Now that summer has well and truly hit the UK, coffee shops all over the country are promoting a wide range of chilled coffee drinks to help keep their customers energised and refreshed. It can be somewhat confusing though for coffee drinkers more accustomed to cappuccinos and flat whites to understand the differences between the beverages on offer. Cold brew and iced coffee may sound like the exact same thing, but in reality the preparation and taste can differ hugely between the two.
What’s the difference?
So first off, lets look at what an iced coffee really is. At it’s most basic level, iced coffee literally just means coffee served with ice. This usually means that the coffee has been made using hot espresso in the same way a latte or cappuccino would be, only the coffee has been rapidly cooled using ice cubes and sometimes cold milk. This is why you’ll often see iced lattes available, which is just iced espresso with cold milk. Some advanced coffee machines are able to froth the cold milk as well to produce as wide a variety of iced coffee drinks as well as hot.
Cold brew however is a different beast entirely. While espresso is made very quickly using heat and pressure to extract the coffee from the grounds, cold brew is the complete opposite. The ground coffee is mixed with cold water and put in a fridge to brew over a long period of time, as without the heat or pressure it takes much longer to extract all the flavour. The resulting drink tastes considerably fresher, with much less bitterness than hot coffee.
Which is better?
This all comes down to personal preference, as you can’t really use them interchangeably. Cold brew is gererally served black or with a relatively small amount of milk, as the flavours are refreshing but far subtler than espresso. On the other hand espresso based cold drinks can be used in huge variety of ways, with any combination of cold or frothed milks, or even blended into frappes or milkshakes. Hardcore coffee enthusiasts will often prefer cold brew, but more casual drinkers may prefer the choice that comes along with iced coffee.
How to make cold brew at home
The simplicity of cold brew coffee means that anyone can make it at home to keep in the fridge. This basic recipe is a great place to start if you’d like to try it out.
What you’ll need
2 large jars/jugs
400ml cold water
Approximately 50g coarsely ground coffee (depending on desired strength)
Cheesecloth or coffee filters
- Mix ground coffee and cold water together in a jar or jug and mix to ensure all coffee grounds are saturated.
- Seal or cover and place in the fridge, leave overnight or up to 24 hours.
- When it’s done, line the funnel with the cheesecloth or filter, and slowly pour through the funnel into the second container.
- Store in the fridge for up to a week.
Whichever style of cold coffee drinks you want to produce, versatility is absolutely key. In today’s competitive market you need to be able to provide customers with a wide variety of different beverages to suit everyone’s tastes. That’s why WMF provide their customers with as many drink possibilities as they can come up with using our versatile Dynamic Milk system. This will automatically produce both hot and cold milk foam across a huge range of consistencies, keeping customers happy all year round. Dynamic Milk is available on our 1500 S, 5000 S, and 9000 S+ machines. Download a brochure to see the whole range.