage that’s sure to keep you going throughout the day.


Is cold brew coffee stronger than iced coffee?

No, regular cold brew coffee generally has a milder flavor and contains lower levels of caffeine than iced coffee. However, it does have a higher caffeine concentration than iced coffee because it's been steeped in cold water for a comparatively longer period, allowing all of that delicious caffeine to really soak into the grounds.

Is cold brew healthier than iced coffee?

Yes, as it is low in acidity and does not contain any added sugars or creamers, which are often found in iced coffees. Moreover, nitro cold brew coffee has been shown to contain higher levels of antioxidants than traditional iced coffees.

Which tastes better, cold brew or iced coffee?

This is largely subjective as some people prefer the strong kick provided by an intense cup of black iced coffee while others enjoy the smooth and rich notes of a slow-brewed cold brew. And some people even like to mix the two together to create a unique blend!

Which Coffee Beans and Coffee Ground is needed for Cold Brew?

For the best cold brew coffee, you should use coarsely ground coffee beans. To make the best cup of coffee, grind extra coarse, medium or dark roast beans with our GAVO Manual Coffee Grinder on setting 6 for optimal consistency.

extra coarse coffee grounds
Extra Coarse Coffee Grounds


Ultimately, the choice between iced coffee and cold brew comes down to personal preference. Think about what kind of flavor, texture, strength, and cost you’re looking for in your morning cup – then go from there! With so many options available today, it’s easy to find a delicious caffeinated beverage that suits your needs.

No matter which you choose, both cold brew and iced coffee are great options for those wanting to enjoy their morning cup with a bit of chill in the air. So go ahead and pick your favorite – just make sure it’s brewed with love! And remember – no matter what you choose, always enjoy your coffee responsibly.

We are delighted to present you with the ultimate package: a top-of-the-line stainless steel French press coffee maker accompanied by a set of two 12 oz double wall cups.

French Press Cold Brew

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