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Is Cold Brew Stronger Than Espresso?

Rebecca Hanlon
Last Updated: March 14th, 2023

There are tons of different ways to prepare your coffee, with everything from a simple espresso to an icy cup of cold brew. The question is, is cold brew stronger than espresso?

Well, the quick answer is a resounding no. But, the long answer is a bit more detailed than this. Keep reading to learn more about cold brew vs espresso.

What Is Cold Brew?

cold brew coffee glass

To understand which of these two drinks is stronger, you need to understand each of the individual drinks.

Cold brew is a beverage made by steeping coffee beans in cold water or at room temperature. Usually, you’ll need to steep the beans for anywhere from six to twenty-four hours at a time.

The longer you soak the beans, the more concentrated the coffee will be.

Once you’ve finished creating your concentrate, you’ll need to dilute the brew down with water. This makes it smoother, less bitter, and less acidic than other cold coffee drinks.

The caffeine content in your final cup of cold brew depends on the amount of water that’s added to the concentrate.

In general, however, you’ll find just 200 mg of caffeine in a 16-ounce cup. That’s about 150 mg less than you’d find in a cup of regular drip coffee.

What Is Espresso?

Next, let’s talk about espresso.

Espresso is one of the most popular ways of brewing coffee, most likely because of how many people enjoy adding it to lattes and cappuccinos!

Espresso is nothing more than super concentrated coffee brewed by forcing hot water through coffee grounds under high pressure.

In order to prepare espresso, you’ll need an espresso machine. The espresso machine makes it possible for you to create enough pressure to brew up a cup of coffee.

Espresso shots are very small and are usually served in shot glasses.

Although espressos have a stronger, more intense flavor than a cup of coffee, it actually contains less caffeine. This is mostly due to its size. In a shot of espresso, you’ll find just 63 mg of caffeine. That’s not much caffeine at all!

The Difference Between Cold Brew and Espresso

Okay, so we know what both cold brew and espresso are. But, what makes each of them different?

Well, there are two major differences between cold brew and espresso. For one thing, cold brew is prepared using cold water while espresso is prepared using hot water.

On top of that, cold brew involves steeping the coffee beans for several hours at a time. On the other hand, espresso shots take only about 18 seconds to pour.

Another major difference between the two drinks is the size. Cold brew is a much larger drink than a shot of espresso.

Is Cold Brew Stronger Than Espresso?

cold brew coffee in jar

Okay, okay. Enough about the drinks. Let’s talk about which is stronger!

An ounce of espresso contains more caffeine than an ounce of Cold Brew, but due to the difference in their serving sizes, a cup of cold brew would contain more caffeine than a cup of espresso.

The typical serving size for a cold brew is eight to thirty-two ounces. The typical shot of espresso is one fluid ounce.

That’s a pretty big difference, especially in terms of caffeine! On the other hand, if we’re talking about how strong the drink tastes the answer might be a bit different.

When we talk about the strength of flavor, cold brew is stronger and has more body due to the number of coffee beans that were used in the preparation of the drink.

Cold brew tends to have a much smoother flavor than a shot of espresso. So, even though it has more caffeine, it’s going to be a much more intense cup of coffee.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’ve still got a few questions about cold brew vs espresso, I hear you. Figuring out the difference between the many types of coffee can be extremely difficult.

Here are the answers to a couple of frequently asked questions.

How Strong is Cold Brew?

Even though caffeine has quite a bit of caffeine, it’s actually less bitter and has up to 60% less acid than hot brewed coffee. As a result, the flavor isn’t as strong as your typical drip coffee or even an iced coffee.

How Do You Drink Cold Brew Coffee?

If you’re just getting into the wonderful world of cold brew, you might be confused as to how you should drink it. For those who like black coffee, just add cold water and ice!

Or, if you prefer milky drinks, add a splash of half and half and maybe a bit of simple syrup.

Is an Americano or Espresso Stronger?

An americano is just espresso with hot water on top. As a result, while an americano is less concentrated than an espresso, they both have the same amount of caffeine.

Is Cold Brew Stronger Than Espresso

As you can see, cold brew is definitely stronger than espresso. Despite the fact that it might taste smoother and less acidic, the caffeine content is definitely higher than espresso.

If you prefer a smooth cup of black coffee, a cold brew is probably the beverage you should go for. That’s especially the case if you’re wanting to give yourself a bit of a pick-me-up!

On the other hand, if you want a small beverage that won’t fill you up, espresso is the way to go.

Regardless of which you pick, I’m sure that you’ll love either one. Both are delicious ways to enjoy the world’s favorite drink.

About The Author

Rebecca Hanlon

Rebecca has been a blogger for over 5 years, before that enjoying a number of jobs to fund her passion for travel. She's taught English as a foreign language, a part-time Barista, a waitress, and a tour guide.

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