Iced Coffee vs. Cold Brew

If you’ve ever made iced coffee at home and ended up with completely mediocre results, you’re not alone. It all goes smoothly until you add the ice, right?

Iced coffee is finicky. Most people go wrong by not allowing the brewed coffee to cool before pouring over the ice, settling for a cuppa’ acidic, lukewarm bean juice. We recommend ditching the iced coffee altogether and going for the cold brew instead. The difference between the two, you ask?

It’s all about the brewing process. Iced coffee is made by brewing regular coffee the traditional way, letting it cool, and pouring it over ice. Cold-brew isn’t brewed with heat, so it doesn’t have to go through the cooling process that its counterpart does.

You make cold brew by steeping ground coffee in cold water for 12 hours. Once the grounds are filtered out, the coffee can be poured on ice or mixed with milk without being diluted. Because of cold brew’s extensive brewing period, it often contains about 20-50 percent more caffeine than a regular cup of coffee.

The use of heat in the brewing process is what makes the flavor difference between regular coffee and cold brew.  Coffee solubles (oils, acids, aromas) dissolve best at high heat, so the hot brewing process results in a strong, full-bodied cup of joe. Higher temperatures also increase coffee’s volatility, which is why nothing beats the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee. This high heat, however, also causes coffee solubles to oxidate and degrade rapidly, which results in a more sour and bitter flavor.

Oxidation and degradation also occur in the cold brewing process but at a much slower rate, limiting any acidity or bitterness. Thus, the flavor profile of cold brew is more mellow than that of iced coffee, taking on a sweeter and smoother tange.

Cold-brew is also great because you can store it in your fridge for up to a week. That’s like having a coffee shop in your fridge. All week.

Making it, however, can be tedious; the process usually requires a mesh filtering system which is especially messy because the beans are soggy and sticky from soaking overnight.

And we don’t want to put you through that.

Instead, you can buy our pre-made cold brew packs right here, then all you have to do is plop a pouch in the water at dinner, and you’ll have quality, smooth cold brew when you get up. Easy. As. That.

Even better, these cute little packets of fresh Hugo coffee are biodegradable, because we love the planet. As such, they’re ideal for backpacking or camping trips – you can brew your bag in your Polar Mug and have caffeine readily available when the sun comes up.