Coffee 101: Difference Between Hot and Cold Brewed Coffee

By October 22, 2016

Same coffee, different tastes, if you try brewing a single coffee with both hot and cold brew methods.

Why does temperature make such a difference? And why it’s happening?

Now, let’s dig in.


Coffee is actually made up of a lot of different compounds, including sugars and oils and aromatic compounds. And these compounds naturally oxidize or break down, but adding heat would speed up that process. 

So the first thing you notice when you brew hot coffee, is all this kind of steam that’s coming out. If you lean in, you get a really good idea of that aroma of the coffee. This is because that heat is increasing the rate that  those aromatic compounds are breaking down (so what’s the ideal coffee brew temperature). And this is also going to give hot brewed coffee a really good balance between the acid and the sugars.

Cold brew is using twice the amount of the coffee and brewing it in the fridge or cold temperatures. So this will actually slow down that process of oxidation or breaking down those compounds. Surely it gives a different flavor. 

Related: Does cold brew coffee has more caffeine than hot brew?

Ecooe French Press Coffee Maker

So what’s the different taste between Hot Brewed Coffee and Cold Brewed Coffee?

— Hot Brewed Coffee: nice balance of acidity and sweetness, really good rounded feel and kind of dry on the finish.

— Cold Brew Coffee: smells so much sweeter, and a little bit less acidity and a lot of sweetness. Kind of a smooth texture while compared with the hot. 

Difference Between Hot and Cold Brew Coffee

Why it’s happening?

As the rate of oxidation in cold brew coffee is much slower, and sugars take longer, so when you pick up your cup of cold brew coffee, you’ll have a lot more residual sugar in ratio to the acid, which results in sugar as the forefront of the flavor. 

Whereas the hot cup of coffee is going to have both the balance of that sugar and acidity, same process but different oxidation rate. So there’s another taste at last. 

Oxidation Difference Between Hot and Cold Brew Coffee

Related: Top 7 Best Ways to Make Coffee at Home

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Mistakes to Avoid When Making the Best Cold Brew Coffee


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