Do you know the difference in your cold coffee options? Some shops have all three (and more!) listed on their menus. How is iced coffee different from cold brew coffee? And how is Cold Brew different than Nitro Cold Brew?

There are differences and, if you walk into a shop, it’s good to know what you’re going to get and what the differences are. In the video below, we take a look at all three and explain the basic differences between them.


Iced Coffee

Iced coffee is, quite simply, hot brewed coffee poured over ice. In my personal opinion, it’s not a great way to make cold coffee. This, for the most part, is the old school way of making cold coffee. Just pour it over ice. The problem is that the ice quickly dilutes the coffee to the point where it just tastes weak and often sour.

Admittedly, there are some pour-over methods that make very nice iced coffees. If your shop is brewing a Japanese method iced coffee, by all means, go for it! But if they’re just taking the batch brew coffee out of the machine and pouring it over ice, be careful!

Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is where it’s at. This is the best way to make a cool and refreshing coffee drink like a cold brew latte or a coffee cocktail.

During the brewing process, cold brew coffee is brewed for a long period of time – anywhere between 8 and 24 hours depending on the particular recipe that shop it using. You pour cold water over ground coffee and let it sit. What you get is a smooth, even coffee that can be used in lots of different ways.

Our favorite method to make cold brew is to pour half cold brew concentrate over ice and add a little bit of water. If you want a cold brew latte, you can add milk instead of water. Trust me – this is the summertime drink you want to cool off with.

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee

Often times, people think cold brew and nitro cold brew coffee are the same thing. They are definitely brewed the same way, but there are slight differences in the way they’re served.

Unlike cold brew coffee, which is often served over ice and is “flat”, nitro cold brew coffee is served out of a stout tap. It’s typically prepared in a keg with nitrogen. The nitrogen is forced into the coffee and, when it is poured out of the tap, the nitrogen bubbles and cascades just like a stout beer does. It’s definitely interesting theater to watch!

The nitrogen head on the cold brew gives the coffee a smoother, more full bodied flavor and an amazing mouthfeel. It’s interesting to note how much adding this gas to the coffee can add to the flavor. If you haven’t had the chance to try a nitro cold brew, we’d highly recommend that you find a local shop that serves it and try it out!