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Homemade Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee: What's the Difference?

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

Officially it's still summer so let's explore these two refreshing coffee options and understand better what makes each one special and delicious.

The way the coffee is prepared is the main difference. Cold brew is literally coffee brewed cold without using hot water or any form of heating, while iced coffee is brewed hot as any normal coffee and then cooled down with ice. Pretty obvious, right? But the results are also different.

Without applying heat, the cold brew outcome has lower acidity with a naturally sweeter tasting coffee, and an extra caffeine boost due to its high grounds-to-water ratio and longer brew time. On top of all, it won't ever have that watery diluted coffee taste, which can happen when pouring hot coffee over ice.

Excited to try? Let's do it!

First, the beans should be ground very coarsely, choose the coarsest setting on your grinder or if you're buying pre-ground coffee be clear when ordering. (If you bought cafetiere ground coffee from us, you can use it for cold brew).

Next, figure out the optimal coffee ratio for your taste. The usual recommendation is 3/4 cup coarsely ground coffee to every four cups of cold water. Making it yourself allows a few tries with slightly different amounts until you find your perfect match.

Choosing the best brewing device is an easy one for cold brew. It can be a fancy and specific set, your everyday French Press/cafetiere or any other container that can hold coffee and water. 

The brewing process is simple but take at least twelve hours so planning ahead is something you might consider. The good news is that cold brewed coffee keeps well for up to 2 weeks covered and chilled in the fridge, thus brewing a large amount at once is a good tip.


Here is a quick four step guide to try your first cold brew using a cafetiere:

  • Add the coffee grounds and slowly top up with water, stirring gently;

  • Put the filter on top and do not push the plunger just yet;

  • Let it sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours;

  • Once your waiting is over, press the plunger all the way down, pour your coffee into a glass bottle and store in the fridge until nice and cold.


If you don't have a French Press or you would like more cold brew gear options, these are the products we recommend*:

Hario Cold Brew Filter In Coffee Bottle

Includes a filter inside the bottle and a rubber lid which allows you to conveniently serve directly from the bottle

Capacity 750ml


Teabloom All-Beverage Travel Bottle - Gift Set

For cold-brew coffee, fruit-infused water and hot/cold tea infuser

Sustainable Natural Bamboo and Tempered Glass

Capacity 450ml


PluieSoleil Glass Stainless Steel Infuser for One

Can withstand instant temperature change from minus 20 ℃ to 130℃.

Ultra-clear glass teapot with stainless steel infuser

Capacity 350ml

*Please note, this page contains affiliate link(s), which means we get a small percentage of the sales revenue if you make a purchase. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and we only recommend products that we've used personally or extensively researched.

#homebrewing #productrecommendation #coldbrew

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