Cold Brew vs Hot Brew Coffee: 5 Main Differences Explained!

By Evelina •  Updated: 08/09/22 •  12 min read

Quick Summary:

DifferencesCold BrewHot Brew
Grind SizeMedium-CoarseMedium
TasteLess Acidic And Less BitterMore Acidic And Bitter
Water Temperature50-60°F195-205 degrees Fahrenheit
Price$40-50$15-$20 - $100 or more
Cleaning For Every Brewer UsedSuper EasyDepends on The Brewer/ Machine

Coffee is one of the most common drinks in the world. It’s also one of the most popular drinks for people who work from home or need a quick pick-me-up.

But which kind of coffee should you be drinking? There are two major types: hot brewed and cold brewed coffee.

But when it comes to coffee, is there a difference between hot brewed and cold brewed? And if so, does it matter?

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the differences between hot brewed and cold brewed coffee. We will talk about:

So, let’s get started!

What is Cold Brew Coffee?

the cold brew coffee maker

So, what exactly is cold brew coffee? Cold brew coffee is made by steeping ground coffee beans in cold water for 12 hours or more.

The resulting coffee is then strained to remove the grounds and any sediment. The final product is a concentrate that can be diluted with water or milk.

Cold brew coffee has a few key benefits that make it different from hot brewed coffee. First, it’s less acidic, thanks to the lower brewing temperature. This can be a godsend for people who are sensitive to stomach acidity.

Second, cold brew coffee has a smoother, less bitter flavor. This is because the brewing process extracts different compounds from the beans than hot brewing does.

Third, cold brew coffee is more potent. Since the grounds are steeped for longer, more caffeine is extracted from the beans. This means that cold brew coffee has a higher caffeine content than hot coffee.

All of these factors make cold brew coffee a great choice for people who want a less acidic, less bitter cup of coffee with higher caffeine content.

Related Read: Cold Brew Coffee Facts

Cold Brew Coffee Grind Size.

Cold Brew Coffee Grind Size

Making coffee with a cold brew requires a grind size that is a bit coarser than other brewing methods.

A fine grind will result in the coffee dripping through the filter more quickly, whereas a coarse grind makes for less caffeine and will take longer to brew.

So, what is the perfect grind size for cold brew coffee?

The ideal grind size for cold brew coffee is somewhere between medium and coarse. This will allow for a slower extraction and more caffeine in the final cup!

Cold Brew Coffee Taste.

In terms of taste, as I previously mentioned, cold brew coffee is less acidic and less bitter than hot brewed coffee.

The smooth, chocolatey taste of cold brew coffee is due to the lower brewing temperature and longer brewing time. These factors allow for a different extraction of compounds from the beans, resulting in a coffee that tastes less like hot coffee and more like iced coffee.

Important: Taste is different for every person. You might find that you like hot coffee better than cold brew or vice versa. So, don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the brewing method and grind size that suits your taste buds best. You can read our article on how to make cold brew coffee taste sweeter if you like!

Cold Brew Coffee Water Temperature.

The water temperature for cold brew will depend on your refrigerator.

The best water temperature for cold brew is between 50-60°F. This is because the cold water helps with the slower extraction process.

Cold Brew Coffee Maker Price.

You can buy a cold brew coffee maker at around $40-50. This brewing method is very simple and doesn’t require much equipment, so the only expensive item is the coffee beans.

If you want to save some money, you can also make cold brew coffee at home without a special maker. All you need is a jar, a coffee filter, and ground coffee beans.

Cleaning The Cold Brew Coffee Maker.

Cleaning the cold brew is very simple. All you need to do is rinse the filter with warm water and let it air dry.

You can also clean the carafe or pitcher with warm, soapy water. Just make sure to rinse it well so that there is no soap residue left behind.

Using lemon juice or vinegar is not necessary but you can do it if you want. The process is as easy as it sounds: add lemon juice or vinegar and some water to the carafe, let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse it clean.

Why Choose Cold Brew Coffee?

Overall, as you can see there is nothing special about cold brew coffee besides the brewing process. The beans you are going to use don’t really matter that much but it’s best that you use high-quality coffee beans.

The process is simple, the taste is great, it’s less acidic, and it has higher caffeine content.

So, if you are looking for a delicious cup of coffee that is easy to make, then cold brew coffee is the way to go!

Read Also: Cold Brew vs Cold Drip Coffee

What is Hot Brewed Coffee?

Hot Brewed Coffee

When you think of hot brewed coffee, you probably think of the standard cup of coffee that you make at home. But what exactly is hot brewed coffee? At its most basic, hot brewed coffee is simply coffee that is brewed with hot water.

This can be done in a number of ways, but the most common method is to use a stovetop coffee maker. To make hot brewed coffee, you’ll need to start by measuring out the amount of coffee you want to use.

Once you have the desired amount of coffee, add it to your coffee maker, and then add hot water. The amount of water you’ll need will depend on the amount of coffee you’re using, so be sure to follow the instructions on your coffee maker.

Finally, once the water has been added, put your coffee maker on the stove and let it come to a boil. Once it reaches a boiling point, remove it from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes so that the coffee can brew.

Once the brewing process is complete, pour yourself a cup of hot brewed coffee and enjoy! As you can see it’s super simple to make hot brewed coffee at home, and it only requires a few ingredients.

You can make hot coffee with other brewing methods (like drip coffee) but this is the most common method.

Hot Brewed Coffee Grind Size.

The grind size needed for hot brew is different from method to method, but most people prefer a medium grind when making hot coffee.

Too fine of a grind may result in the coffee dripping through your filter quickly; a coarse grind would be considered a bit too thick and won’t brew properly.

It depends on your personal preference and style, but for most people, a medium grind is best. If you want to make espresso, you’ll need a much finer grind, but for regular hot coffee, a medium grind should work just fine.

Also, keep in mind that the grind size will affect the brewing time. A finer grind means that the coffee will brew more quickly, while a coarser grind will take a bit longer to brew.

Hot Brewed Coffee Taste.

Hot coffee has more acidity and bitterness than cold brew because hot water extracts these flavors from the beans more readily than cold water.

However, hot brewing also brings out the coffee’s aromatics and sweetness, which can result in a well-rounded cup of coffee.

The taste of hot brew coffee will also depend on how long it is brewed. If brewed for a shorter time, the coffee will be more acidic and have a brighter flavor. If brewed for a longer time, the coffee will be more mellow and have a deeper flavor.

Hot Brewed Coffee Water Temperature.

When making hot brewed coffee you want to use water that’s between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit (90 – 95C). This is very close to boiling temperature and will help ensure that all the flavors and aromas are extracted.

Brewing Hot Coffee Price Range.

The cheapest way to make hot coffee is to go with the french press method. The typical french press costs around $15-$20 and is a great tool for anyone who likes their coffee strong.

You can also go with a higher price maker such as a drip machine or an espresso maker. These will cost you around $100, but it’s well worth the price if you love coffee as much as I do and need a cup in the morning to jump-start your day.

Cleaning The Hot Brewed Coffee Maker.

This clearly depends on the coffee maker you buy. A manual coffee maker is easier to clean than an espresso machine.

Learn how to clean a manual coffee maker or an espresso machine.

Why Choose to Drink Hot Coffee?

There are a few reasons why hot coffee is the better choice over cold coffee brew. First, coffee brews much faster when it is hot, so you can get your fix in a hurry without having to wait for hours.

Second, hot coffee retains more of the coffee’s flavor and aroma, so you can enjoy a richer cup of coffee. Finally, hot coffee is less likely to be contaminated with bacteria than cold coffee, so you can rest assured that your cup of joe is safe to drink.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cold Brew vs Hot Brew Coffee - FAQs

Why is cold brew more expensive?

One of the reasons that cold brew coffee is more expensive is because it requires three times the coffee the hot brew does.

That is because cold water takes a long time to extract the flavor from the ground coffee and if you haven’t used much coffee then it will end up tasting very weak.

So, all in all, cold brew needs more coffee and more time!

Is cold brew better than hot brew?

No brewing method is better than the other, it simply depends on your preferences. If you like a strong and bold cup of coffee, then hot brew is probably your method.

If you prefer a smoother and less acidic cup of coffee, then cold brew is probably more your style. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference!

Which is healthier cold brew or hot coffee?

If you skip the sugar, both cold brew and hot coffee are healthy choices. However, cold brew does have a slight edge because the antioxidants are more potent in cold brew coffee.

In addition, cold brew coffee has a lower acidity level than hot brew, so it is easier on your stomach.

Is cold brew coffee stronger than hot coffee?

It depends on what you mean by stronger. There are two ways strong coffee can be defined:

Caffeine Content and Flavor

If you’re talking about flavor, then hot coffee is definitely more intense!

That’s because it comes in contact with hot water and has the ability to extract all the aroma and flavor very quickly, in contrast to cold coffee which needs a long time for extraction and has a milder flavor.

Regarding caffeine, well that just depends on how much coffee you are using for your brew. Cold coffee usually needs three times the amount of coffee that hot coffee needs, so yes it has more caffeine, and thus, it’s stronger.

Does cold brew or hot brew have more caffeine?

Caffeine content simply depends on the amount of coffee used for the brew. Cold brew usually uses three times the amount of coffee, so yes it will have more caffeine.

You can make hot coffee with less coffee and still get a strong cup of caffeine, so it all comes down to how you like your brew!

Final Thoughts

The differences between cold brew and hot brew coffee are really quite simple. The main difference is the brewing process, which makes these two coffee drinks taste very different.

Hot brew coffee is brewed with hot water, which extracts more compounds from the coffee beans and results in a more acidic, bitter cup of coffee. Cold brew coffee is brewed with cold water, which results in a less acidic, more smooth, and chocolatey cup of coffee.

No matter which brewing method you prefer, it’s important to use high-quality coffee grounds for the best flavor. And, always remember to experiment until you find the grind size and brewing method that suits your taste buds best!

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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