Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee | What’s the Difference?

Adair Passey

Cold brew coffee has swept over the coffee scene, yet many are still finding themselves asking: what really is cold brew coffee? Often thought to be the same, cold brew and iced coffee are indeed different.

Although both are refreshing, caffeinated beverages, the difference lies in the preparation. When asked, a Starbucks barista explained that cold brew coffee is brewed ambient (at room temperature) for twenty hours, whereas iced coffee is simply a cooled, hot brew poured over ice. This lengthy style of brewing, similar to how tea is prepared, creates a smooth, rich flavor compared to the harsher, bitter flavor of traditional iced coffee.

So, there you have it; the lingering questions about cold brew coffee have officially been answered. The next time you’re pondering your favorite coffee shop’s menu, take your new-found knowledge and taste the difference for yourself. 

Photography by Demi DeHerrera (

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