Let’s set the ultimate coffee battle once and for all: cold brew vs. espresso. What are they and what’s the difference between both types of coffee.
So you’re thinking about getting a coffee maker. Great choice! But what kind should you buy? There are so many options out there, it can be hard to decide.
Do you want a machine that makes cold brew or espresso? What’s the difference? And does it even matter?
Same if you are thinking about buying coffee from a coffee shop in your neighborhood. You can fin at most coffee shop menus espresso drinks and cold brew drinks.
- What is cold brew coffee?
- What is espresso
- Is cold brew stronger than espresso
- Caffeine levels on cold brew coffee and espresso
- Which tastes better – espresso or cold brew?
- Is cold brew healthier than espresso
- What’s the difference between iced coffee and iced cold brew?
- What tools you need to make a cold brew coffee vs. a espresso
- What type of coffee you need to make cold brew or espresso
- Frequently asked questions about espresso and cold brew
What is cold brew coffee?
Cold brew is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee in cool, filtered water and is served over ice.
It’s prepared using a toddy system which slowly drips cold water through coffee grounds contained in a filter, extracting rich flavor without the bitterness of hot brewed coffee. It gets its name from the fact it is not heated at all during the process.
Love coffee? make sure to check this post with the best Sonic coffee drinks ranked!
What is espresso
Espresso is made by forcing very hot water at high pressure through finely ground coffee.
Espresso has much more caffeine than regular drip-brewed coffee, because the brewing process is so concentrated. The term espresso refers to both the base ingredients (coffee and water) as well as the way in which it is prepared.
In Italian, Espresso translates to “express.” This is because when espresso is brewed correctly, it should be quickly served.
Is cold brew stronger than espresso
Cold brew, also known as Toddy coffee, tends to be much stronger than espresso.
This is because the hot water used in espresso only extracts a portion of the coffee bean’s oils (responsible for flavor and strength).
Since cold brew is brewed over several hours using only ice water (which extracts the full amount of flavor), it can be much stronger than espresso.
Also, cold brew coffee is usually made with more coffee beans than espresso.
Caffeine levels on cold brew coffee and espresso
Depending on the beans used, cold brew can have much more caffeine than espresso.
Espresso tends to have a lower caffeine content because it is made from the very first pressurized extraction of coffee beans.
Cold brew coffee on the other hand is steeped for a longer time and also usually using more coffee beans than espresso, so it can contain a lot more caffeine.
Which tastes better – espresso or cold brew?
The flavor between the two is definitely different.
Espresso, because of the process in which it is brewed, tends to have a balanced taste with acidic notes and aromas that are associated with coffee.
Cold brew often tastes stronger because it is usually steeped for several hours using just ice water, but it can also have notes of chocolate or caramel. It lacks some of the acidic notes that espresso does have. It also has less of the delicate coffee aromas.
For some people, cold brew is their go-to coffee drink because it is much smoother and less acidic.
For others, espresso is their go-to because they like the delicate and balanced flavor and acidity of it.
Is cold brew healthier than espresso
Cold brew contains more polyphenols than espresso. Because it is not chemically treated to remove its oils, cold brew contains the beneficial compounds that are naturally present in coffee beans.
That means you get more antioxidants with cold brew!
However, because of the way in which it is made, cold brew can also contain higher concentration of cafestol and kahweol. These two compounds, although naturally occurring in coffee beans, can raise levels of LDL cholesterol. This is because cafestol and kahweol are lipid (fat) soluble which means that they dissolve easily in fat rather than water.
Overall both are incredibly similar in terms of health levels and properties so it really depends on what you like.
What’s the difference between iced coffee and iced cold brew?
Iced Espresso drinks are prepared by combining ice with espresso and adding milk or cream to taste. Iced cold brew can be prepared by combining ice with cold brew coffee or a toddy coffee concentrate
Cold brew that hasn’t been diluted with ice is also known as “ice drip.”
Iced cold brew is often made by diluting the concentrate in a 1:1 ratio, serving over ice.
So basically, iced coffee is more diluted and cold brew coffee is stronger. The flavor of both it’s also different.
What tools you need to make a cold brew coffee vs. a espresso
Cold brew coffee
A cold brew coffee kit is all you need to make a cold brew – just add water and let it steep overnight!
A cold brew kit is basically a large french press like jar where you can mix your ground coffee and cold water and let it steep. That’s literally all you need.
To make an espresso you need an espresso maker. It’s a small machine that forces water through the coffee beans under high pressure which squeezes out all the coffee oils and flavors to create your shot of espresso.
What type of coffee you need to make cold brew or espresso
Cold brew coffee
Most cold brew coffee recipes will suggest using a coarse ground. Sometimes you can use a medium grind or even a Turkish grind, but most of the time it’s recommended that you go for something in between.
If you’re making espresso at home, we recommend using an espresso machine and fine ground coffee – similar to what you’d find in a coffee shop. If you don’t have one of these machines at home, consider using pre-ground espresso powder.
Coffee for espresso needs to be thinly ground to have enough surface for the water pressure to push the coffee oils out.
Frequently asked questions about espresso and cold brew
Which one is more bitter: espresso or cold brew?
It depends on how they are made. Usually acidic levels are associated with bitter coffee, and since espresso is more acidic than cold brew it should be more bitter .
However, a properly made espresso will usually feel less bitter than a cold brew coffee since cold brew coffee has a darker and more potente flavor.
Nitro cold brew vs. espresso
Nitro cold brew is coffee that’s made using pressurized gas. It’s more powerful and potent than regular cold brew and also way more powerful than espresso.