Is Cold Brew Stronger - Unlocking the Caffeine Mystery!

Is Cold Brew Stronger? – Unlocking the Caffeine Mystery!

Last updated on January 22nd, 2024 at 12:42

That question, Is cold brew stronger?, is answered in detail in this article as I talk about the coffee drinks strength in terms of flavor intensity and the caffeine content in relation to other popular drinks like iced coffee, latte, Americano and more.

Here is the quick answer if you are in a rush – a cold brew is stronger than most drinks as it is a highly caffeinated beverage that uses a lot of coffee to make it. Due to the brewing method which uses cold water extraction, it is one of the mellowest tasting coffee beverages with a very low flavor intensity – even when brewed with a dark roasted coffee.

Keep reading for the full details and the more detailed answer.

Cold Brew Stronger?

When the question is cold brew stronger is asked, there are two ways of looking at and answering this question.

The first angle is the caffeine content and strength of drink in terms of the energy boost.

The other way is from the intensity of the flavor, is it stronger tasting.

The second part is easy to address as cold brew in terms of the coffee flavor very mellow, well-rounded, balanced and low acidity. It is one of the weaker tasting coffee beverages when compared to other hot coffee or cold coffee drinks.

The caffeine content when compared to regular coffee drinks, bet they hot or cold coffee beverages, it is stronger and has a higher caffeine content.

The caffeine kick from a cold-brewed coffee ranges from 155 mg in a Tall 12 Oz (360 ml) to 360 mg in a Trenta30 Oz (900 ml).

The table below compares Starbuck cold brew coffee with popular regular coffee drinks at the world’s most popular coffee shop.

Drink Size Regular Cold Brew Coffee Iced Coffee Caffe Latte Caramel Macchiato Cappuccino Flat White
Tall 12 Oz (360 ml) 155 mg 120 mg 75 mg 75 mg 75 mg 130 mg
Grande 16 Oz (480 ml) 205 mg 165 mg 150 mg 150 mg 150 mg 195 mg
Venti 24 Oz (720 ml). 310 mg 235 mg 150 mg 150 mg 150 mg 195 mg
Trenta 30 Oz (900 ml). 360 mg 285 mg N/A N/A N/A N/A

Note: For cold coffee drinks a Venti is 24 Oz (720 ml) while for hot beverages a Venti is 20 Oz (600 ml).

Read: Starbucks cold brew caffeine

Is Cold Brew Stronger Than Regular Coffee?

Yes, cold brew coffee is stronger than most regular coffee drinks as far as the caffeine boost goes.

Regular coffee, like brewed coffee from Pike Place coffee bean, has more caffeine as it has 235 mg to 410 mg of caffeine.

  • Tall 12 Oz (360 ml): 235 mg.
  • Grande 16 Oz (480 ml): 310 mg.
  • Venti 20 Oz (600 ml): 410 mg.

The drink is not available in the Trenta 30 Oz (900 ml) drink size. It also has a stronger and more dominant traditional coffee flavor.

When compared to other regular coffee beverages like a mocha, flat white, latte macchiato, caramel latte and many others a cold brew has more caffeine and can be accurately described as stronger.

Is Cold Brew Stronger Than Espresso?

When it comes to the caffeine content of a cold brew it has a lot more caffeine than an espresso; in fact, the smallest drink size has more caffeine than a double shot of espresso and the largest drink size has almost the equivalent of 5 shots of espresso.

In terms of flavor – it is no contest here either as an espresso is far more intense and bolder than the incredibly mellow cold-brewed coffee.

Is Cold Brew Stronger Than A Latte


A latte is a milky coffee beverage that is made with a shot or two of espresso and steamed milk using an espresso to steamed milk ratio of 1:2. Each shot of espresso has 75 mg of caffeine and thus cold brew coffee has more caffeine.

In terms of flavor, it is neither here nor there which is stronger as a latte is a very milky tasting coffee.

Is Cold Brew Stronger?
Cold Brew Is Stronger

Is Cold Brew Stronger Than Americano?

A caffe Americano, be it iced or regular version of the beverage, is an espresso-based coffee that is diluted with hot water or cold water depending on it being a hot Americano or an iced Americano.

The drink is made with 1 to 4 shots of espresso, meaning it has 75 mg to 300 mg of caffeine depending on the size ordered.

A cold brew coffee has 155 mg to 360 mg of caffeine and thus on the face of it is stronger than a caffe Americano.

Comparing size for size as a matter of accuracy, the Grande 16 Oz (480 ml) has more caffeine than the same drink size for cold brew coffee. It’s 225 mg Vs 205 mg. This is the only irregularity.

Is Cold Brew Stronger Than Iced Coffee?

Yes, cold brew is stronger and more caffeinated than an iced coffee for all drink sizes that the beverage is sold in. It has 120 mg to 285 mg of caffeine, which is a lot weaker than the 155 mg to 360 mg of caffeine that a cold brew has.

Is Cold Brew Healthy?

Yes, cold brew coffee can be considered as healthy. As a matter of fact, all coffee drinks as long as they are not loaded with sugar and calories due to the various flavored syrups, sweet cream and heavy cream.

There is a whole body of scientific research, thousands of which are peer-reviewed that proves the health benefits of coffee that range from your brain health, your heart and cardio vascular health, your liver health and more.

Coffee is packed with antioxidants, flavonoids and phenolic compounds as well as nutrients that are good for yoru body. One of which, Chlorogenic acid, is only found in coffee.

Cold brew coffee is considered to be healthier due to having a greater concentration of coffee used to make the drink and due to being cold-brewed it is less acidic with up to 66% less acidity than other coffee beverages, meaning it is easier on your stomach.

Frequently Asked Questions About Is Cold Brew Stronger

How Much Stronger Is Cold Brew Than Coffee?

Cold brew coffee is stronger than most other hot and coffee beverages by varying amounts of total caffeine content.

Check the table below as a guide to just how much more caffeine is in cold brew coffee than other popular coffee drinks.

Drink Size Cold Brew Coffee Iced Coffee Iced Latte Iced Americano Iced Flat White Iced Cappuccino Iced Mocha
Tall 12 Oz (360 ml) 155 mg 120 mg 75 mg 150 mg 90 mg 75 mg 95 mg
Grande 16 Oz (480 ml) 205 mg 165 mg 150 mg 225 mg 130 mg 150 mg 175 mg
Venti 24 Oz (720 ml) 310 mg 235 mg 225 mg 300 mg 175 mg 225 mg 260 mg
Trenta 30 Oz (900 ml) 360 mg 285 mg N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Read: Does cold brew have more caffeine?

Is Cold Brew Stronger Than Iced Coffee?

Yes, a cold brew coffee has from 155 mg to 360 mg of caffeine, depending on the drink size, while iced coffee ranges from 120 mg to 285 mg of caffeine, thus cold brew coffee is stronger than iced coffee.

Does Cold Brew Hit Harder?

The coffee to water ratio of cold brew coffee is stronger than most other coffee beverages and thus has more caffeine. Other brewing methods depend on heat to extract the caffeine; cold brew depends on time.

It has more caffeine and thus does hit you harder in terms of caffeine kick than other coffee drinks.

Is Cold Brew Stronger Than Espresso?

Yes, a single shot of espresso has 75 mg of caffeine while the smallest cold brew drink size, a Tall 12 Oz (360 ml) has 155 mg, which means it has more caffeine than a double espresso.

Why Is Cold Brew So Intense?

Cold brew coffee is so intense due to being made with a high amount of coffee in relation to the amount of water used, known as the coffee to water ratio.

The high concentration of coffee used results in a strong and intense caffeine kick, much higher than hot coffee.

Why Is Cold Brew So Potent?

Cold brew gets its potency from the combination of two factors: the concentration of coffee used and the long extraction time.

While hot brewed coffee uses hot water to extract the flavors and caffeine, which is more effective than cold water. This is seen in the 1:18 coffee to water ratio of brewed coffee compared to 1:8 of cold brew coffee. Due to the inefficiency of cold water extraction, a long extraction time and a greater concentration of coffee is needed when compared to hot coffee.

This is what leads to the potency of cold brew coffee.

Why Is My Cold Brew So Weak?

There are two main reasons why your cold brew coffee is so weak which are:

  • Too weak a coffee to water ratio was used.
  • Your extraction time was too short.

While you may think that your grind size being too large may be a factor, that plays into the second reason, too short an extraction time. You can even brew cold brew coffee with whole beans.

Focus on your coffee to water ratio and use a ratio of 1:8. If you have used this ratio, leave your cold brew coffee for a few hours more to extract.

How Many Shots Of Espresso Is Equal To Cold Brew?

The number of shots that your cold brew coffee is the equivalent of is as follows:

  • Tall 12 Oz (360 ml): 2.06 shots.
  • Grande 16 Oz (480 ml): 2.73 shots.
  • Venti 24 Oz (720 ml): 4.13 shots.
  • Trenta 30 Oz (900 ml): 4.8 Shots.

It is clear there is a lot of caffeine in a cold brew coffee compared to espresso.

Final Thoughts – Is Cold Brew Stronger?

I hope that I have answered that question, is cold brew stronger, to your satisfaction. If I have missed something out, or you have any questions that you need answered, seek us out, and I will answer all questions that come my way.

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Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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