How Much Caffeine Is In Cold Brew Coffee?

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How much caffeine is in cold brew coffee

The world of coffee is very complicated. Every time a new variation comes out, it gets harder to choose. A regular hot cup of coffee is all you need for that usual morning jolt or for any time of the day when you need a little caffeine kick.

Yes, that is well understood.  However, how about in the sweltering summer days where as much as a coffee lover you have, you need a refreshing brew with the same effect as the traditional cup?

how much caffeine is in cold brew coffee

Today, the world is already divided between hot coffees or iced coffees, but when a new player comes in, the decision-making all comes down to why you need your cup of coffee.

What makes you drink coffee regularly?

Yes, the caffeine that coffee comes with is what everyone is craving. This liquid magic that can wake your brain even if you are still tired becomes the deciding factor of which kind of coffee you will order for that sweaty afternoon, and you still need to be fully functional.

Now here comes the variation of coffee perfect for humid days where you need cold liquid down your throat but with still the much-required caffeine that you need.

As the barista asks you, “What will it be today? Cold-brew or iced coffee?”

Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee: Caffeine Content

It all comes down to caffeine content, so before making a choice, it is smart to know these two incredible drinks you are comparing.

The basic caffeine breakdown will identify if the cold brew has more caffeine content than your coffee with ice drink.

cold brew coffees

A usual 16-ounce iced coffee has a caffeine content of more or less 165 mg. Simultaneously, the typical cold brew of the same measurement would have more or less 200 mg (to 238 mg) of caffeine.

If you want to go brand specific, to be convinced, Starbucks’ 16-ounce cold brew has 200 mg of caffeine after being brewed for 20 hours. Compared to their iced coffee, the caffeine content is 20% higher since their iced version clocks in 165 mg of caffeine.

Dunkin Donuts, which also included cold brew on their regular menu, shows almost the same numbers of having 10.8 mg of caffeine for every ounce of their cold brew. 

Prepacked canned brands and DIY cold brews are other stories because their caffeine content is variable and even dangerous to those who can’t handle too much caffeine. A recipe for disaster, if you look closely, you can see some cold brew in 10.5-ounce packaging that can provide you with a monstrous caffeine content of 29.4 milligrams per ounce. Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee’s 10.5 ounce has about 2

That number will be a huge caffeine kick for caffeine addicts but not for those with GERD and those who experience side effects from consuming too much caffeine even if they try to tone it down with milk or creamer.

When it comes to caffeine content, the cold brew has more and based on other factors, the caffeine content can even be doubled.

What Makes Cold Brew Caffeine Stronger?

The next question is totally predictable. Why does cold brew have a higher content than iced coffee?

What impacts the higher caffeine content in the cold brew is brewing. The brewing says it all.

Iced coffee is brewed like your usual regular coffee, and then after the brewing, it is served over ice once cooled. This brew has a different methodology.   It is made at a room temperature in 12-24 hours by steeping the ground coffee before filtering out the grounds.

At this point, you will also notice that in a cold brew, you are using a concentrated coffee. Once the coffee grounds are filtered, this concentrate is mixed with water. It ideally follows a balanced and equal ratio of 50% coffee concentrate and 50% water. This makes a cold brew, and this process produces more caffeine, but it also gives off bolder flavors.

brew coffee

Overall, cold brew would have more caffeine content because iced coffee gets diluted faster than cold brew due to its concentrated coffee content.

Caffeine Comparisons in Coffee Variants

It’s clear that the cold brew is declared as the caffeine booster winner between a cold coffee brew and an iced coffee, but it doesn’t mean that it has the most caffeine content among all coffee variants.

Caffeine on its own is a wildcard. The content listed in labels are simply approximations but can still give you a good notion of how much caffeine you are ingesting in your every cup. Factors like the roast, coffee variety, and brewing method play a role in how much caffeine you can get.

Filtered coffee – popularly known as brewed coffee- is ground coffee beans being brewed in hot water. Typically, an 8-ounce cup of filtered coffee has 95mg of caffeine.

Decaffeinated Brew – it is a common misconception that decaf coffee has zero caffeine content. Decaf coffee still has but very minimal at 2 mg for an 8-ounce cup.

Instant coffee – a ready mix coffee where you need to add hot water has less caffeine than filtered coffee. For an 8-ounce cup, these coffee sachets have a caffeine content of 62 mg.

Espresso – some consider this as the most robust coffee, maybe because of its service size. A single 1-ounce shot of espresso has about 63 mg of caffeine. Do that math should you want to consume an 8-ounce cup of this.

Oriental Coffee – made in a distinct container with boiling water, this hot brew has about 135 mg of caffeine.

Making Your Cold Brew At Home

Skip the coffee shops and create your cold brew anytime. Be the envy of your friends when you serve yourself and them with an icy cup with a smooth taste every time.

Making cold brew doesn’t require coffee ninja skills. You don’t need to become a master barista for it, nor do you need any expensive equipment. All you need is a container to make the coffee and a strainer.

This is how it works: You have to start by grinding the coffee coarsely. You can do this at home, too, or request for it to be done where you purchase the coffee beans. Mix in some water and allow it to steep overnight or at least a minimum of 12 hours.

The hours you let it steep will allow the coffee to slowly and evenly infuse into the water.  This will give you that concentrated and strong brew. The next morning, strain it, and you’re good to go.

the brew coffee

This method gives you complete freedom to make adjustments to the concentration of your cold brew. You can make it stronger or weaker to suit your preference. You can start with a single cup of beans and steep it in four cups of water. For most, this ratio is a good concentration, but again, it’s all up to you. You can increase or lessen your coffee ratio as you please.

Tips for a Cold Brew Success

Since you are set to make your cold brew at home, here are some practical tips you can use to ensure that your cold brew is drinkable and worth the 24-hour wait.

Coarsely ground coffee beans are a must – you should get the right consistency to achieve a good cup. Beans that are ground like sandy powder will result in an over-infused coffee, and when strained, the coffee will be gritty and thick. Aim for a coarse cornmeal consistency and even a little rougher for that smooth cup.

Steep your beans for 12 hours – it’s the minimum number of hours so just let the coffee infuse with your water but don’t overdo it. Else, you’ll get the bitter flavor already, making the coffee less pleasant. Steeping it anywhere between 12 to 16 hours should be enough with a maximum of 24 hours.

Please use filtered water – surprisingly, filtered water gives you that cleaner and sweeter flavor. This is worth a try.

Make coffee iced cubes – for a stronger and undiluted coffee nirvana, don’t use regular iced cubes. Use coffee iced cubes to chill your cold brew.

cold brew coffee

Cold Brew Common Questions

Why does cold brew make you more nervous compared to a hot brew?

Cold-brew is consumed faster than hot ones because it is, after all, a drink intended to cool you off. The jumpiness may be caused by the faster rate of caffeine consumption and not the amount of caffeine on a cold brew.

Why is it more expensive than other coffee variants?

Contrary to hot coffee, where you can already serve a cup in a matter of minutes, cold brew needs advanced planning. Coffee businesses need to start the steeping process almost a single day ahead before it can be prepared and served. In business, the time investment is expensive, and once their steeped coffee is consumed, they’re done for that day unless you’re willing to wait a minimum of half a day just for a cup.

What is the shelf life of homemade cold brew concentrate?

Your cold brew will remain fresh for 1-2 days only, so it is highly recommended that you have the correct proportions to avoid wasting a potentially good cup of cold brew.

Hoping you learned from this post on how much caffeine is in cold brew coffee. The next time you’re wondering how much caffeine goes into that cup, you’ll have an idea.

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