Recently, cold brew coffee has evolved as one of the most favorite coffee beverages among the coffee lover community. Iced and cold brew coffees were introduced to enjoy these coffee drinks in their chilled and cold forms. However, at times, especially if the weather is a chilly and cold one, due to our built-in nature, we want even the iced and cold brew coffee to be in a warm state.
That is why a question arises that can you heat up cold brew coffee? A short answer will be yes, however, in order to retain the optimal and original taste, one should follow the proper methods (as discussed below).
Difference between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee
Both cold brew and iced coffee variants have attained a global recognition worldwide. There are number of reasons behind people constantly going behind this trend. Ranging from health benefits to a unique and delicate flavor, there are numerous benefits involved in opting for cold brew coffee instead of a regular one. But when we say cold brew, are we referring to iced coffee or there are some differences between the two?
One of the main difference between the two is their method of preparation. Iced coffee is brewed using hot water (similar to conventional coffee making) initially and then poured over some ice cubes or chilled inside a refrigerator. As a result, you get an iced coffee where the poured over ice one has a sort of diluted flavor due to ice cubes.
On contrary, cold brew coffee does not involve addition of hot water followed by cooling of coffee drink. Rather in cold brew coffee, the beans are soaked in cold water. Then either using a jar (such as Mason-Jar) you can prepare a cold brew concentrate or directly prepare cold brew coffee using a cold brew coffee maker. As compared to iced coffee, cold brew coffee has its original and optimal taste, without any bitterness or diluted flavor.
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What is Cold Brew Concentrate?
As mentioned before, brewing using cold brew concentrate is one of the most famous method that is used to prepare cold brew coffee. Preparing a cold brew concentrate is quite easy and hassle-free. One of the best way to prepare this concentrate is by properly mixing ratio of coffee to water in 1:3 to 1:5 proportion. Resultantly, you will get a saturated coffee concentrate mixture, generally known as cold brew concentrate.
Can You Heat up the Cold Brew Coffee without Ruining it?
As an avid coffee drinker, no one can take even a single sip from a coffee that has lost its flavor and aroma. A batch or cup of cold brew coffee is prepared without using any temperature or hot water. But at times, one have a strong urge of taking a hot beverage due to a cold weather or to satisfy some hot brew cravings.
Therefore, even if it is a chilled coffee drink such as a cold brew coffee, one wants to heat it up to enjoy it in its warm form. A lot of coffee snobs think that if you heat a cold brew coffee, then you are going to ruin its overall flavor, texture and taste. However, truly speaking, based on hundreds of practical experiences, if heated right, you can still enjoy the awesomeness of a cold brew without ruining it. In short, you can easily heat up a cold brew coffee without any deterioration of its characteristics, however, you have to do it right in a precise manner.
Best Methods to Heat Cold Brew Coffee
Based on the availability of items as well as personal preferences, several different methods are being adopted to heat a cold brew coffee. Given below are some of my most favorite and personally tried methods that will provide you with a complete and original taste and aroma of cold brew coffee.
1. Diluting Cold Brew Concentrate with Hot Water
Cold brew concentrate is a saturated and steep form of coffee in water, where coffee is present in 1:3 to 1:5 proportion. Using this concentrate, one can easily prepare a cold brew coffee. However, it may be less known among the coffee folks, but you can easily use similar cold brew concentrate to prepare cold brew in a hot form. It is one of the most easiest and hassle-free method to heat up a cold brew coffee.
You can follow these quick steps to dilute your cold brew with hot water:
- Fill some container with water, heat it to some good temperature (don’t go beyond boiling point).
- You can also use an electric kettle to heat water.
- Rinse your mug using this warm/ hot water, in order to pre-heat your drinking mug.
- Pour some cold brew concentrate in this mug and fill it a little less than half (depends on how strong you want your coffee).
- Finally, pour over the hot water over this concentrate.
- If you want, you may add some cream or sugar, as per your taste preferences.
- Enjoy this heated form of cold brew coffee.
2. Using Microwave Oven – For Ready-To-Drink Cold Brew Coffee
Whether you want to heat some food or a beverage like coffee, a Microwave oven offers a quick as well optimum heating. For cold brew coffee, microwave oven based preparation is quite simple. However, there is a great confusion in this regard because oven based heating of cold brew coffee is only recommended for a certain types of ready to drink cold brew coffees.
Most of the coffee drinkers make a mistake of putting their cold brew concentrate inside an oven. It will destroy its ingredients and believe me, you cannot take even a single sip of such a bitter and worsened heated cold brew. That is why if you have cold brew concentrate and not a ready cold brew, never go for microwaving it.
The best way to heat up a cold brew coffee using an oven is to heat ready to drink cold brew and not the concentrate. Initially, you have to struggle a bit with perfect temperature. However, once your taste buds like the accurate temperature, you can always go for that temperature settings while heating your cold brew. In just under one minute, you will have a perfect heated cup of cold brew with its full taste and texture.
3. Using Stove for Slow Heating Cold Brew Coffee
The method of stove heating is almost similar to adding hot water. You can use this method easily for a cold brew concentrate. Below is a quick step by step method to heat up cold brew concentrate using stove:
- Take a kettle or some other container, fill it with equal parts of both water and cold brew concentrate.
- Put this filled container on a stove and operate it on medium heat.
- Once the mixture appear to start steaming, let it sit for 60 to 90 seconds more and then stop the heat.
- Remove the container from stove and pour the coffee into an open mouthed mug.
- Let the mixture cool down for some time.
- And that’s it, enjoy your freshly heated cold brew coffee.
4. Frothing Cold Brew Coffee
This method involves an espresso maker that is equipped with a steam wand. As we know that coffee makers can be used to froth milk, so cold brew coffee can be frothed in a similar manner. If you can easily follow the above methods, then it is recommended to avoid frothing method. The reason is cold brew is diluted due to steam, which alters its original and optimal taste. Similarly, any leftover water or milk may also deteriorate the taste and you are not going to like it.
You can follow these steps to heat up cold brew coffee using frothing:
- Take cold brew concentrate and place the tip of steam wand on its surface.
- You will see bubbles start forming and a cream type layer on the top of surface.
- To avoid any such bubbly behavior, insert steam wand a bit deeper inside your coffee.
- Remove the wand after achieving the required heating and enjoy your coffee.
Why to Heat Cold Brew Coffee?
Yes, common sense is going to force you ask this question, why to heat a beverage that is designed to be served cold? I mean who is going to heat a hot ice cream, lol? However, in regards to heating cold coffee, there are a number of reasons as why to do this. Below are some of the main motives behind heating a cold brew coffee:
Lesser amount of acidity is one of the main reason behind heating a cold brew. However, as per research there is a great debate, research and contradictions on this topic. Some people think that due to dilution with water as well as quick reaction of oxygen while heating, the acidity is considerably reduced. That is why most of the people having an upset stomach doesn’t feel any issue while drinking a cold brew in its hot form.
For others, there is no difference in acidity whether the cold brew is cold or hot. They think that it greatly depends on how concentrated a batch of cold brew is prepared and not on heating. But still, as compared to other coffees, cold brew coffee is already less acidic in nature.
Big Batch of Coffee
Cold brew concentrate can be easily preserved inside a refrigerator for a number of days. Most of the methods to prepare a heated cold brew involves the usage of a cold brew concentrate. Similarly, each of these heating method of cold brew concentrate involves addition of water. That is why in a single go you can easily prepare from a single cup to as bigger batch of coffee as you want.
Preparing a big batch of coffee is not only convenient but also saves time as well. Similarly, if you don’t want to go through the pain of making fresh coffee every day, you can prepare the cold brew in batches and then preserved inside a fridge for up to two weeks. It is highly recommended to always store your preserved coffees in an airtight container or jar to avoid any birth of microbes or germs, etc.
The Heart Wants what it Wants
Finally, the most important reason behind heating a cold brew coffee is because your heart wants it hot. There is a chilled weather or your body is in need of a hot beverage but you have the cravings for cold coffee. So, in this case you cannot fight your heart, just pick up your cold brew and heat it up.
Things to Avoid When Heating up Cold Brew
Heating up a cold brew coffee is surely an amazing thing to enjoy. But at times, due to certain mistakes, we do not enjoy the real essence of preparing an amazing beverage. Therefore, you should avoid some of these things whenever you are in a mood to heat up cold brew coffee:
- Cold brew concentrate should not be kept for more than 2 weeks inside a fridge.
- Always go for a 1:3 to 1:5 proportion of coffee to water ratio when preparing a cold brew concentrate.
- Avoid using an electric kettle if you have some other container to heat up the brew. Using electric kettle, the heating is quite easy, but later on to clear that mess is a real pain.
- Never ever put your cold brew concentrate inside an oven to heat it up. The microwave method is only recommended for ready to drink cold brew and not cold brew concentrate.
- The frothing method should only be used if there are no other heating alternatives available.
Can we Heat Up an Iced Coffee?
Now as we know that both iced and cold brew coffees are different, a question arises whether we can heat up an iced coffee just liked the cold brew? A short answer will be yes you can easily heat up your iced coffee. But the heating methods are different as compared to the cold brew.
As a simple and easy method you can use a microwave oven to heat up your iced coffee. Other methods include heating up iced coffee slowly over stove or by adding some warm water. But one must keep in mind that iced coffee is not so saturated like cold brew concentrate. Therefore, by adding water in any form will alter its taste and you are not going to really enjoy it.
Does Warm Cold Brew or Iced Coffee Taste Good?
First, let’s talk about the taste of a warmed up cold brew coffee. If done properly, by following the above mentioned methods, you will not face any alteration in the taste, texture or flavor. Believe me, taste wise, a warm cold brew offers an amazing taste as compared to other hot beverages. Therefore, you should not be afraid to heat up cold brew coffee.
For iced coffee, I would never recommend it, except the microwave heating. The reason is iced coffee is already diluted using some ice or cold water and then again diluting with hot water will alter its composition entirely. That’s why while some coffee drinkers still enjoy it, for me the taste is never a likeable one.
Is it Okay to Heat up Cold Brew Coffee? – Conclusion
People get really confused in the discussion of heating up some cold beverage. That’s why for cold brew you will constantly find this confusion that can you heat up cold brew coffee? From the above detailed explanation, one can easily conclude that there is no harm in heating up a cold brew. However, one should follow the proper methods of heating up a cold brew concentrate in order to enjoy the drink in its entirety.
Have you ever tried the recipes of heated up cold brew or iced coffees? If yes, then share your experience in comments.