Cold Brew Showdown: Refrigerator vs. Room Temperature – Is There a Difference?

Hello coffee lovers! I’m back with another epic coffee experiment, and this time it’s all about cold brew. We all know that cold brew is a fantastic way to enjoy our favorite bean – it’s smooth, it’s strong, it’s incredibly refreshing. But one question I often get asked is about the brewing process: should you cold brew your coffee in the fridge or at room temperature? Is there a difference between the two? Well, today we’re going to find out!

The Basics of Cold Brewing

Before we dive into the fridge vs. room temperature debate, let’s do a quick recap of what cold brewing is. Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period of time-typically 12 to 24 hours. This long extraction process results in a coffee concentrate that’s often smoother and less acidic than traditional hot brews.

Compare Cold Brew Methods: Refrigerator vs. Room Temperature

In an experiment aimed at exploring the differences between refrigerator and room temperature brewing for cold brew coffee, I used consistent variables such as coffee type, grind size, water quantity, and brew time. The only variable examined was the brewing location: one batch was refrigerated and the other was left at room temperature.

Refrigerator Cold Brew

Refrigerator brewing is the conventional method often recommended for cold brew recipes. The lower temperature in the refrigerator allows for a slower extraction process, potentially resulting in a smoother and more complex flavored brew. After allowing the refrigerated batch to steep for 24 hours, the resulting coffee exhibited the expected characteristics. It had a smooth texture and its flavor profile was balanced and refreshing. A subtle, pleasant hint of chocolate remained as an aftertaste.

Room Temperature Cold Brew

In contrast, brewing at room temperature slightly accelerates the extraction process, potentially resulting in a stronger brew. After allowing the room temperature batch to steep for the same 24-hour period, I found that the coffee had a slightly bolder and more robust flavor compared to the refrigerator batch. It maintained a smooth quality, but with an added kick to its flavor profile, providing a satisfyingly rich and bold experience.

Comparing these two methods, it is clear that the brewing temperature has a significant impact on the final flavor and characteristics of cold brew coffee. The refrigerator method tends to produce a smoother and more nuanced brew, while room temperature brewing can produce a stronger and bolder flavor. Ultimately, the choice between the two methods comes down to personal preference and the desired taste experience.

The Verdict

After conducting the refrigerator vs. room temperature cold brew experiment, it’s time to deliver the verdict. Both methods have their merits and offer unique flavor profiles to suit different taste preferences. So which one should you choose? Let’s break it down.

If you’re looking for a cold brew that’s smooth, refreshing, and has delicate flavor notes, the refrigerator method is your best bet. The slower extraction process at cooler temperatures allows for a more nuanced and well-rounded flavor experience. Imagine sipping a chilled glass of cold brew with subtle hints of chocolate dancing on your palate. It’s an excellent choice for those who appreciate a smooth, easy-drinking coffee with a touch of elegance.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a cold brew with a little more oomph, a bolder flavor that will wake up your taste buds, then the room temperature method is the way to go. By brewing at room temperature, you’ll get a slightly stronger and more robust brew that packs a punch. Imagine a rich, full-bodied cup of cold brew with a satisfying kick, perfect for those who like their coffee a little more intense.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. Experimenting with both methods will allow you to discover your ideal cold brew style. Whether you gravitate toward the smooth and nuanced flavors of the fridge method or crave the bold and robust flavors of room temperature brewing, the beauty of cold brew lies in its versatility.

The Final Sip

Whichever method you choose, remember that the beauty of cold brew (and coffee in general) is the room for experimentation. Try different brewing methods, different coffee beans, different steep times, and find what works best for your palate. After all, the best coffee is the one you enjoy the most.

So keep brewing, keep experimenting, and most importantly, keep enjoying your coffee journey. Happy brewing!


Is there a difference between cold brewing in the fridge vs room temp?

If you brew using refrigerated water, it’s even colder, requiring more time. So, while it may take 12 hours to brew on the counter, it could take 17 hours, for example, to reach the same extraction in-fridge.

Should I cold brew at room temp or in fridge?

Room temp is fine, but you want to get the cold brew in a fridge as soon as it’s done filtering to get it cold as quickly as possible. Creating an ice bath and letting whatever vessel you filtered into swim around in there expedites the cooling process rapidly.

Is putting coffee in the fridge the same as cold brew?

Just based on appearances, cold brew looks just like iced coffee — but it’s not the same. Iced coffee is made by brewing hot coffee, letting it cool, and then pouring it over ice. Basically, it’s just standard coffee that someone put in the fridge.

Can you cold brew at room temp?

As such, it is perfectly acceptable to store your cold brew at either room temperature or in the fridge during the brewing process. Both methods will have the same effect, with the only real difference between the two being the time it takes to reach the desired extraction or concentration level.

Why brew cold brew at room temp?

For brewing your cold brew, you can do either. Room temperature will give a slightly stronger taste.

Does store bought cold brew need to be refrigerated?

The concentrate should be stored in the fridge once the brewing is complete. From then you have 8-14 days before the flavors begin to decay rapidly.

How long should cold brew steep in fridge?

18 to 24 hours

Stick it in the fridge: Use cold water (filtered, if you want to really get specific) and let the brew sit in the fridge for 18 to 24 hours before straining.

Is Dunkin cold brew stronger than iced coffee?

A cold brew has 205 milligrams. In a weird twist of events, Dunkin’ Donuts’ iced coffee rings in at 198 milligrams. This is significantly stronger than its cold brew, which tops out at 174 milligrams.

Is cold brew different than iced coffee?

Thus, the flavor of cold brew coffee versus traditionally brewed iced coffee is significantly different. Cold brew coffee is smoother and sweeter than brewed iced coffee, most notably because it lacks the acidity and bitterness found in hot brewed coffee.