A black pitcher of milk pouring milk into a white cup of black coffee

Hot Coffee vs. Cold Coffee. Which Is Better?

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Coffee is served both hot and cold, and both variants of the drink have their fans. However, the difference between the two might be more than just taste and feeling. You read this right. Hot coffee and cold coffee might differ chemically, and not only in taste and texture but also in the effect it has on the consumer. If you’re confused about which type of coffee to drink, and which is better, worry not. Here’s the only detailed hot coffee, cold coffee comparison you need.

What Is Hot Coffee and Cold Coffee?

You might think the temperature at which both the drinks are served is the only difference they have. However, the brewing method is also of significance. Hot coffee can be brewed by any brewing method.  However, the most important thing is that hot coffee is always brewed using hot water. The hot water blooms the coffee and extracts the caffeine from the beans very fast. The result is an acidic brew because of the speed at which the extraction takes place.

Cold coffee on the other hand can be brewed using both hot, and cold water. Brewing the coffee cold takes hours of steeping since the cold water is inefficient at extracting the caffeine from the beans. Most commonly, cold coffee means cold-brewed coffee, instead of chilled hot brewed coffee. Here we will be discussing cold-brewed coffee vs. hot brewed coffee.

A white mug full of black coffee with steam rising up from it

Hot Coffee Vs. Cold Coffee Comparison

Hot Coffee Has More Caffeine

Cold brewed coffee has comparatively less caffeine than hot coffee. This is because cold water is comparatively ineffective in extracting the caffeine from the beans. Hot coffee has 60mg per 100g of coffee, while cold-brewed coffee has 40mg of caffeine per 100g.  The caffeine content changes with the brewing method, which are cold-brewing and hot brewing. The serving temperature of the drink has little effect. Cold coffee made from chilled hot brewed coffee will have the same caffeine content- 60 mg per 100g of coffee.

A blue mug full of black coffee with steam rising from it and coffee beans in the background

Cold Coffee Is Less Acidic and Bitter

Though the cold brewing process is time-consuming, it also results in a gentler, less acidic brew, which is loved by people all around the world. Hot coffee on the other hand has more acid and oil because the hot water strips these of the beans. Most hot coffee is made between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. If you were to move from 205 to 210, the bitterness of the coffee would be extreme. However, brewing hot coffee below 195 degrees Fahrenheit will result in a coffee that is too sour. That is because when extremely hot water comes in contact with the beans it turns the acidic components of the beans bitter.

The question is if  hot water turns the acidic components of coffee bitter, and coffee made below 195 degrees is too acidic, then how can cold coffee have less acidity? Well, the answer to that is very simple. Since cold coffee is brewed at comparatively very low temperatures, the acidic components simply do not get extracted. This way the coffee isn’t very acidic or bitter.  Cold coffee has about 65% less acidity than hot coffee.

However, if you chill hot coffee and then use it, you will end up with a cold coffee that is more acidic, bitter, and oilier. Most people don’t enjoy cold coffee made from chilling hot brewed coffee. Since the drink is acidic, the taste is funny and doesn’t sit well with people.

A glass of cold coffee with white foam at top and a heart shaped waffle stuck on the rim

Hot Coffee Smells Better

The aromatic oils in coffee are volatile when they are heated. This means they evaporate easily, and you smell them. However, in cold coffee, there is no smell, because the cold aromatic oils do not evaporate. If you’re someone that loves taking a whiff of freshly made coffee, we’re afraid hot coffee is what you need to work with.

A kettle pouring hot coffee in a white mug with steam rising on top

Both Types Have Their Unique Taste

There can be no hot coffee, cold coffee comparison when it comes to taste. Cold coffee is oxidized very slowly because of the lack of heat, and hot coffee is oxidized faster, which creates a lot of differences between the flavors of both types of coffee. Hot coffee offers a hint of acidity, notes of bitterness, and a gentle aroma that wraps the entire flavor together. In contrast, cold coffee has no bitterness and tastes gentler on the tongue. This doesn’t mean the coffee lacks flavor though. Do you remember that aromatic oils  don’t evaporate in the cold coffee?  Well, when you drink the cold coffee these aromatic oils are registered by your retro-nasal passage, and the brain interprets them as a firework of flavor. This is one of the reasons why cold coffee may taste better to some people.

A woman in a brpown scarf sipping from a white coffee mug

Hot Coffee Has High Antioxidant Content

The high antioxidant content is one of the benefits of hot coffee. A study conducted by Thomas Jefferson University in 2018 proved that hot coffee has more antioxidants than cold coffee. Studies have been conducted using both cold and brewing methods to check the level of antioxidants in coffee. The results were that cold-brewed coffee had not only lower amounts of coffee but the darker the roast got, the more antioxidants the cold-brewed coffee lost. This is why hot coffee is more beneficial for drinkers that love dark roasted coffee. Antioxidants are beneficial for reducing the risk of a lot of diseases, and even cancer. To put it very simply, as explained by Healthline.com, antioxidants remove free radicals from the body and prevent cell damage.

Different Antioxidants in Coffee and Their Benefits

CafestolActs as bile modulator in the intestine
It is a potent anti-inflammatory in the brain and can help improve and protect memory.
TrigonellineIt is an antibacterial
Breaks down to form Vitamin B3 at high temperatures
Chlorogenic AcidEnhances insulin function
Boosts metabolism rate
Prevents fat accumulation in the body
It is also antibacterial, anti-fungal, and an effective antioxidant
MelanoidinsThey have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
QuinineIt is a potent anti-oxidant
However, too many quantities of quinine can cause allergic reactions
CaffeineHelps relieve headaches
And helps prevent a plethora of illnesses
Table Source: Healthline.com, Coffeescience.org


Cold Coffee Can Protect You Against a Heart Attack

Hot coffee wins one it comes to antioxidants. However, cold coffee can help prevent heart attacks in consumers. This is because the drink has a lot of magnesium, caffeine, trigonelline, and phenolic compounds. All of these increase insulin sensitivity in the body and stabilize and reduce blood pressure. A study by the University of Colorado found that you can reduce the chances of heart attacks by 7% if you drink cold coffee daily.

A glass of cold coffee topped with whipped cream with a straw and coffee beans scattered around it

Hot Coffee Helps Reduce Stress

This is because hot coffee gives the impression of warmth, which is a feeling associated with comfort and relaxation. When you drink hot coffee, it helps you relax, and relieve the day’s stress. It also provides you with a boost of energy, however, even cold coffee does that.

Not just drinking the brew, but smelling hot coffee can work wonders in reducing stress too.

a white mug of steaming coffee placed on top of a lot of coffee beans

Cold Coffee Is Easier on the Digestive System

Since cold coffee has less acidity, it is easy to digest, and causes fewer problems, especially if you’re someone that drinks a lot of coffee. This is one of the benefits of cold coffee that is not to be ignored because digestive problems hurt. Hot brewed coffee has more acidic components which cause tension in the stomach and can cause acid reflux and heartburns. Acid reflux is when the acid from your stomach moves back into the esophagus, which irritates, and burns.

Another factor that makes cold coffee better for the stomach is the presence of crude polysaccharides. These are long chains of sugars that increase the stomach’s immunity and reduce the effect of the acids on the stomach. 

A glass of cold blakc coffee with milk swirling in it with ice cubes

Hot Coffee Is Brewed Faster

Coffee is a favorite for people with fast-paced lives. This is why a hot coffee, cold coffee comparison of preparing times holds a lot of significance. Hot coffee takes all but a few minutes to make, because the heat of the water oxidizes the coffee faster, and extracts caffeine from the beans. Coldwater, on the other hand, takes a very long time to oxidize the coffee. The average time taken for cold brewing coffee can be as long as 20-22 hours. Most people brew large batches of cold coffee together to save time and effort. This is fine, however, the brewed coffee should be consumed in under a week.

A man holding a white cup of coffee and dripping milk in it to make coffee art

Cold Coffee Is Better for the Health

Since cold coffee has comparatively less caffeine, it helps reduce the symptoms of drinking too much caffeine. While this may mean little for occasional coffee drinkers, those who drink coffee regularly can greatly benefit from switching to cold coffee.

The Differences Between Hot and Cold Coffee

Hot CoffeeCold Coffee
Hot coffee has 60mg caffeine per 100g of coffeeCold-brewed coffee has 40mg of caffeine per 100g
Hot coffee is more acidicCold coffee is less bitter
Hot coffee smells better because aromatic oils vaporizeAromatic oils in cold coffee are liquid
Hot Coffee is bitter, stronger, and has a scentCold coffee has no smell and tastes milder
Hot coffee reduces stressCold coffee can reduce chances of heart attack by 7%
Hot coffee can cause heartburn and acid refluxCold coffee is better for the digestive system
Hot coffee takes minutes to brewCold coffee needs 20-22 hours to brew
Hot coffee can be used to make a limited number of drinksCold coffee can be served in a lot of ways
Hot coffee can be made using numerous methodsCold coffee is made using the immersion method, or slow drip method
Cold coffee is better for health because it has low caffeine


While it is possible to do a hot coffee, cold coffee comparison, there is no answer to the question of which is better. Both types of coffee have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately falls on which one suits your taste. Still, if you’re looking to de-stress, or don’t have a lot of time, we recommend hot water. However, if you want a burst of flavor and fear digestive problems, go with cold coffee. Whichever type of coffee you choose should depend on your situation and taste. Don’t let public opinion influence your taste. After all, coffee is meant to be enjoyed.

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