Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee: What’s the Difference?

Iced coffee and cold brew
Photo by tabitha turner on Unsplash

Cold-brew and iced coffee—what’s the difference? They’re both cold drinks and they look the same, but cold brew costs much more—what gives? Which one should you order at your coffee shop? Here’s everything you need to know about both drinks so you end up getting the one you want.

Brewing Method

The type of roast varies from cafe to cafe for both drinks, but the difference comes down to the brewing method. Iced coffee is usually made by brewing coffee with hot water and then it’s cooled down by pouring it over ice. Cold-brew takes longer to brew because it immerses the coffee grounds with room temperature water over long periods of time. In some cases, it’s up to 24 hours.


Cold-brew and iced coffee taste very different due to the brewing methods. Iced coffee is often more bitter and cold brew is sweeter with a thicker, creamier texture.


Even though they’re brewed differently, iced coffee and cold brew don’t differ in caffeine content. The caffeine depends on the amount of coffee used in the brew and varies based on the cafe’s recipe. But, many times, coffee shops will make the cold brew have more caffeine.