Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee

Around here, two drinks keep us going every summer: iced coffee and cold brew. 

Even if it’s pouring with rain, there is nothing like an ice cold coffee to help pretend the sun is out. But have you ever wondered whether cold brew and iced coffee are the same thing? Is cold brew just a hipster iced coffee with less syrups or milk?

We can tell you that cold brew is not the same as iced coffee. How they are made is what sets them apart and accounts for their different flavours - and we've even launched a new house bean specially selected for the way it tastes when brewed cold - our Betty B. Goode Cold Brew. We’ve broken down the method for each drink and chucked in a couple of recipes so you can brew them at home. 

Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee - what’s the difference?

200 Degrees baristas make great cold brew and iced coffees in our shops, and you can make them the same way at home. Just pay attention to the following factors...

Brewing processes 

The brew temperature is the first big difference. To make iced coffee you first brew the coffee with
hot water. To make cold brew coffee, the water temperature must be cold

Brew time is another key difference. While cold brew prep takes hours, making iced coffee takes a matter of minutes. This is because the process for cold brewing coffee involves steeping the coffee in water (room temperature water is ideal) anywhere between 12-24 hours before straining the concentrate and storing it in the fridge until it’s ready to be served.  

Iced coffee, on the other hand, is hot espresso poured over cold milk and/or water.

Grind size

This is where size really matters.

To make the best cold brew, you want a coarse ground coffee (just like what you’d use in cafetiere). You’ll find most coffee shops (like ours) using coarsely ground coffee for their cold brews. 

However, the grind size for iced coffee depends entirely on your brewing device: fine grind for espresso machines, medium for V60/aeropress or other filter methods etc.  

Why is coarse grind better for cold brew? There is no hard rule saying you can’t use finely ground coffee for cold brew. It’s just that using a coarse grind is better for the filtration process. Using fine ground for cold brew means decreasing the brew time and producing a stronger, more intense coffee taste. 


A question we got from one of our customers recently was, “is cold brew stronger than iced coffee?” Yes. Cold brew does have more caffeine than iced coffee, plus iced coffee also tends to taste a bit more watered-down than cold brew. 

Something else you’ll notice (if you don't add syrups or sugar to your iced drinks) is that cold brew tastes sweeter than iced coffee. We won’t get too into the science, but cold brewing coffee doesn’t extract the chemicals that lead to high acidity or bitterness.

Also don’t forget that the flavour and sweetness will also be affected by the type of coffee itself.


Iced coffees are served as the iced version of all your usual black or milk-based hot drinks - so you’ll get your iced americanos, iced lattes, iced mochas, iced flat whites etc.

There is nothing stopping you from adding milk to cold brew, but it’s rarely served with milk. Order cold brew at a coffee shop and expect it to arrive black, served over ice, and ice only. 


In general, you should be able to refrigerate cold brew for up to 14 days, but if it starts tasting weird, give it to the plants. 

When it comes to iced coffee - drink it the day you make it, don't store it, or it may turn sour. 

How to make iced coffee at home 

Iced Coffee Equipment:

The best way to make iced coffee at home is with a method that gives you a concentrated shot of coffee, like an espresso machine or a pod machine. 

Iced Coffee Ingredients: 


  1. Make your coffee like you would normally, brewing it hot to your preferred taste in whatever method you normally use.

  2. Pour your shot into a cup filled with ice, and top up with cold milk

  3. Stir and go - it's that simple

How to make cold brew coffee at home

Cold brew equipment/recipe:

The best way to make cold-brew at home is with a filter method like a cafetiere or V60.

• 100g Coffee (Coarse/Cafetiere Grind)

• 1 Litre cold water (ideally filtered)

• 12 Hours in fridge

• Coffee to water ratio 1:10

Cold brew ingredients:

  • A coarse ground coffee of your choice - we recommend our Betty B. Goode Cold Brew beans, specially selected for their notes of passionfruit, caramel and citrus when brewed cold.


1. Add 100g of coffee to your cafetiere and add 1 litre of filtered water. Reduce the ratios accordingly to fit in your cafetiere if using a smaller one.

2. Stir to ensure all the coffee grounds are saturated.

3. Leave for 12 hours to brew in the fridge.

4. After brewing, just plunge the plunger and pour into a glass.

Want to know more about our new Betty B. Goode beans? You can download a recipe card here.


If you’re realistically never going to make either of these drinks at home - come round to ours and we will sort you out with a cold one - you can get great-tasting cold brew or iced coffees made fresh every day.