Cold brew is one of my summer specials. I love it… and many coffee fans are suckers for the bright and sparkling taste. A question that crossed Jonathans mind was “Can you heat up cold brew coffee?” when he decided to message us on social media.
While we gave Jonathan a good and quick reply – we also sent him a link to the post (this one) that he inspired.
For those of you that are in a rush, the quick answer is yes, you can heat up a cold brew and enjoy a hot cold brew coffee.
There are a number of easy and obvious ways in which you can effectively heat your cold-brewed coffee. Keep reading as we detail them; we’ll get to them in a minute.
What Is Cold Brew?
Cold brew coffee is very different from hot brewed coffee and iced coffee – the latter should not be confused with cold brew.
As the name “cold brew” suggests, it is brewed with cold water using a full immersion process of steeping the coarsely ground coffee in water that is as cold as you get it to be and using the cold steeping process to extract the low temperature compounds from your coffee grounds.
The result is a cup of coffee that is less acidic, less bitter and has a smoother and rounder flavor profile than a regular coffee.
An iced coffee is a regular coffee, usually drip coffee or pour over that has been chilled using ice cubes and thus does not have the same flavor profile as it extracts the high temperature compounds from the coffee beans.
A cold brew, some people recommend brewing it at room temperature and leaving it in your pantry away from harsh lights while it brews. To me and many other coffee lovers and coffee enthusiasts, this is “room temperature brewed coffee” and not cold-brewed.
To get the best results and to ensure the temperature of your coffee remains cold while it is extracting, which can take anything from 12 hours to 24 hours, you really should brew it in your fridge.
Read: Cold brew Vs Hot brew
Can You Heat Up Cold Brew Coffee In The Microwave?
If you have made your own cold brew coffee or bought a cold brew in a store, and it is not a concentrate, you can put it in your microwave and warm it up. Use 15 to 20 second increments to ensure that it gets warm enough but does not boil over.
If you heat it to the point of boiling, you will alter the flavor profile, and it may not be as delicious as you would expect it to be.
How To Heat Up Cold Brew With Your Kettle
A popular and common way of making a cold brew concentrate is to use anything from a 1:1 to 1:2 or even 1:3 coffee to water ratio. The stronger the concentrate, the more water (or milk) you will need to dilute the concentrate.
Note: The stronger the concentrate, the longer it will stay fresh in your fridge.
The simplest and most convenient way of heating coffee of this type is to boil water in your kettle and let it cool down for 20 to 30 seconds.
Here is how to do it step by step.
- 1. Heat your water in your kettle or on your stove.
- 2. Add some boiling water to your coffee cup to pre-heat it.
- 3. Pour one part of your cold brew concentrate into your coffee mug.
- 4. Add the appropriate amount of hot water to dilute the cold brew concentrate.
- 5. Stir well and enjoy the taste of your hot cold brew coffee.
I don’t consider this as the best way, it is the most convenient way. If you don’t own a home espresso machine then this will be your easiest way of warming up your cold-brewed coffee and enjoying it in times of colder weather.
Read: How to make Dunkin iced coffee at home
Microwave – Best For Ready-To-Drink Cold Brew Coffee
Adding your concentrated coffee directly to your microwave and heating is something that coffee connoisseurs advise against. If you heat your concentrate in your microwave, you will negatively affect the flavor.
The obvious benefit of using a microwave is to heat coffee quickly. The best way of using your microwave and not destroying the beautiful, subtle flavor, is to dilute it first and then heat it slowly in the microwave.
Some coffee experts tell you to heat your coffee for one minute. I disagree with giving such direct instructions. It depends on how powerful your microwave is and the very last thing you want is for your cold brew to boil over and end up with a bad coffee.
Too much heat can negatively affect the coffee compounds and produce a coffee that is not so delicious.
The heating process here is a progressive one. Do it in 15 second to 20 second increments and do not let it boil and, above all, dilute your cold brew before you heat it in your microwave.
Steam Heat Your Cold Brew Coffee
This is by far my favorite way of heating cold coffee, cold brew coffee and any type of coffee that I want to heat up.
This method requires the use of an espresso maker that has a steam wand. You simply heat your cold brew in the same way in which you would heat your milk.
Clean your steam wand and place the tip just below the surface of your coffee. Steaming in this way will create a crema foam on top of your hot cold brew coffee.
The bubbles and the crema will not stay there for long. If you don’t want that crema on top, simply put the tip deeper into your coffee.
Your coffee will become every so slightly diluted as a minimum amount of water from the steam will get into your coffee. The result and effect of the taste is unnoticeable.
Heat Your Cold Brew Coffee On Your Stove
This is another very easy way of heating your cold brew coffee, where you can simply add it to a saucepan and make a hot, delicious coffee.
If you are using a concentrate, dilute it first. Then heat it slowly using a heat of 70C to 75C (160F to 170F) and heat it slowly.
As with all methods, do not allow your coffee to boil over.
Does Heating Up Cold Brew Coffee Make It Acidic?
Cold brew coffee still contains acids, it just contains fewer acids and a lower acidity than other coffee drinks. And thus, we can say the acidity is still retained in the water.
Heating your cold brew or cold brew concentrate does not increase the acidity of your coffee. It might break down and make your cup of coffee more bitter and astringent, especially when you are not careful and allow it to boil over.
This is the same for any brewing method.
The Benefits Of Heating Cold Brew Coffee
The one stand out benefit of heating a cold brew coffee is enjoying a delicious and very smooth tasting coffee all year. Personally, I like to make a homemade batch of concentrated cold brew on a Sunday and enjoy heating it up all week long.
Using a concentrate, you can have separate batches for enjoying cold and separate for heating.
There are a number of well documented health benefits of cold brew coffee Vs hot brew. One of the stand-out benefits for many is the reduced acidity is much easier on the stomach and less (if any) acid reflux – this stands true when you’re heating it also. Just don’t let it boil!
If you don’t like the strong tastes of percolated coffee or a shot of espresso, then a cold brew might be the highly caffeinated drink that you are seeking.
Frequently Asked Questions About Can You Heat Up Cold Brew Coffee
Can You Heat Up Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee?
Yes, you can heat up Chameleon cold brew coffee and enjoy it hot. Chameleon cold brew is a concentrated cold brew coffee that you can enjoy hot by simply adding an appropriate amount of hot water to the concentrate or, if you so wish, by adding hot milk.
You can adjust and control the strength of your coffee by the amount of hot water (or hot milk) that you use. If it is not hot enough, a quick few seconds in the microwave should do it or by heating up with a steam wand from your home espresso machine should do the trick.
What Happens If You Heat Up Cold Brew?
When you heat up your cold brew coffee, you alter the temperature, which has no effect at all on the caffeine content of your drink. There is only a slight difference in taste. This ever so slight difference is almost unnoticeable. Most coffee fans will not notice a difference.
Can You Steam Cold Brew Coffee?
steam heating your cold brew coffee with the steam wand is very easy to do and one of the best ways of making a cold brew hot. Be sure to clean the wand both before and afterwards. Only a minimal amount of extra water is added when you steam heat your cold brew coffee in this way.
Can You Add Hot Milk To Cold Brew Coffee?
adding hot milk instead of hot water to your cold brew concentrate is a good way of heating your cold brew coffee and enjoying it hot. It also provides a delicious and different taste to your regular heating of cold brew coffee.
Is It OK To Heat Cold Brew Coffee?
Yes, it is perfectly okay to heat cold brew coffee and enjoy it as a hot coffee. There are many ways of heating it but which every method you choose, heat it gently. My preferred method is to make a very focused 1:1 concentrate and add hot water.
What Happens When You Heat Up Cold Brew?
When you heat your cold brew and enjoy it as a hot coffee, you will ever so slightly alter the flavor, but the change is so subtle that most people will not notice it. As long as you are not adding any additional coffee grounds when you are heating your cold brew you will not raise the acidity.
Does Heating Cold Brew Coffee Make It Acidic?
As long as no additional coffee grounds are added heating your cold brew coffee will not raise the acidity or pH of your cold brew.
Is Cold Brew Better Hot Or Cold?
Cold brew coffee is much better enjoyed when it is cold and fresh. I have a preference for brewing it at a low temperature and leaving it to extract while it is in my fridge to get all low temperature compounds into my brew.
Frappé-Ing It All Up – Can You Heat Up Cold Brew Coffee?
Thanks to our avid and regular reader who mailed us in with his question, can you heat up cold brew coffee, you now not only know that you can heat up cold brew coffee and have a few very easy methods of warming up your cold-brewed coffee and not spooling the flavor profile.
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