Does Cold Brew Have More Caffeine? – The Ultimate Answer

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Cold brew is becoming increasingly popular these days. Some coffee-lovers claim it is healthier than traditional coffee, but many people want to know whether it is stronger than regular drip. 

Why? Because when it comes to coffee, people are mostly concerned if it provides enough energy boost to keep you active all day. So, keep reading this article to find out the answer: Does cold brew have more caffeine?

Does Cold Brew Have More Caffeine?

The answer depends on which cold brew you are looking at, but the answer is yes in most cases. However, there are still some crucial points that we need to look into.

In general, hot water removes caffeine more effectively from coffee grounds than cold water.

That explains why you need to soak the grounds considerably longer to compensate for the lack of appropriate extraction temperature when brewing coffee with cold water.

Cold-brew, on the other hand, as the concentrate, usually has a higher ratio of coffee and water, even as a twice as hot brew. Hence, people often dilute cold brew with water before serving.

Nevertheless, even after dilution, a 12 fl. oz. (350 ml) cup of cold brew still has more caffeine than the same serving of conventional iced coffee. That is because the former possesses a considerably bigger volume of ground coffee.

With that being said, if you make a batch of cold brew and a batch of scorching brew using the same coffee grind size and coffee-to-water ratio for both, the caffeine concentration might not be significantly different. 

However, there is a substantial distinction between the ground beans used for making conventional coffee and cold brew coffee.

For example, when making a liter (34 fl. oz.) of French press coffee, a barista uses 60 grams (2 oz.) of coffee grounds. But when preparing a batch of cold brew with the same amount of water, it takes 160 grams (5.6 oz.) of ground beans – which is 2.6 times higher than regular coffee.

As a result, we have a cold brew diluted 1:1 with water (equal parts of cold brew and water).

For hot and cold brew, Starbucks uses the same coffee-to-water ratios as the aforementioned coffee-to-water ratios.

When you order a cold brew, the barista pours concentrate into the first line of the Starbucks cup, dilutes it with water in the third line, and then adds ice cubes to the last line. When making an iced coffee, the barista fills the cup to the third line with coffee before adding the ice cubes.

A grande cup of Starbucks cold brew (16 fl. oz. or 470 ml) has 205 mg of caffeine, while a grande cup of standard Starbucks iced coffee has 165 mg.

The 50 percent water dilution is insufficient to compensate for the concentrate, which is 2.6 times higher than the coffee-to-water ratio.

Consequently, iced coffee from Starbucks has a lower caffeine content than its cold brew.

A medium-sized cup of cold brew from Dunkin contains less caffeine than a medium-sized cup of iced coffee. So they may either use different coffee-to-water ratios or dilute the cold brew with extra water.

So, to sum up, the amount of caffeine content in cold brew mostly depends on the coffee volume that you use in the production of a batch. It is the key reason leading to the higher concentration of caffeine in most cold brew drinks.

How Is Cold Brew Made?

Cold brew coffee is typically made by keeping coffee beans in water for several hours at an ambient or cold temperature. Depending on what you wish your cold brew to taste like, cold brewing can take between 8 and 24 hours.

This gradual, low-temperature brew makes this drink taste considerably different from the hot brews of the same coffee beans.

Cold brew is also frequently generated as a concentrate subsequently diluted to create a flavorful taste. While the majority of drip coffees and pour-over coffees use a roughly 1:16 brewing ratio of coffee and water (for example, 20 grams coffee grounds cold-brewed with nearly 320 ml water), the ratio for cold brewing is much less. Additionally, cold brew drinks have a larger range of selections to suit varied tastes.

How Much Caffeine Is In Cold Brew?

Cold brew has a wide range of caffeine components. You can purchase this type of coffee in a ready-to-drink state from a supermarket or a coffee shop, or you can make your own cold brew coffee. 

Caffeine levels in each option can vary significantly. Stok Cold Brew, for example, contains 145 mg of caffeine per drink. A similar Stumptown drink has 279 mg per serve. Bizzy’s, for instance, has 750 mg of caffeine per serving; nevertheless, this is not a common caffeine quantity for a cold brew. A tall cup of Starbucks cold brew contains 155 mg of caffeine. 

In comparison, a similar drink from Dunkin Donuts contains 174 milligrams of caffeine per serving. Caffeine intake of 400 mg per day is normally a safe amount; thus, most of these beverages are within that range.

The Final Thought

So, next time whoever asks you, “Does cold brew have more caffeine than regular coffee?”- I believe you will be highly confident to give them a thorough answer! 

With that stated, a cup of cold brew normally contains more caffeine than a cup of iced coffee, drip coffee, or even a shot of espresso. So do not be surprised if it makes you jittery when you get one at your favorite coffee shop. Just grab one and deep in its flavorful taste!

Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California, Berkeley. And then, I finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). ugvermont.com is a website that I dedicate my whole heart to sharing all knowledge related to coffee. Read more