Is espresso stronger than cold brew coffee? Let's explore the key differences today! We've all been there. You're at the coffee shop and you can't decide whether or not to get an espresso, a cold brew, or some other type of drink.
Which is stronger? Espresso or Cold Brew? The answer depends on who you ask! Some people say that espresso has more caffeine than cold brew because it's made using finely ground beans while others argue that this isn't true and that both beverages have roughly equal amounts of caffeine depending on their preparation methods. This debate will be ongoing for years to come!
Is espresso stronger than cold brew? To figure out which beverage is actually stronger we need to look at how they are prepared as well as what types of coffees are used in each drink. Let's take a deep dive in this article today.
Is Espresso Stronger Than Cold Brew?
The answer can be complicated to some extent, but if we take a look at the caffeine content of cold brew it is higher than espresso, therefore making it stronger.
So if you love strong coffee then having cold brew is the better option, not only strong but contains much more caffeine per serve than espresso.
Now with that out the way let's explore some key differences between espresso vs cold brew coffee.
Recommended Article: Best Light Roast for Cold Brew Coffee
The Foundations of Espresso
Espresso coffee is prepared by delivering 9 bars of pressure to push water through the coffee grounds, which is finer than your typical drip method.
The drink is usually produced in about 15 seconds, and it is condensed due to the pressing of the coffee. The water temperature and pressure used are usually between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit and 100-120 psi, respectively.
Espresso can be made with a variety of different beans, but espresso from dark roasted beans generally has less caffeine because they have been roasted longer which reduces their caffeine.
The best part about espresso is that it can be used as a base for many different types of drinks like cappuccinos, lattes and more.
The Foundations of Cold Brew
We love cold brew coffee that's why we wanted to compare espresso vs cold brew! Cold brew coffee is a premium version of your favorite, iced coffee beverage.
Why is it premium? We'll the process to prepare cold brew generally takes more time than the regular iced coffee. This is because cold brew uses less water, extracting a stronger taste - which isn't for everyone.
Cold-brew starts with coarse ground beans that are usually soaked overnight in water. This means it's ready to be served or used in another drink by the next day.
It's typically way more expensive than regular iced coffee, but it's definitely more delicious since the soaking process helps release the oils and flavors from the beans.
Despite that, the tasting notes and flavors one can experience from a perfect cold brew are completely different than those from regular iced coffee.
Cold Brew vs. Espresso: Taste
Cold brew coffee compared to espresso yields a very different taste . Since espresso is usually made with darker roasted beans the taste itself is more bitter and strong which some people absolutely love.
As a result, most people experience true undertones the beans claim to have, like tasting hazelnut or a rich silky chocolate tasting note.Moreover, because of the smaller amount of water used during the process, it's thicker which results in a more intense flavor.
When you have cold brew coffee, the taste is usually bold and full bodied. Cold brew coffee is not as bitter and intense like espresso, and therefore the coffee tends to be more sweet and flavorful, and much more smoother.
Regardless of how you like your coffee, the taste of a cold brew and an espresso is very different because it depends on what kind of beans are used as well as the methods that are used in order to prepare them!
How Much Caffeine in Cold Brew vs Espresso?
According to healthline, cold brew coffee has approximately 200mg to 16oz of coffee compared to about 60mg per shot of espresso.
Since cold brew is generally consumed in higher quantities due to its smoothness, it can be seen that overall it does contain more caffeine than espresso.
There are many factors that influence the caffeine content in cold brew or espresso and these can include;
- Beans: As we mentioned earlier, the type of beans being used to make cold brew versus espresso impacts the caffeine content. The darker roasted beans typically contain less caffeine than lightly roasted beans which are used in espresso.
- Type of Caffeine: Beet that different types of coffee have varying levels of caffeine. For example, Robusta has more caffeine than Arabica. You can find out more here: Is Robusta Coffee Stronger Than Arabica?
- Water Temperature: If you remember back to chemistry, higher temperatures allow for molecules to break down faster. Therefore hot water can extract more caffeine than cold water and we all know why we prefer our iced coffee with cold water!
So overall, it all comes down to why you prefer your coffee. Is it the taste that matters most to you or is it the caffeine? Is a balance of both important?
These are important questions to ask yourself when preparing a cold brew coffee or espresso.
What is Prepared Much Quicker? Cold brew or Espresso
Without any doubt, espresso is prepared far quicker than cold brew coffee! In fact, it takes on average 15 to 30 seconds to prepare a perfect shot of espresso.
The process for making cold brew is much more complex and longer than that of espresso, but it's totally worth the wait.
To us, we prefer waiting overnight for a seriously good cold brew, but there is a way to prepare cold brew in less than an hour by using a rapid cold brew method.
But that's only when it's scorching hot and we really want cold brew coffee! If time is of the essence then espresso is your go-to.
What is the Best Roast for Espresso?
If you want to make seriously good espresso then we highly recommend you get a decent espresso machine, capable of delivering 9 bars of pressure. Check out our best espresso machines here.
Besides having a really good espresso machine you'll want to get the best roast for it. Medium roasted coffee is the perfect option and illy espresso is fantastic for this type of machine.
The darker the roast, the oilier (or more caffeinated) a bean will be because the longer it has been roasted for.
What is the Best Roast for Cold Brew?
For cold brew, you want to use a light roast because dark roasted beans are bitter and heavy.
Lightly roasted coffee beans will make your cold brew taste fruity and bright, and produce a medium-bodied coffee that goes down smoothly.
Final Thoughts - Is Espresso Stronger than Cold Brew?
We hope that you found this article helpful. It is always best to experiment with different beans and brewing methods until you find what suits your tastes the best. If espresso coffee isn't for you, or if it's not strong enough, try cold brew instead!
Cold brewed coffee has less caffeine than espresso but more caffeine than regular drip coffee so it could be a good alternative for those who want a jolt of energy without the crash effect that comes from consuming too much caffeine at once.
Espresso can also have an intense taste that may not appeal to everyone; there are plenty of ways to make delicious iced drinks even if they aren't made in an espresso machine- just ask any barista!