Cold Brew or Cold Drip: what’s the difference?

by Georgia Folker February 16, 2022 5 min read

We’re often asked what the difference is between cold brew and cold drip. Put quite simply, cold brew is a full immersion brew and cold drip is a filter brew, each resulting in different flavour profiles.

Both methods are brewed with room temperature water, which means they require a much longer brew time, and they both yield a large amount of coffee. Another benefit to brewing cold drip and cold brew coffee is its shelf life, as the brewed coffee can sit in the fridge for up to two weeks. 

The reason the terms are often used interchangeably is their names being similar, but also because they’re served the same: usually over ice and sometimes diluted with either milk or water. 

That’s about as far as the similarities go, continue reading to find out more about the specifics of each brew method and how they differ. 

 

Cold Brew:

Cold brew is a full immersion brewing technique, meaning that all of the coffee is immersed in the water for the entire brewing time. A plunger coffee is another example of an immersion method of brewing.

The coffee is left to steep in a body of water for anywhere between 12 and 24 hours, depending on how strong you’d like the end result to be. It’s a gentle brewing style and results in a really sweet, smooth flavour profile. Depending on how concentrated your coffee to water ratio is, you can also mix the brew with your milk of choice, or dilute it with water.

Cold brewing coffee is a simple and easy way to make a lot of coffee at once, and you can often do so using equipment you have around the house (a plunger makes a perfect vessel for cold brew!). 

You can view our Cold Brew Guide or shop our Cold Brew Collection.



Cold Drip:

Cold drip is loved by its fans for its concentrated, syrupy and boozy flavour profile. It is a concentrate that can be diluted with water or milk or served straight over ice for an intense coffee shot.

To brew cold drip, cold water drips slowly from one reservoir (usually via a tap) onto a bed of ground coffee held in another reservoir below. The water then flows through the coffee grounds, through a filter, and into a carafe. These contraptions are usually held in place by a wooden or plastic stand, often referred to as a cold drip tower.

You may have seen these towers at cafes or at your friends' houses. They’re a multi-tiered setup that look like they belong in a chemistry lab. The top reservoir with the tap controls the drip rate of the water, and the whole process will usually take between 6-8 hours.

Cold drip is often cleaner and brighter than cold brew and is generally brewed as a concentrate, with a comparatively small brew ratio over a long period of time. As a straight beverage it is stronger, although people usually drink it diluted with either water or milk. 

You can view our Cold Drip Brew Guide or shop our Cold Drip Collection.

If you have any other questions about cold drip or cold brew, please feel free to drop us a line.

 

Your Cold Drip and Cold Brew Coffee Questions, Answered

Here are the most common questions we receive regarding Cold Drip Coffee. If you have any more questions, please get in contact! 

Cold Drip is usually prepared as a concentrate, and is best served over ice, and/or diluted with water or milk.

We suggest starting with a brew ratio of about 1 part coffee to 6 parts water. You can adjust it from there based on your taste preferences.

Cold brew and cold drip are generally brewed as a concentrate, with a comparatively small brew ratio over a long period of time. As a straight beverage it is stronger, although people usually drink it diluted with either water or milk.

Cold Drip and Cold Brew are not the same. Cold Brew is a full immersion brew method, meaning the water and coffee grinds are combined and left to brew together. It typically is brewed with a bigger brew ratio, and results in a filter style brew. Cold Drip is brewed by dripping water through a bed of coffee for an extended period of time, and results in a thick, rich and syrupy brew.

Typically, iced coffee is made with hot brewed espresso that is served over ice with the addition of milk, and perhaps cream or icecream. Cold Brew is brewed cold, and is most often served black, although with the right coffee choice, it can be suited to serving with a dash of milk.

Cold Drip can last up to two weeks if refrigerated and kept in an airtight container.

We suggest enjoying everything in moderation! In some ways, black coffee can be considered healthier than drinks with added dairy or alternative milks. It is also claimed that coffee filtered through paper is healthier as the filter reduces the amount of cafestol in the final beverage. Cafestol is an oil in coffee that is claimed to raise cholesterol in high doses. If you’re concerned, we suggest speaking to a medical professional!

You can use either filter roast or espresso roast coffee can be used depending on the desired result. For a bright, fruity brew to drink black, we recommend using a filter roast. For a bolder brew, and for those adding milk, coffee roasted for espresso is best! Make sure you use a medium-coarse grind for making cold drip

If your cold brew tastes bitter, check to ensure you’re using a very coarse grind. Because the brew time is so long, using a fine grind can cause the resulting brew to taste bitter. You could also reduce your brew time, or try using a lighter roast.

The flavour of cold brew can actually develop nicely over a few days, but we recommend drinking cold brew within two weeks of brewing. Ensure your equipment is clean, including storage and your cold brew should last a couple of weeks. We recommend brewing smaller amounts more regularly to keep the coffee fresh.

Coffee can be used as a plant fertilizer - simply throw it in your garden! Otherwise you can throw it in your home compost, or, if your local council picks up organic waste, throw it in your organics bin.

 



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