Are you one of the many people considering heating up their cup of cold brew from yesterday in the microwave?
If so, you probably want to know if you can heat cold brew coffee without ruining a perfectly good cup.
The short answer is that yes, you can indeed heat up cold brew coffee.
The longer response, however, is that the flavor profile will change.
Depending on how you heat your cold brew, you may end up making it more or less acidic.
Let’s examine everything you should know about heating cold coffee.
Can You Heat Cold Brew Coffee?
Yes, you can drink heated cold brew coffee! Cold brew is known for being very smooth in flavor, but it doesn’t have to be enjoyed only as an iced beverage. The best way to enjoy cold brew coffee is to heat it, despite the fact that this seems counterintuitive. The result is hot dark roast coffee without the typical acidity that hot coffee typically contains because the majority of cold brew coffee is frequently made with dark roast coffee blends.
What the Heck is Cold Brew Coffee?
Even though you probably think cold brew is as new as The Weeknd’s latest album, it’s actually been around for hundreds of years. Japan’s 1600s are when the first accounts of coffee first appear. The use of cold brew at that time allowed people to quickly brew and serve large quantities of coffee.
Around the same time, cold brew received a second honorable mention when people started making sweetened cold brew coffee in France. By the 1800s, coffee had established itself as a go-to beverage for sailors and soldiers who required a beverage with a lengthy shelf life.
Cold brew has been consumed for centuries, but that doesn’t mean nothing has changed. The Toddy was created in the previous century, which is when we first began to enjoy cold brew.
This new brew method gave us a way to create cold brew quickly, efficiently, and most importantly, flavorfully!
The Difference Between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee
Cold brew and iced coffee are often confused by consumers. However, if you order one instead of the other you’ll have a bit of a shock when you take your first sip. Because of some significant differences between the two, their flavors are very different.
In contrast to iced coffee, cold brewed coffee is prepared differently. The primary distinction lies in that. For between ten and sixteen hours, the beans are allowed to steep in cold water to create cold brew.
On the other hand, iced coffee is brewed hot and then cooled down with ice. Cold brew coffee is richer and sweeter than iced coffee, which has a tendency to be much more acidic.
Why Heat Up Cold Brew, Anyway?
If you’re not one of the coffee-microwavers in the scenario I mentioned earlier, you’re probably wondering “why would anyone want to heat up cold brew?” After all, just because you can heat up cold brew doesn’t mean that you should.
Most often, people heat cold brew to shorten the time needed for preparation. They can save time by preparing a cup of hot coffee using a cold brew concentrate. The reason for this is that they can make their hot coffee without having to brew it first.
People may also choose to reheat cold brew coffee if they want to achieve a particular flavor. Some people prefer a really smooth cup of coffee, which can be produced by heating cold brew, but I digress.
Benefits of Heating Up Cold Brew
So there is some benefit to warming cold brew, I guess. But what are the major advantages of heating up cold brew coffee?
After all, why not just brew a new pot and get the same flavor?
Well, the truth is that heating up your favorite cold brew concentrate comes with a couple of perks, including:
- It can save time
- It doesn’t dilute your coffee too much
- It’s affordable
Let’s look at these advantages in more detail.
The ability to quickly satisfy your caffeine cravings is undoubtedly the biggest advantage of heating up cold brew. When you’re ready to use it, simply stir in a little hot water from your refrigerator to make cold brew concentrate.
When compared to, say, making a pot of French press, heating up your hot water and making cold brew takes much less time. As a result, if you’re in a hurry, you can save time by skipping your coffee fix.
You can quickly make a cup of coffee without compromising the flavor by heating it up, which is another excellent benefit.
If you add warm water to a cup of drip coffee to warm it up, for instance, you dilute the flavor. Suddenly your coveted cup of coffee tastes more like flavored water than a hearty cup of Joe.
While adding hot water will significantly mute the flavor of cold brew coffee, it is sufficiently potent on its own. Instead, you can savor a hot cup of cold brew coffee that still has a robust and rich flavor.
Cold brew coffee can be heated up for a reasonable price as well. Purchase cold brew coffee concentrate in bulk and spread it out over a few days or even a week!
The concentrated nature of cold brew is what makes this work. You only need a little bit of the concentrate to create a great cup of coffee, making your concentrate last longer.
Just keep in mind that you still need to drink your cold brew before it goes bad. The coffee will go bad if you leave it out too long, defeating the purpose of your money-saving plan.
Does Heating Cold Brew Coffee Increase Acidity?
Yes, warming cold brew coffee does make it more acidic. Compounds like chlorogenic and quinic acid are released when cold brew coffee is heated (or regular coffee is reheated), increasing the acidity of the finished product.
Accordingly, adding hot water to cold brew coffee is preferable to heating the coffee itself as a method of warming it.
The earlier science we discussed comes into play when you use a different heating method, which can alter the flavor of the beverage.
These acids are naturally occurring substances in all coffee, but adding more of them makes the coffee taste more acidic.
This makes it much less likely that an acidic flavor will emerge when heating the water rather than the coffee and adding it to the cold brew.
Using a French Press is another method, in addition to using excellent coffee beans, to achieve the best flavor in your hot or iced coffee.
Is Heated Cold Brew More Acidic?
So you’ve made the decision to warm your cold brew.
You only have one doubt: won’t heating your cold brew make it more acidic?
Contrary to popular customer opinion, cold brew is actually less acidic than some other brew methods. This is a result of the way the coffee is brewed.
However, when you warm up your cold brew, it quickly interacts with the air in the space. As a result, flavor may suffer as a result.
This might result in some flavor degradation and more acidity. However, compared to brewing and reheating a standard drip cup of coffee, this method actually results in a less acidic beverage.
Furthermore, since you won’t need to add additional coffee grounds to your cold brew, the acidity shouldn’t change significantly. In other words, your reheated cold brew won’t actually be any more acidic than its cold counterpart.
Is Cold Brew Better Than Iced Coffee?
Cold brew coffee generally tastes better, is smoother, and is less acidic than iced coffee. This is due to the fact that iced coffee, as opposed to coffee that is brewed with cold or room-temperature water, is hot coffee that has been cooled down.
Read More: 5 Best Iced Coffee Makers (2023 Reviews)
So, the primary difference between cold brew and iced coffee is the way they’re brewed.
Cold brew coffee is brewed with either cold water or room-temperature water. For anywhere between twelve and forty-eight hours, the coffee grounds are soaked in water.
What you end up with is a much more concentrated coffee that is perfect for pouring over ice. Even as the ice cubes melt, your coffee won’t taste watered down.
In fact, the initial flavor may be a little too potent. Cold brew coffee is renowned for having a milder, slightly sweeter flavor. Additionally, it is known to have a stronger buzz.
And because the coffee and water sit in unison for more time, the caffeine concentration of cold brew is higher. A cup of cold brew should typically contain ten to twenty milligrams more caffeine than an iced coffee.
While brewing iced coffee is similar to brewing hot coffee. Coffee is poured over ice after being cooled down to room temperature (time permitting).
One of the main benefits of iced coffee is convenience. It usually only takes ten minutes for most people to brew, or for those of us who have machines, just the push of a button. The best method for getting flavorful iced coffee, however, is cold brewing.
Of course, you will also need to take the cooldown time into account. However, the cooldown period varies depending on a wide range of variables.
Best Ways to Heat Up Your Cold Brew
Let’s discuss how to actually heat up your cold brew now that we’ve covered all the finer points. There are a couple of different ways to do this, although generally heating cold brew with hot water is the best way to heat cold brew.
Still, that’s a personal preference, and everyone has their favorite way to heat the coffee.
To give you a chance to make your own judgment, let’s check out a few different ways to heat cold brew.
Heating With Hot Water
To heat up your cold brew using hot water, you’ll want to mix somewhere between a 1:3 and 1:5 ratio of coffee to hot water. If this sounds scary, just remember that you dilute cold brew to drink it normally. In this case, you’re just doing so with hot water instead of cold.
Warm up your hot water first for this technique. Next, add your desired amount of water on top of one part cold brew in your cup. For a stronger cup, add three parts water. You can add five parts water to make a weaker cup.
Everybody does not own a microwave. But if you’re among the fortunate ones who has one, you can use it to warm your cold brew. Simply zap it quickly to avoid changing the flavor of your coffee.
Simply combine your cold brew concentrate with cold water and put it in a mug that can be microwaved for this method. You can also just place any leftover cold brew from a coffee shop in a microwave-safe cup.
Now, zap the coffee in the microwave for 30 seconds or so. Stir your coffee and enjoy!
You can warm your cold coffee on the stovetop for those of us peasants without a microwave.
You must put your cold brew in a pot for this technique. It should be heated to around 160°F.
The flavor of the coffee will suffer if you allow it to heat up past 167°F. To make sure it doesn’t get too hot, keep a thermometer close at hand.
Once more, I advise choosing ready-to-drink cold brew rather than concentrate.
We don’t like to warm up cold brew in this way.
This method takes quite a bit of time, taking away from the convenience of warming up cold brew.
If you have an espresso machine or steam wand, you can use this device to warm your cold brew.
Pour your cold brew into your steaming cup and proceed as though it were a cup of milk to achieve this.
Place the wand’s tip just about a centimeter under the surface of the liquid. After that, steam the coffee until it creates a thick foam.
Just keep in mind that using a steam wand will slightly dilute your coffee because steam evaporation turns steam into water. Additionally, the bubbles will burst fairly quickly, limiting the duration of your crema to one or two minutes.
Can You Heat Up Cold Brew? Absolutely!
As you can see, the answer to the question “can you heat up cold brew coffee” is a resounding yes!
Even though it might seem a bit unconventional, it’s actually a great way to get that ideal cup of coffee in the morning.
If you enjoy coffee and are looking for more wacky explanations, I can help.
In this article, we took an in-depth look into the world of cold brew coffee.
Yes, you can heat up cold brew coffee, but doing so will alter the flavor. You can end up making your cold brew more or less acidic by heating it up, depending on how you go about it.
Those who know their coffee prefer cold brew to iced. They also take the time to properly heat the cold brew in order to avoid the bitter taste. The best way to accomplish that is by adding hot water to cold brew concentrate that hasn’t already been heated.