Cold Brew vs Cold Drip Coffee: A Detailed Comparison

By Evelina •  Updated: 10/23/22 •  11 min read

Do you love the smooth, rich taste of cold brew coffee? Wondering what the difference is between cold drip and cold brew?

Join us as we explore the differences between cold brew and cold drip coffee, and discover which one gives you the best results.

Whether you’re a novice or an expert coffee brewer, this post has something for everyone! So grab a cup of your favorite roast and let’s get started.

What is Cold Brew Coffee?

cold brew or cold drip

Cold brew coffee is a unique style of cold coffee that differs from regular iced coffee in a few key ways.

Unlike iced coffee, cold brew is made by cold-steeping coarsely ground coffee in cold water for several hours, usually overnight.

Because cold water doesn’t extract as much caffeine and flavor compounds as hot water does, cold brew tends to have a much smoother and less bitter flavor compared to traditional iced coffee.

Additionally, cold brew often has a higher coffee to water ratio than traditional iced coffee, meaning it tastes substantially stronger and more concentrated.

Overall, cold brew is an increasingly popular style of cold coffee that offers an alternative to traditionally brewed hot coffee for those looking for something refreshing and different.

How Does Cold Brew Work?

The science behind cold brew is actually pretty simple.

Coffee is made up of hundreds of different chemical compounds, including caffeine, oils, and flavor molecules.

When you grind coffee beans and add hot water, these molecules are extracted from the bean and dissolved into the water, resulting in the characteristic flavor and caffeine content of coffee.

However, when you grind coffee and add cold water, the extraction process happens much more slowly.

As a result, cold brew coffee has a completely different flavor profile than regular coffee, as well as a higher caffeine content.

Related Read: Cold Brew Tips And Tricks

How to Make Cold Brew

Steeping ground coffee in cold water is only the short answer to how cold brew is made.

To get started, you’ll need a few key ingredients:

Here is a detailed recipe to help you get started:

1. Start by adding your medium-coarse ground coffee to your vessel or container.

2. Slowly add the water to the coffee grounds, making sure all of the grounds are saturated.

3. Allow the mixture to sit for 12-24 hours, depending on how strong you want your coffee to be.

4. After the steeping process is complete, strain the coffee using a coffee filter.

5. Serve over ice and enjoy!

Now that you know how to make cold brew, let’s take a closer look at cold drip coffee, shall we?

Read Also: Can You Make Cold Brew With Fine Ground Coffee?

What is Cold Drip Coffee?

drip coffee before making it cold drip

Cold drip coffee is a unique and exciting way to enjoy your cup of joe. Unlike regular iced coffee, which is made by simply cooling down a cup of hot coffee, cold drip coffee is made by dripping very slowly through a special tower (“drip tower“).

As the water drips down through the tower, it gently extracts the delicious flavors and aromas from the coffee bean, resulting in a cup of coffee that is far more flavorful and aromatic than regular iced coffee.

How to Make Cold Drip Coffee

Just like cold brew, let’s see how you can actually make cold drip coffee.

Here is what you’ll need:

TIP: If you don’t have a drip tower, you can use a drip coffee machine. We will touch on this later.

Here’s how to make cold drip coffee:

1. Fill the reservoir of your drip tower with water.

2. Add coffee to the filter basket.

3. Place the drip tower over a or cup.

4. Slowly pour water over the coffee grounds.

5. Allow the coffee to drip through, filling your cup.

6. Enjoy!

Yes, this brew method is that simple! You can experiment with different ratios of coffee to water, as well as different drip rates, to find your perfect cup of cold drip.

Differences Between Cold Brew and Cold Drip Coffee

Differences Cold BrewCold Drip
FlavorLess AcidicMore Concentrated
Caffeine Content (Per Cup)Less Caffeine than Cold DripMore Caffeine than Cold Brew
ConvenienceLess ConvenientMore Convenient
The Equipment You NeedCoffee Beans, Water, and a Container of Some Kind (with the filter)Coffee Beans, Water, Drip Tower
PriceCheaperMore Expensive (You Will Need Filters)

Time for the good stuff! Let’s compare cold brew and cold drip coffee, so you can see which brewing method is right for you.

The Flavor Difference

Flavor is very important in coffee. In fact, most people drink their second or third coffee of the day because they enjoy the taste, not necessarily because they need the caffeine.

So, what’s the difference in flavor between cold brew and cold drip coffee?

The biggest difference is in the acidity levels. Cold brew coffee is less acidic than cold drip coffee, due to the fact that it is brewed for a longer period of time.

Even if you use the same coffee beans for both methods, you will still notice a difference in acidity.

The other major difference in flavor is that cold drip coffee is more concentrated, due to the slow drip method. This results in a more intense flavor that some coffee drinkers prefer.

The Caffeine Content Per Cup

Although the caffeine content will vary depending on the type of coffee beans you use, in general, cold brew coffee has less caffeine per cup than cold drip coffee.

This is because the caffeine is extracted more slowly from the beans when they are brewed for a longer period of time, as is the case with cold brew.

Cold drip has less caffeine than a hot brewed cup, because again, the extraction process is more gentle and slow, but it still is far away from the cold brew in terms of caffeine content.


When it comes to convenience, the truth is that none of these brewing methods is particularly convenient.

Both cold brew and cold drip coffee take time to make, and neither one of them is something you can whip up in a couple of minutes.

However, if we had to choose one method that is more convenient than the other, it would be cold brew.

This is because you can make a large batch of cold brew coffee and store it in the fridge, so you have it on hand whenever you want it.

With cold drip coffee, on the other hand, you have to make each cup individually, which can be time-consuming.

So, if you want a cup of coffe in a hurry, just go with a regular hot brew.

The Equipment You Need

Another important difference between cold brew and cold drip coffee is the equipment you need to make each one.

To make cold brew coffee, you really only need three things: coffee beans, water, and a container of some kind (with the filter). As long as it is airtight, any container will do.

To make cold drip coffee, on the other hand, you don’t necesserily need more equipment, but you will need different equipment.

The drip tower is the most important piece of equipment you need, which is why we recommend getting one if you plan on making cold drip coffee on a regular basis.

Differences in Price

Finally, let’s talk about price. When it comes to cold brew coffee, the biggest expense is the coffee beans. After that, you really don’t need to spend much money on anything else.

With cold drip coffee, on the other hand, you will need to spend some money on the drip tower (if you don’t already have one) and filters.

So, if you’re on a tight budget, cold brew coffee is the way to go.

Can You Make Cold Brew With A Drip Coffee Machine?

cold brew vs cold drip coffee

Yes, yes you can and I’m going to show you how below! Drip coffee cold brew is not as hard as it sounds, in fact it’s pretty darn easy.

Although you can use any drip coffee machine to make cold brew, we recommend using the Technivorm Moccamaster KBT because it brews at the perfect temperature and has a metal carafe.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Now let’s get brewing!

1. Grind your coffee beans to a medium – coarse grind. You’ll want to use about double the amount of coffee beans that you would use for a regular pot of drip coffee.

2. Place the coffee grounds in your drip coffee machine’s filter basket.

3. Fill the water reservoir with cold water. As I previously said, filter water is best but any cold water will do.

4. Turn on your drip coffee machine and let it brew!

5. Once the brewing cycle is complete, turn off your drip coffee machine and remove the filter basket containing the coffee grounds.

6. Pour the cold brew concentrate into a large pitcher or jar and store in the fridge.

And that’s it! You’ve now made cold brew coffee using your drip coffee machine.

To serve, simply mix the cold brew concentrate with milk to taste. I like to use a 1:1 ratio but you can adjust to your liking. You can also add a sweetener if you like. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

cold brew vs cold drip best method

Is Cold Brew Stronger Than Cold Drip?

In terms of caffeine content, no, cold brew is not stronger than cold drip. However, many people find that cold brew coffee has a richer flavor and is less bitter than cold drip coffee.

Can I Use Regular Coffee For Cold Brew or Cold Drip Coffee?

No, you should not use regular coffee for cold brew or cold drip coffee. Making cold brew and cold drip coffee requires a much higher quality grind than regular coffee.

Instead, if you are looking to make the best possible iced coffee, you should use an espresso roast. Not only will this deliver consistently delicious results every time, but it will also give your iced drink that bold flavor that everyone loves about espresso coffee.

So if you are craving a refreshing iced coffee this summer, stick to the professionals and use an espresso roast for all of your iced brewing needs. Trust me – you won’t be disappointed!

Will Drinking Old Cold Brew or Cold Drip Make You Sick?

If the cold brew or drip coffee is more than two days old, it is best to discard it. After this amount of time, the coffee will start to sour and can make you sick.

Possible side effects of drinking old cold brew or cold drip include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. So if you’re not feeling well after drinking your cold brew or cold drip, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it out.

Related Read: How Long Does Cold Brew Last?

How Can I Serve My Cold Brew or Cold Drip Coffee?

You can serve your cold brew or cold drip coffee any way you like! I personally like to mix mine with milk and a little bit of sugar. But you can also drink it black, or with ice.

If you want to get really creative, you can use your cold brew or cold drip coffee as a base for a host of different iced coffee drinks. For example, you can add some Baileys Irish Cream to your cold brew for an Irish twist on the classic iced coffee. Or, you can mix in some chocolate syrup and whipped cream to make an iced mocha!

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re making cold brew or cold drip, the important thing is to use good quality coffee beans and grind them fresh. This will ensure that you get the most flavorful coffee possible.

Also, don’t forget that coffee has become more popular than ever and there are many ways to make it. So experiment and find the brewing method that works best for you.

Happy Brewing!


Evelina’s passion for coffee could never been hidden. Having worked as a barista, she learned the true value of the coffee bean and its secrets. As she continued to evolve as a barista, so did her knowledge, techniques on making different coffee blends and most importantly how to operate every kind of gear when it comes to coffee. Having a degree in biomedicine and being a barista, allows her to provide our community with in-depth knowledge surrounding the topics of coffee.

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