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Cold Brew vs Iced Americano

Is Cold Brew Or Iced Americano Stronger? Here’s Your Guide

Coffee Drinks Comparisons May 14, 2023

You walk into a cafe looking for an iced coffee and find two drinks that look the same: Cold brew and Iced Americano.

Naturally, you wonder, what’s the difference between them? Both of them are iced, cold, and black coffee drinks.

In this post, you’ll find everything you need to know about Cold Brew and Iced Americano:

  • How each coffee beverage is made,
  • What they’re supposed to taste like and which is stronger,
  • and most importantly, the caffeine content of each of these iced coffee beverages.

The Difference Is In The Brewing Method

The difference between these iced coffee beverages is in how they’re made. Their brewing process not only affects the taste but also affects their caffeine content, too.

Iced AmericanoEspresso + Cold Water + Ice
Cold BrewMade of Coarse Ground Coffee Steeped in Cold Water

How Cold Brew Is Made

Is Cold Brew Or Iced Americano Stronger? Here's Your Guide

Unlike traditional hot coffee, cold brew is made using a unique brewing method that involves steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for an extended period.

The reason it is called Cold Brew is not only because it’s served chilled, but it’s because it is brewed using cold water instead of hot.

Using cold water to extract coffee takes a longer time, which is why cold brew is usually steeped in cold water for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. The final result is a robust cup of coffee, that is also less bitter than a hot cup of coffee brew.

One of the benefits of cold brew is its smooth, less acidic taste compared to traditional hot coffee. It’s also highly customizable, allowing you to experiment with different coffee beans and flavorings to create your perfect cup of cold brew.

To make cold brew, you’ll need a few key ingredients and tools.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to making your own cold brew at home: (or you can take a shortcut and make your cold brew instantly)

  1. Start by selecting your coffee beans. For best results, choose a high-quality coffee bean that’s been roasted for cold brewing. Coarsely grind the beans to ensure maximum flavor extraction.
  2. Next, add the ground coffee to a large container or pitcher. You can use a French press, mason jar, or any other container with a lid. (don’t press down the plunger when using a french press).
  3. Add cold water to the container, making sure to fully saturate the coffee grounds. The ratio of coffee to water can vary depending on your preference, but a good rule of thumb is to use one cup of coffee grounds for every four cups of water.
  4. Stir the mixture to ensure the coffee grounds are fully immersed in the water. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap and let it steep in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. The longer you steep the coffee, the stronger and more concentrated the flavor will be.
  5. Once the coffee has steeped, strain it through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove any remaining grounds. You can also use a coffee filter for a smoother finish.
  6. Finally, serve your cold brew over ice and enjoy!

How Iced Americano Is Made

Is Cold Brew Or Iced Americano Stronger? Here's Your Guide

An Americano is made by adding hot water to a shot or two of espresso. An Iced Americano, on the other hand, is made the same way but by substituting hot water with cold water and adding ice, too.

Alternatively, some people will only add ice and dilute it using espresso for a stronger-tasting coffee.

Here’s how to make an Iced Americano:

  1. Start with a double shot of espresso. You can use a traditional espresso machine or a stovetop moka pot.
  2. Fill a glass with ice cubes.
  3. Pour the hot espresso over the ice cubes. The ice will melt slightly and dilute the espresso, creating a smooth, refreshing drink.
  4. Add water to taste. You can use cold or room-temperature water, depending on your preference. Some people like to add a splash of milk or cream for a creamier taste.
  5. Stir everything together and enjoy your iced Americano!

An iced Americano is a simple and refreshing espresso-based coffee drink that’s perfect for a hot day. It’s easy to make at home with just a few simple ingredients, and you can customize it to your taste by adjusting the amount of water or adding milk or cream.

Taste & Flavor Profiles

When it comes to taste, Cold Brew and Iced Americano are two different drinks with unique flavor profiles.

Since iced americano is made by adding shots of espresso to cold water, it tastes like a lighter version of an espresso.

It’s not concentrated when using a balanced ratio of water and espresso, but it still retains the robust flavor of an espresso shot.

The taste of Iced Americano can vary depending on how many shots of espresso are added to the drink. The more shots of espresso, the stronger the taste will be.

Generally, Iced Americano has a slightly bitter taste due to the presence of espresso and the acidity of the coffee. This can be balanced by adding some milk to your americano (which in some places is known as a white Americano)

On the other hand, Cold Brew has a smoother, less acidic taste than other types of coffee. Because Cold Brew is never exposed to heat, it has a mellow, slightly sweet taste.

The longer the coffee is steeped, the stronger the taste will be. If cold brew is made as a concentrate, it has to be mixed with water to make a balanced-tasting drink.

Overall, neither an iced Americano or a cold brew is naturally sweet. Cold Brew can be mellower in taste, but an Iced Americano is leaning toward bitterness due to the use of Espresso.

You can always sweeten your cold brew or Americano by adding syrups or sugar if that’s what you prefer.

Strength Showdown – Cold Brew Wins

Is Cold Brew Or Iced Americano Stronger? Here's Your Guide

When it comes to the strength of your coffee, Cold brew wins.

While both are cold coffee beverages, the brewing method and coffee-to-water ratio can make a significant difference in the strength of the final product.

Cold brew is a coffee that has been steeped for a long period, which means the extraction time is quite long. Even if you steep it for a minimum of 8 hours, that is a long time of steeping.

This makes cold brew a strong-tasting coffee. And the strength can be controlled by adding more or less water to your cold brew concentrate.

This does not mean that an Iced Americano is a weak-tasting drink. It’s still quite strong in flavor, especially if you’re using double shots of espresso. But cold brew is more full-bodied in flavor and will satisfy the taste of someone looking for a strong-tasting cup of iced coffee.

Amount Of Caffeine In Each Coffee Beverage

When it comes to caffeine content, Cold Brew is also the winner. This is also due to its unique brewing process.

Many people are under the impression that espresso is high in caffeine, when in fact, brewed coffee has much higher caffeine content.

Since iced Americano is espresso-based, the amount of caffeine it contains equals how many shots of espresso are in it. Cold brew is naturally higher in caffeine due to its long steeping process.

To give you a better idea of how the caffeine content of Iced Americano and Cold Brew compare, here’s a table:

BeverageCaffeine Content (per 16 oz)
Iced Americano (double shot)126 mg
Cold Brew200 mg

This is only an estimation of the average amount of caffeine in a cold brew. I can’t give you an exact number because so many factors affect the amount of caffeine in coffee: the type of beans you’re going to use is a major one. But that estimate is for a medium roast 100% Arabica beans.

How To Make Iced Americano At Home

Making an Iced Americano at home is easy and affordable. You don’t need any special equipment or barista skills. In this section, we will show you two methods to make an Iced Americano at home using a Nespresso machine and instant coffee.

Using a Nespresso Machine

If you have a Nespresso machine at home, making an Iced Americano is a breeze. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Fill a tall glass with ice cubes.
  2. Brew a shot or two of espresso using your Nespresso machine. If you’re using a Vertuo machine, you can use a double espresso pod.
  3. Pour the espresso shot over the ice cubes.
  4. Add cold water to the glass until it is three-quarters full.
  5. Stir the mixture gently with a spoon.
  6. Enjoy your refreshing Iced Americano!

Using Instant Coffee

If you don’t have a Nespresso machine, don’t worry. You can still make an Iced Americano using instant coffee. Here’s how:

  1. Fill a tall glass with ice cubes.
  2. Fill the glass with cold water until it is three-quarters full.
  3. Add a spoonful of instant coffee to the glass.
  4. Stir the mixture until the instant coffee dissolves completely.
  5. Enjoy your delicious Iced Americano!

Making an Iced Americano at home is a great way to beat the heat and enjoy a refreshing cup of coffee. Whether you use a Nespresso machine or instant coffee, you can customize your Iced Americano to your taste by adjusting the amount of water and coffee. Experiment with different flavors and enjoy your homemade Iced Americano anytime, anywhere.