Pour over coffee vs cold brew

Image courtesy of Blue Bottle Coffee


While iced pour over coffee has become increasingly popular in recent months, did you know that it’s made using a completely different method from cold brew coffee? In fact, iced coffee made using the pour over method produces an entirely different tasting cup of coffee.


Brewing Process

The Japanese method of iced pour over coffee involves brewing your hot pour over coffee onto ice and melting it to instantly get iced coffee, whereas cold brew is a long, slow, overnight process (takes 12 hours or more) that originated in New Orleans.

With pour over coffee, you can easily make a single serving, but when making cold brew coffee you usually need to brew a huge pot of it. Check out this recipe by Blue Bottle Coffee for an example. Because cold brew requires much more time and preparation (as well as a lot more coffee), you won’t be able to get it whenever you want unless you go to a café that offers it.

If you do take the time to make your own cold brew, be prepared to waste quite a lot of coffee if it doesn’t work out. Once you’ve succeeded, though, it can be very rewarding.



Because pour over coffee uses hot water to filter through the grounds, a stronger brew is extracted. A typical pour over is clean and crisp, bringing out the brighter floral notes of the coffee. Even when making iced pour over coffee, the amount of water used is adjusted so that the final concentration of your brew is just right.

Cold brew, on the other hand, uses cold water to slowly and gradually draw out flavor from the coffee grounds. As a result, cold brew coffee is often described as rich, sweet, and syrupy, with little bitterness.

Once ready, the brew is filtered through a mine mesh so you may still get some amount of sediment in your coffee. In some cases, cane sugar syrup is added. Cold brew is also usually cut with milk for a dense yet smooth drink.


Be it a pour over coffee or cold brew, you’re sure to get a sweeter and more flavorful coffee than with other brewing methods.