You walk into a cafe looking for a iced coffee and find two drinks that look exactly the same: Cold brew and Iced Americano.
Naturally, you wonder, what’s the difference between a cold brew and an iced Americano?
Both of them are iced, cold and black coffee drinks. But the difference is in how they’re made. And their brewing process not only affects the taste, but also affects their caffeine content, too.
In this post, you’ll find everything you need to know about Cold Brew vs 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.
What’s the Difference Between an Iced Americano vs Cold Brew?
|Iced Americano||Espresso + Cold Water + Ice|
|Cold Brew||Made of Coarse Ground Coffee Steeped in Cold Water|
It all comes down to how each beverage is made…
How Cold Brew Is Made
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 of time.
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 period of time, which is why cold brew is usually steeped in the cold water for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. The final result is a strong and 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 short cut and make your cold brew instantly)
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Finally, serve your cold brew over ice and enjoy!
How Iced Americano Is Made
An Americano is made by adding hot water to a shot or two of espresso. An Iced Americano, on the other hand, is made exactly the same way but with substituting hot water with cold water and adding ice, too. Alternatively, some people will only add ice and dilute it using the espresso for a stronger tasting coffee.
Here’s how to make an Iced Americano:
- Start with a double shot of espresso. You can use a traditional espresso machine or a stovetop moka pot.
- Fill a glass with ice cubes.
- Pour the hot espresso over the ice cubes. The ice will melt slightly and dilute the espresso, creating a smooth, refreshing drink.
- 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.
- 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.
Cold Brew vs Iced Americano Taste
So now you know the main difference between cold brew and an iced americano:
- Cold Brew is made by steeping coarse coffee grounds in cold water for at least 8 hours.
- Iced Americano is an espresso based iced coffee drink that requires an espresso machine.
When it comes to taste, Cold Brew and Iced Americano are two different drinks with unique flavor profiles.
Does Iced Americano Taste Sweet or Bitter?
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 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 taste that is slightly sweet. The longer the coffee is steeped, the stronger the taste will be. It cold brew has been made as a concentrate, it has to be mixed with water to make a balanced tasting drink.
Overall, neither an iced Americano or cold brew are 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.
Is an Iced Americano Stronger than Cold Brew?
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 of time, which means the extraction time is quite long. Even if you steep it for the 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 if 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.
Iced Americano vs Cold Brew Caffeine
When it comes to caffeine content, Cold brew is also the winner. This is also due to its unique brewing process.
Does an Americano Have More Caffeine than Cold Brew?
Many people are under the impression that espresso is really 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 to how many shots of espresso is 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:
|Beverage||Caffeine Content (per 16 oz)|
|Iced Americano (double shot)||126 mg|
|Cold Brew||200 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: 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.
Make an Iced Americano Using a Nespresso Machine
If you have a Nespresso machine at home, making an Iced Americano is a breeze. Follow these simple steps:
- Fill a tall glass with ice cubes.
- 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.
- Pour the espresso shot over the ice cubes.
- Add cold water to the glass until it is three-quarters full.
- Stir the mixture gently with a spoon.
- Enjoy your refreshing Iced Americano!
Make an 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:
- Fill a tall glass with ice cubes.
- Fill the glass with cold water until it is three-quarters full.
- Add a spoonful of instant coffee to the glass.
- Stir the mixture until the instant coffee dissolves completely.
- 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.