Cold brew coffee and cold drip coffee—they sound so similar, right? The thing is, they aren’t the same at all. Although both are delicious caffeinated drinks that coffee lovers enjoy, the brewing method, flavor, and equipment to create these drinks are very different. We’ll answer all your questions about what cold brew coffee is and how it’s different from cold drip coffee right here.
If you have questions about the difference between cold brew coffee and iced coffee, we’ve already answered that on our blog too.
Let’s get started!
Cold brew coffee is quite a long process if you’re making it from scratch: it can take about 12 to 24 hours for the beans to soak. To make cold brew coffee, coarsely ground coffee beans are placed in room-temperature or cold water and left to steep for a long period of time (that’s where the 12 to 24 hours comes in). Soaking the beans for this long extracts the best flavors from the coffee bean and leaves you with a cold brew concentrate. To make your beverage, you just have to add cold water, hot water, milk, cream, or any other liquid you want to dilute the coffee concentrate. You can add sugar if you want too, but cold brew coffee is already naturally sweeter.
Cold drip coffee’s technique is quite different. Unlike steeping the beans and water together, like cold brew coffee, drip coffee involves separating the cold water from the coffee grounds. With an apparatus (also called a drip tower), iced water slowly drips over the ground coffee beans. This allows the beans to absorb the water. The water-absorbed beans then slowly drip again from the beans into a final part of the apparatus at the bottom. Unlike the 12-24 hours it takes for cold brew coffee, cold drip coffee usually takes 4 to 12 hours. Cold drip coffee is enjoyed like an espresso poured over ice.
If you’re interested in cold brew coffee but don’t want to make it yourself, check out Cold Brew Club’s monthly subscription program. Our cold brew arrives cold, and all you have to do is add water to enjoy it.
Cold brew coffee is known for bringing out distinct flavor profiles from different coffee beans. This is because of the long steeping process where the beans have time to extract their full flavor potential in the coffee concentrate. The unique flavors are part of the reason cold brew coffee can be so expensive in the cafe and so well-loved by coffee gurus. Cold brew coffee also has a less acidic, much more rounded taste, meaning it’s typically less bitter and naturally sweeter than hot brewed coffee. It’s known to be light, floral, and less intense. Trust us, it tastes as wonderful as it sounds!
Cold drip coffee makes an intense coffee concentrate compared to cold brew, but it’s still sweeter than coffee made with hot water. Cold drip coffee is known to have a fuller and richer taste while still being slightly sweet. Also less acidic than hot brew coffee, cold drip coffee’s flavor is so strong that it will be noticeable even if you add thicker additives like milk or cream.
Your brewing method depends on your desired taste. If you need a strong and sweet pick-me-up, consider cold drip coffee. If you’re looking for something lighter and well-rounded, cold brew coffee is for you.
Ready to try cold brew coffee?
As the cold brew coffee pros, we’ll give you the best start to cold brew coffee. This means you need no equipment or experience making cold brew. Our monthly subscription program delivers a pouch of cold brew concentrate directly to your door. The concentrate lasts up to 90 days in the refrigerator and makes 30 large cups of cold brew coffee. If you’re interested, you can check out our story here.