Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee: Who Will Reign Supreme?

by Jahasia Cooper August 16, 2019 6 min read

Cold-brew and iced coffee have been a topic of debate within the coffee community. Cold-brew is seen as the pretentious hipster drink while iced coffee is the reliable go-to drink for your everyday, simple coffee drinker. Whatever your preference is, we’re digging into the details and differences between cold brew and iced coffee, in the end, who will reign supreme?

“...think of cold brew as traditional iced coffee’s unhurried fraternal twin.” — Bobby Finger

Glass of iced coffee.New York Times writer Bobby Finger wrote, “Cold brew can’t go a day without a long, luxurious bath, while iced coffee can barely swing a quick shower.” Cold Brew has become the preferred iced caffeinated beverage by many coffee drinkers on hot summer days. The heatless-brewed iced drink involves an overnight process that can take up to 24 hours to achieve a beverage that is low in acidity and bursting with flavor. Check out our detailed article on how to make a twist on the Arnold Palmer, a refreshing Sunset Cold Brew Lemonade.

Regular iced coffee is the lone star in the coffee community. It’s a traditional favorite relied on by pre-caffeinated coffee drinkers as they rush out the door on busy summer mornings, maybe it’s even undervalued because of the popularity of its “unhurried fraternal twin”, whatever it is iced coffee is made via a process that you’re probably most familiar with. The coffee is brewed hot, poured over ice and there you have a refreshing start to your day. It’s a much less time-consuming process and is often the go-to for traditional coffee drinkers. So why is cold brew stealing the limelight? Here are a couple of things that we’ve come across:

  • Higher Caffeine Content - Depending on the brand, cold brew can have twice as much caffeine compared to your traditional iced coffee. What lacks in acidity, makes up for the caffeine content in this iced beverage - you might want to think twice if you need that extra kick of caffeine before purchasing your next coffee.
  • It’s Easier to Make - Although making cold brew at home can be a long process and requires some preparation before you’re walking on sunshine out the house, many cold brew drinkers love the idea of not needing as much equipment to make cold brew. No machines required (unless you prefer to grind your own beans, of course). Just a pitcher, ice, coffee grounds, and cold water, then it’s the waiting game until you’ve got yourself days worth of iced coffee. Plus, compared to iced coffee which tastes best within the first day of brewing it, cold brew can last up to two weeks and still have its smooth and bitterless taste.
  • Flavor - At the end of the day, most coffee drinkers are looking for the burst of flavor that brightens our day. Cold brew is said to be a full-bodied coffee with natural and chocolatey flavor notes and satisfies the taste palettes of coffee drinkers who aren’t fans of the traditional bitterness of regular iced coffee.

Iced coffee is a beloved favorite in the coffee community. One of the greatest aspects that so many of us love in this flavorful drink is that it takes less than 15 minutes to make and still maintains all of the delicious flavors that you would normally enjoy with your hot coffee. You’re consuming your normal amount of caffeine, it’s more affordable than cold brew, and it has a balanced and aromatic taste.

As a coffee enthusiast myself, I have to go with the traditional iced coffee. Not only is it cheaper, but I love my hot coffee just right and a great cup of joe can really make my day. If I’m going to enjoy iced coffee, I appreciate being able to enjoy the same flavors that I would normally enjoy in my hot coffee.

The best way to make a flavorful and refreshing iced coffee is to have a machine that is made to brew delicious and refreshing iced coffee—a machine that has modern technology to whip up an iced coffee at the right temperature and with the right flavors. DeLonghi’s La Specialista, Dinamica, and Braun's Multiserve machines are perfect for you if a one-stop-shop machine for hot coffee, iced coffee, espresso, and milk-based drinks sound like a dream.

Delonghi DinamicaThe innovative True Brew technology on the Dinamica gives users the option to brew iced coffee in minutes at the touch of a button. A member of DeLonghi’s expert team described the Dinamica as the world’s first fully automatic machine to brew iced coffee at the touch of a button. Add a couple of ice cubes to your favorite mug, press a button and kick your feet back to watch the magic happen. The Dinamica lowers the temperature of the coffee while brewing with a longer pre-infusion. In other words, the watery iced coffee from your local coffee chain can’t compare to what you can make in seconds (without standing in line, I might add) in the comfort of your own home. If you’re looking for a hands-on machine, take a look at the La Specialista.

 La Specialista.DeLonghi’s expert team member, Jamie, raved about the La Specialista, calling it a machine for the “effortless expert”. Jamie proved to the Whole Latte Love team that no matter how you like your iced coffee, whether it’s with a single or double shot of espresso, the La Specialista gives the user the option to have a hands-on experience with a number of admirable features. With a 5-second wait time between brewing and steaming, a 15-second warm-up to brew a perfectly tamped espresso with the Smart Tamp Technology and the intuitive Sensor Grinding Technology, you’ll get the perfect cup of coffee every time. Pop a couple of ice cubes in your coffee and you’ll be on your way to sipping on café-quality iced coffee.

If you’re a simple barista and you prefer to stick to the basics of home-brewing coffee, let’s take a quick look at a drip coffeemaker that’s changing the game. Drip coffee has become more innovative in the past decade and Braun has proven just that with the Braun Multiserve. The Braun Multiserve wears the cape for all coffee lovers. It can brew a full or half-sized carafe of golden cup, SCA certified hot or iced coffee in 8 minutes. If brunch is on the calendar, rest assured that the Braun Multiserve will deliver the golden standard for home-brewed iced coffee for you and your guests after its debut in Fall 2019.

The Final Verdict

Maybe you’re reading through this and you’re thinking “Hm, maybe I’ll stick with iced coffee” or “I think I’ll give cold brew a shot!”. Whatever you decide to go with, here’s something to think about: one of the best things about being in the coffee and espresso community is trying out new flavors that you just might love (or hate). Whether or not you decide to make cold brew your new preferred iced beverage or leave it to the hipster coffee drinkers is entirely up to you and your flavor palette!

If reading this made you crave a refreshing caffeinated beverage, check out our articles on how to make a delicious Sunset Cold Brew Lemonade or try these 3 Iced Coffee Recipes That Will Change Your Coffee-Making Game This Summer!

Iced coffee.

Jahasia Cooper
Jahasia Cooper

Jahasia is the newest Copywriter at Whole Latte Love. She has previous experience working as a Barista and on the management team at a coffee shop and is happy to share everything she knows and loves about the world of coffee and espresso. While she's not writing awesome content for Whole Latte Love, you can find her sipping on her daily cup of joe and daydreaming about becoming an empowered female Gazorpian.

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