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Two women in kitchen pouring and enjoying cold brew coffee


Cold Brew Versus Iced Coffee

2 Minutes
Cold brewed coffee is so hot right now.

It only takes one sip to understand the appeal of cold brew: delicious, refreshing and super smooth coffee in an easily drinkable form? Yes please!

So, what is cold brew? What makes cold brew different from iced coffee? And most importantly, what makes cold brew so naturally smooth, sweet and delicious? Well, it’s all in the brew.
Cold Brew v sIced Coffee graphics
Brewing Method

Not only is cold brew easy to make, but it can also be made in many different ways.

Popular brewing vessels include coffee presses, toddies, Mason jars, and more. On top of how easy it is to make, cold brew is super customizable and can change depending on what kind of roast or coffee flavor you use.


Cold brew starts with coarse ground coffee that’s cold-steeped in cool filtered water, usually anywhere from 12–24 hours. It’s time rather than heat that extracts the flavor, caffeine and sugars from the coffee beans. This creates lower acidity and the naturally smooth, sweet taste it’s known for.


In contrast, iced coffee usually involves a specific ration of coffee to water ratio since you are diluting the coffee with ice. The gold standard for Starbucks® Iced Coffee is double strength–4 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 fluid ounces–poured over ice. Iced coffee can be conveniently made with any brewing method from a drip coffee maker to flash brewing.

Tasting Notes

Thanks to the brewing process and thoughtfully chosen beans, cold brew boasts a natural sweetness with a hint of chocolaty flavor, versus iced coffee’s caramel and cola notes.

Coffee Consistency

Cold brew is naturally full-bodied, smooth and aromatic, and frequently served black over ice (although a splash of cream and your favorite syrups are delicious, too!). Iced coffee is lighter, with a medium body but tends to be a little brighter depending on what beans you use. Iced coffee also tastes great with cream, sugar or syrup as well.

Try These Recipes

One of the best parts about cold brew is how customizable it is: You can enjoy it black, with a splash of cream, or with a caramelly twist.

And the deliciousness doesn’t stop there. Whether you want to try a Cold Brew Old Fashioned or Orange Tonic, we have tons of recipes to help keep your favorite cold coffee ever-changing.


If you’re looking to dive into the world of iced coffee, we have all sorts of delicious recipes to try like our Iced Cinnamon Coffee or our Iced Latte.


How to Brew Cold Brew with a Coffee Press
HERO Cold Brew Coffee Press


How to Make Cold Brew Coffee with a Mason Jar
HERO Cold Brew Mason Jar


How to Make Iced Pour-Over Coffee
Iced Pour Over header