Cold-brew coffee tastes heavenly. It is stronger in flavor and has lower acidity levels. I used to think cold brews meant iced coffee until I finally read up on it and found out some interesting facts about the beloved drink.
I’ve always seen people talking about heating cold brews and always hated the idea. One because I thought they meant heating iced coffee and, two because I didn’t understand the point of heating a cold brew.
Well, I am ready to address the common question that most of us are dying to learn about. But, first things first, let’s get the confusion between cold brew and an iced coffee out of the way. I bet most of you still consider that both are the same thing.
Are cold brew and iced coffee different?
Yes, these are two different types of coffee. Cold-brew coffee is made with cold water, thus it creates a sweeter and low acidity experience. Whereas, iced coffee has double-strength cooled ground coffee that creates a lighter and refreshing feel.
To further explain, let’s see how each type of coffee is made.
How to make cold-brew coffee?
Cold brew is made by first soaking ground beans in water for 1 to 2 days. The coffee brewed through soaking is much more concentrated and is great for pouring over ice cubes. Even after the ice cubes melt the coffee retains its intense saturated coffee flavor.
The cold brew is widely known for its milder flavor. It is rather sweeter and is packed with caffeine that gives you an instant buzz.
It is due to the long duration for which coffee is left to soak in water that allows the cold brew to be higher in concentration. On average cold brew contains ten to twenty milligrams of caffeine when compared to an iced coffee.
How to make iced coffee?
In contrast, iced coffee typically uses methods of brewing and is normally left to cool down before pouring it over ice. Iced coffee also known as cold coffee is much more convenient when it comes to brewing. Plus, it makes a great drink for summer especially when you are addicted to caffeine.
Yes, you must wait for the coffee to cool down but it’s worth every second of it. My obsession with coffee started with iced coffee. The flavor is great especially when you’re new to the coffee club the bitter taste is not at all appealing but it’s a great starting point.
You could always add more flavor to it with milk, cream, sugar, cinnamon, or even coffee creamers. I like to add vanilla or coffee-flavored ice cream to mine. It gives that extra sugar rush that you need on a hazy summer afternoon.
Can you heat up cold brew coffee?
Yes, it’s perfectly fine to heat up cold brew coffee. Although it might affect the taste, however, it’s alright to heat a cold brew and serve it hot. If you want to keep the acidity levels of your coffee low then adding boiling water to your cold brew can help.
Nevertheless, heating cold brews is possible, but you need to follow a few steps to get that taste you are looking for. And simply popping it in the microwave is not going to cut it. So, the next order of business learning how to heat cold brew.
How to heat cold brew coffee – 2 Methods
One of the most traditional techniques of heating cold brew is to pour the concentrated coffee mixture and some water into a kettle. Leave it on medium heat on a stove until it reaches the needed temperature.
Although it seems easy to heat cold brew there are quite a few technicalities involved. There are multiple ways you can use to heat cold brews. Some give better results than other techniques. It must be noted that cold brew is always more concentrated than your typical cup of coffee.
Hence, for this very reason, the most popular technique for heating cold brew is by pouring in boiling water. Using this technique, you warm a cup of coffee with boiling water and set it aside. Now fill half the cup with cold brew and then pour boiling water into the rest of the cup.
As a result, the coffee does not come off as extremely hot to burn your tongue and is hot enough to keep you warm.
Alternatively, you can heat your cold brew on a stove and bring it to a boil. This is a better option if you don’t want diluted coffee and still want it to be warm for drinking. While boiling it on the stove keep track of time and do not over boil it or you might end up with burnt coffee.
Can I microwave cold brew?
You can microwave cold brew, but it is recommended to microwave the cold brew for no longer than 10 seconds before you add some water from the kettle.
Some people prefer microwaving it for a longer time, however, I would advise against it as it ruins the flavor of your coffee. If at all leave it as your last resort. Here, it is important to note that all the slow heating methods oxidize the coffee which impacts its flavors.
What happens when you heat cold brew coffee?
Heating cold brew breaks the chemical compounds and rearranges the molecules to give a new substance. This slight change in the genetic makeup of the coffee results in a flavor change. You won’t be able to observe this change as it occurs at a very micro level.
However, if you are particular about the taste of your coffee you might be able to tell the difference. Over thirty different types of acids reside in a single cup of coffee. About two of them only play a massive role when you heat your cold brew.
These two acids heat up and change their compositions which can result in a sour taste in your coffee. At this temperature, the other acids present in the coffee are much less reactive. It is due to these less reactive acids that give the nice smooth flavor that we have come to love in some of our favorite coffees.
If you’ve ever tasted coffee at fast-food restaurants, airports a hotel breakfast, or even a greasy diner then you will know this coffee flavor. All these places make large batches of coffee and leave it on the stove for longer durations.
The benefit of having these coffees is that it takes them less time to serve. While the downside is the stale, acidic mug of coffee. Another way to obtain great coffee flavor is by brewing it at a high temperature and later turning it into an iced coffee.
Can heating my cold brew coffee make it acidic?
Cold brews are usually lower in acidity than other methods of brewing. This is due to the beans not being directly exposed to heat during the brewing process. Therefore, heating cold brew does not affect the acidity of the coffee.
The acids mentioned earlier are naturally occurring compounds in coffee beans. Increasing the number of coffee beans increases the acidity of your coffee. It is because of this very reason it is preferred to heat water and add it to the cold brew concentrate. This results in a much less acidic flavor.
Apart from using good quality coffee beans, to get the best flavor, you should try using a French press. Some coffee enthusiasts seem to swear by this method and many love the flavor it produces.
Final thoughts on heating cold brew coffee
As a coffee lover myself, I try my best to come up with the best possible flavors. There are numerous ways to brew coffee, it is up to your taste preference. Each method gives a different result. It is all a matter of choices, if you want low acidity in your coffee then heating your cold brew is a great idea. I hope this article covers everything about heating cold brews that you have wanted to learn.
There are several other techniques you can learn to enhance your coffee flavor library. All these techniques can help you become a professional at coffee making. Check them out by reading the related articles below!
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