When the daily temperatures climb, many coffee drinkers hit the pause button on their usual hot coffee beverages and opt for cooler, more refreshing drinks.

The logical alternative is, of course, iced coffee. It offers the same signature aroma and familiar bold taste as its steaming counterpart. Which makes sense: iced coffee is simply hot coffee that’s been chilled and poured over ice. So, its flavor profile, strong aroma, and the hit of caffeine are the same…just cooler.

Cold brew burst onto the scene a few years back and now commands its share of respect in specialty coffee outlets and mainstream java shops alike.

What’s so special about cold brew, anyway? Quite a few things, actually…

Instead of using boiling water to extract the coffee’s trademark flavor, which includes its acidic and bitter qualities, cold brew never involves heated water at all. Coarse coffee grounds steep – kind of like tea – in cold or room-temperature water. Then the mixture chills in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. Clearly, cold brew requires some patience, but there’s a tasty reward at the end of the brewing period.

The biggest factors in cold brew’s unique makeup are the absence of heat and the prolonged steeping time. This combination results in a liquid that is much smoother tasting, allowing coffee’s true flavor to shine through. Not to mention that it can contain a slightly more potent dose of caffeine. This depends on the ratio of coffee to water used for brewing, as well as how much, if at all, the concentrated final brew is diluted prior to serving.

Another advantage: since cold brew is less acidic, it’s less likely to irritate those with sensitive stomachs. Bottoms up, acid reflux sufferers!

As devoted fans of coffee, we celebrate and appreciate the flavors and nuances of both hot and cold varieties. And we think cold brew deserves a place in your repertoire of beverages, no matter what the temperature is.

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