Summer’s coming to a close, and you’ve got one last burning question before picking up the Pumpkin Spice Lattes of Fall. Why is there a difference between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee?
Well, first, the similarities:
- Both are served cold
- Both are caffeinated
- Both are now available everywhere decent coffee is sold
But they don’t taste the same, and each has extraordinarily different preparations – it really all comes down to temperature. Iced Coffee is brewed hot, and quickly cooled, while Cold Brew is never heated.
Heat, as you may recall from your high school chemistry classes, is a form of energy like light and sound. When it comes to brewing coffee, the heat provided by the hot water serves as an energy source to power the chemical extractions of all of those delicious flavors.
Did you know that coffee has over 800 different aromas and flavors?! They’re impossible for us mere humans to identify individually, but collectively they represent the cupping notes you often hear about: fruits, nuts, burnt toast, chocolate, etc.
These flavors are extracted quickly during brewing, in just a few minutes when heat is available, so how does Cold Brew work?
Cold Brew makes up for what it lacks in heat, with time. You may have already seen some Cold Brew recipes, but you’re pretty much guaranteed to consume a home-brewed Cold Brew on a different day than you make it. Recipes call for anywhere between 8-24 hours in brewing periods, but it’s so worth the wait!
Without the quick extractions of hot brews, Cold Brews are able to gradually remove different aromatic flavors, and in different quantities. The end result is still a very complicated chemical mélange, but one with less acidity, less bitterness, and a softer impact on the pallet. It’s more like a tea.
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