Difference Between Iced Coffee and Cold Brew
By Andrew Parker - January 1, 2022

You have probably heard of iced coffee and cold brew, but unless you are a true coffee aficionado, you might not know what these are. Iced coffee, cold brew, cappuccinos, lattes and macchiatos are just some of the choices offered by coffee shops nowadays – we get it if you just can’t keep up. Today, we’ll be explaining the difference between iced coffee and cold brew.

Table Summary

Iced CoffeeCold Brew
Regular coffee served coldMade without heat
Iced black coffee on white wooden table top and grey background

Getty Images / Moment / twomeows


Iced coffee is exactly what it sounds like: coffee served over ice. It is just regular coffee, brewed using heat, that’s been cooled down and poured into a glass full of ice. This method is quick but usually dilutes the coffee due to the ice cubes. To prevent this, some coffee shops will double the amount of ground coffee used in the machine, while others make ice cubes out of coffee.

Cold brew doesn’t use heat in its brewing process. It is made by steeping ground coffee in cold water for hours in order to remove the acidity of drip coffee. This process takes at least 12 hours but might take a lot more time since the longer the coffee sits, the stronger it tastes. It is usually a lot less acidic and bitter than regular coffee.

Iced Coffee VS Cold Brew

While both are cold caffeinated drinks, iced coffee and cold brew are completely different beverages. While iced coffee is basically just regular coffee served over ice, cold brew is made with cold water from the start. Their flavor is also different: iced coffee is as bitter as regular coffee (because it is regular coffee), while cold brew is less acidic than that.