is cold brew the same as traditional hot coffee, just…cold?

tldr; cold brew is much more than simply coffee, brewed in cold water. almost all aspects of coffee from the flavor notes, acidity, bitterness, versatility, you name it, separates cold brew from hot brew coffee! these differences have made cold brew coffee, and kavnia cold brew concentrate, the next big thing in the beverage world.


when people first think of coffee, I think it is safe to say that hot coffee initially comes to mind. this is understandable as traditional hot brewed coffee has been around for such a long time, whereas cold brew is much newer and has only really caught on in popularity over the last few years.

cold brew is changing the coffee industry

global cold brew market
source: statista. study_id12878_us-coffee-market-statista-dossier

 

as you can see in the chart above, the cold brew market is hot. the global market for cold brew has increased over the past 7 years, and it is projected to exponentially increase over the next 3 years, as many gen z and millennials like cold brew, and may even prefer it over hot brewed coffee. the cold brew market value in the US alone is projected to be around $1 billion by 2025!


looking at the chart below from statista, you can see the strong, positive opinion that young people have on cold brew. this is anticipated to only grow in the future as passionate companies like kavnia continue to innovate on the best ways to brew cold brew, and utilize it in both unique recipes, and simple ones. even in my own experience, I have found that many people today are starting to think of cold brew first (before iced coffee) when it comes to cold coffee beverages.

consumer opinion of cold brew coffee in the united states in 2020, by age

key differences between cold brew and hot brew


there are many differences that separate cold brew and hot brewed coffee, other than the temperature of the water in which it is brewed. one major difference is the taste. something that makes coffee brewing so special is that the taste of a cup of coffee can drastically change depending on numerous factors: 
  • quality of beans
  • temperature of the water
  • time of brewing
  • brewing method (drip, french press, etc.)
  • and many others! 

with hot water brewing, the end result is a cup of coffee that tastes more acidic, has a slightly bitter taste, and a rich aroma. cold brewing on the other hand generally results in a coffee that is more smooth, has less perceived acidity, and has less bitterness. to clarify when we say “perceived acidity”, pH levels are actually pretty similar between hot and cold brewed coffee, however, due to the hot brewing method, hot brewed coffee tends to feel and taste more acidic when we drink it. 


this difference is created because for both hot and cold brewing processes, distinct flavors and compounds from ground coffee beans are extracted, compared to what is left behind in the grounds, and released into the air. the temperature of the water, duration of brewing, and brewing style all impact the unique taste of the brew. since aromatic oils in the coffee beans aren’t lost when brewed in cold water, cold brewing processes keep those flavors inside of the brew, resulting in a smooth taste, and distinct flavor notes.

the unique brewing process and versatility of kavnia cold brew concentrate

 

hot and cold brewing methods

 

the brewing process, and versatility of cold brew are some notable distinctions compared to hot brewed coffee. while hot coffee can be brewed in minutes, cold brew generally involves a longer brewing time. hot coffee also has a wide variety of brewing methods, whereas cold brew has only had the traditional immersion brewing, and the lesser known cold drip method that kavnia uses.

the brewing method that started kavnia


while it is the lesser known brewing process for cold brew, coffee lovers around 400 years ago in kyoto, japan pioneered the cold drip brewing method that makes kavnia cold drip a step above your usual homemade cold brew. what separates kavnia’s brewing process from kyoto-style cold drip is that while kyoto-style takes a long time to brew, and is a complex inefficient process, kavnia is patent pending for a method that brews cold drip faster and more efficiently, while still producing the great taste that only comes with cold drip. with less of a general understanding of how to brew the best cold brew, unique methods like ours are part of what allows us to separate our cold brew from the others. overall, the general longer brewing time, and difficult brewing process of cold brew is why cold brew concentrates like kavnia have emerged over the years. read more about kyoto-style cold drip, and the origin of kavnia here.

cold brew is versatile

 

simple cold brew

 

another reason for the rise in popularity of cold brew concentrates is the versatility of it. hot coffee is simply hot coffee. yeah sure, you could make some mixed drinks using it, but the majority of people would not consider it versatile. on the other hand, cold brew concentrate can be mixed with cold water and ice for an iced coffee, with hot water for hot coffee, with milk for a delicious latte, along with cocktails, sodas, desserts and countless other recipes that you can find on our socials (IG, TikTok). 

 

butterfly pea flower cold brew latte

(click the image to see the full recipe video on IG!)

cold brew can be an excellent alternative to traditional coffee


even for those who don’t consider themselves regular coffee drinkers, the smooth taste of cold brew makes it an excellent alternative for many people who dislike the bitterness and acidity that comes with a lot of hot brewed coffee. aside from disliking certain aspects of the taste of hot brewed coffee, for those that experience digestive issues, have sensitive stomachs, or can’t have highly acidic foods, drinking traditional coffee often isn’t an option. cold brew, on the other hand, can be a viable option due to the lower perceived acidity levels that make it easier on the stomach. both of these factors are partially why many have claimed cold brew to be their coffee of choice.


however, some consumers can be misguided about cold brew due to a common misconception regarding the caffeine level. while some may say that cold brew has more caffeine than hot brew coffee, this statement is not definitive and may be more of a case-by-case basis than many may think. stay tuned, we will be exploring this topic in more detail in an upcoming blog post!


kavnia provides a unique, innovative, high quality cold brew concentrate that is powered by women, and focused on sustainability. we love our community and are looking forward to sharing our mission and product with you at all of our in-person events (farmers markets, fairs) here in chicago! thank you for supporting a mission that goes far beyond delicious cold brew :)


if you are interested in another recipe, check out our post on the delicious chocolate covered strawberry cold drip, and read this post to learn even more about cold brew.