If you are a coffee fan, I hope you have tried both cold brew and espresso at least once before. If you have not, here is a chance to get to know what it’s like to drink either one of them. This way, you can make an informed choice when going out to grab a cup of joe.

Cold-brew is considered to be the strongest tasting coffee of the two, this is because cold-brew coffee has more caffeine in it than espresso. The caffeine content gives you the coffee kick and is why it will feel like cold-brew is stronger than espresso.

I will explain why this is and how this can change depending on the person drinking the coffee. Read along, and find out for yourself!

Does the brewing process matter in this equation?

Let’s start by comparing the brewing process of the two coffees. The espresso is made with either an espresso machine or Moka pot.

An espresso machine will push out the coffee with approximately 9 bar, and the coffee will be made in under 30 seconds for most brews.

The brewing process of cold brew coffee

The cold-brew, on the other hand, has a whole different level of brewing to it. The ground coffee will need to infuse with the water for 12 to 24 hours in some cases. So the brewing time and the method used will impact the way your coffee will taste.

Is cold brew stronger than espresso: Does the brewing process matter? This is an image of the French Press

While the water used in the cold-brew coffee will steep with the ground coffee for a certain amount of time, most often, the ground coffee beans will steep with cold water for a certain amount of time. I usually go for around 15 hours of steeping for my cold brew recipe.

At this 15- hour mark, the cold water will have extracted enough coffee flavor to get a good-tasting cold-brew coffee.

When steeping for a longer duration, the coffee will turn slightly bitter and have more body. This happens when the coffee will be steeped for up to 24 hours.

Comparing the flavors of the cold brew, with an espresso

Now taking the espresso, the coffee will need to be ground fine enough to extract the flavors quickly. The hot water will push through the ground coffee, using 9 bars of pressure.

It will take about 30 seconds to extract all the flavors, leaving a strong cup of coffee for you to enjoy.

Espresso can also be made using a Moka pot. This is what I use to make my espressos at home. Making coffee this way is very fun as well. Adding fine ground coffee to your Moka pot and topping it off with water; the Moka pot will start its brewing process.

The coffee will be made in a few minutes, depending on the amount of coffee you are making.

While I was comparing the flavor profile of the two, the first thing that got to mind was the intense flavors the espresso had to bring. I started by tasted the espresso first before trying the cold brew I made the other day.

The cold-brew flavors were much more intense than the espresso, almost like a fuller body, with more sour and bitter notes to it. The flavors were not overpowering though, what was left were the punchy yet full-bodied flavors.

Comparing the flavor profile of the two coffees

While making a comparison between the two coffees, the first thing that I noticed was that the cold-brew had a full body to it, with what seems to be a slightly nutty and chocolaty taste to it.

On the other hand, the espresso was much more subtle in taste; still, the strong flavors were there but comparing it to the cold brew, it was nowhere near as full-bodied.

Sometimes when extracting an espresso at home, you will find yourself having trouble with the right extraction. The espresso may taste sour or even bitter on some occasions.

Image of an espresso

Do you want to know how to use an espresso machine at home? If so, then I suggest reading this article here.

Does the origin of the coffee impact the flavor of both coffees?

The origin of the coffee really matters when making a strong cup of coffee. Some countries don’t offer the same full-bodied coffee bean as others.

But can offer other taste properties. The temperature to which the coffee roaster has heated the coffee beans matters even more though, let me explain why.

The coffee roaster will receive a batch of fresh coffee beans. Next up is roasting the coffee beans. The coffee roaster will now determine which temperature the coffee beans will be heated to. This will make the coffee beans a blond, light, medium, or dark roast.

Would you like to know which coffee roast has more caffeine? I wrote an article about this, explaining the differences in coffee roasts and much more. You can check it out by clicking here!

On the left: espresso coffee beans for 1 cup of coffee. On the right: cold-brew coffee beans for 1 cup of coffee

The origin also plays a role in the flavor profile. Not all coffee beans are equal. The processing, altitude matter as well.

Coffee is produced all over the world, with every county having its distinct flavor profile. Some coffee beans taste sweeter than others, and some coffee beans even have a slightly more acidic taste.

If you would like to know more about the processing of coffee beans, and also how the altitude at which the coffee beans grow matter? All these questions are answered in this article.

How much does the size of the cup matter?

Cold-brew coffee will most likely be served with ice cubes in it, making it a thirst-quenching drink. You’ll most likely take a bit longer finishing the cold brew coffee rather than the espresso.

When I make cold brew coffee at home, I almost always go for a cup of cold brew for one serving. This way, I will be able to enjoy this drink for a longer period. When making espresso, I know I will finish it in 2 gulps because of its size.

Is cold brew stronger than espresso: Does the size of the cup matter?
On the left: a fresh espresso. On the right a cold-brew coffee

Sometimes, there isn’t anything wrong with the smaller-sized drink. However, I like to drink a bigger-sized cold brew coffee on certain occasions, like sitting out in the sun. I will most likely save the espresso for another time.

What if you leave your espresso to cool down for a bit?

Cooled-down coffee tends to taste stronger. Have you ever had a cup of coffee, and the last gulp of coffee sitting at the bottom of your cup tastes really strong?

This has to do with the fact that the coffee particles will dive to the bottom of your cup and chill out right there, waiting for you to drink the last bit of your coffee.

The same thing happens with coffee that has been cooled down because you forgot about it for some time. The flavors will develop even more, even after the brewing is done. The coffee will taste really strong now, compared to just a few minutes before.

I once left my espresso to cool down and drank the last bit of it. Its taste is so strong; it’s almost like drinking a ristretto, with a lot more acidity.

Does cold-brew coffee have more caffeine than an espresso?

Cold-brew has more caffeine in it than espresso. This is because you use double, sometimes triple the number of coffee beans to make cold brew coffee.

Most of the time, you’ll be making a cold-brew extract. This cold-brew extract can be diluted using water, milk, or milk alternatives. This way, you can dilute your cold-brew coffee and make it around the same caffeine content as an espresso.

However, this all depends on personal preference. I like to drink my cold-brew coffee strong. But I know some of you don’t feel the same about it. You will need to find out how strong you like to drink your cold-brew coffee, don’t worry; it’s a fun journey!

Is nitro cold brew stronger than espresso?

Nitro cold brew is stronger than espresso. Using pressurized gas, nitro cold brew has a different flavor profile but is still stronger than espresso. Nitro cold brew has the same flavor characteristics as regular cold brew coffee, which is also stronger than espresso.

Nitro cold brew coffee is made the same way as regular cold brew coffee, but the difference is that nitro cold brew is made using pressurized gas.

Because of the pressurized gas, nitro cold brew tastes fluffy and airy, making this such a great drink. Nitro cold brew is made with a regular cold brew as the basis.

Conclusion

There it is, the comparison in flavor of two strong coffee drinks. If you haven’t tasted either one of them, I hope you’ll both give them a try someday. Hopefully, I have given you enough information to make that decision once you feel like trying them out.

If you have any idea for a fun comparison article that I can write or if you have any questions regarding anything coffee related, then let me know by commenting below or contacting me directly by pressing the “Contact Me” button at the top!

If you want to learn more about home brewing coffee, you can check out the links listed below. Either way, thanks for stopping by; keep drinking coffee, and have a great day!

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On my coffee blog you will find everything you need in order to start brewing coffee at home. Ranging from the basics; to the newest coffee recipes everybody talks about!

2 Comments

  1. Is a ristretto stronger than an espresso and a cold brew? And what about the taste?

    • Hi Luuk,

      Ristretto is even stronger than an espresso or cold brew. Ristretto uses the same amount of coffee beans as an espresso but half the amount of water.
      The taste of a ristretto is very different from the espresso or cold brew. Much stronger and bold flavors are found in a ristretto.

      – Jeffrey

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