Hot cold brew coffee served in glass cup

Can You Heat Cold Brew Coffee?

Audrey Harrison
Home brewer

You must have heard of a cold brew coffee for its refreshing, smooth, and delicious flavor, but have you ever thought of trying it for a comforting warmth after a tiring day or in the middle of a boring day for a quick caffeine fix? The debate between the cool and cozy cold brew highlights the charm of heating a cold brew and is worth exploring.

So, today in this blog, I will tell you whether you can heat your cold brew or not. If the answer is yes, we will also understand how you can do it correctly without compromising its essence, and the realms of its temperature and taste, and help you discover whether heating a cold brew is a coffee myth or a hidden tip that can level up your flavorful coffee.

What is cold brew coffee?

Cold brew coffee is not just a beverage; it's a sensation in the world of coffee lovers. Unlike traditional brewing methods that use hot water, cold brew takes a leisurely path to perfection.

Coarse coffee grounds are steeped in cold or room temperature water for an extended period, generally 12 to 24 hours. This slow process helps extract rich flavors, unveiling a smooth, less acidic profile.

The result is a coffee that tantalizes the taste buds, revealing amazing notes in every sip. Cold brew's versatility extends beyond being a stand-alone drink; it serves as a base for creative cold beverages like iced lattes and coffee cocktails.

As you savor the chilled elegance of cold brew, you'll experience a refreshing take of your beloved bean, making it a must-try for coffee enthusiasts seeking a cool and sophisticated caffeine experience.

How to make cold-brew coffee?

Step 1: Pick your brewing tools and ingredients

Take some coarsely ground coffee beans, cold or room temperature water, a large jar or pitcher, and a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.

Step 2: Start brewing by combining coffee and water

Add the coffee grounds to the jar and pour the water. You can use cold or room-temperature water. Give it a fine stir to ensure all the grounds are fully saturated.

For a standard cold brew concentrate, you can use a ratio of 1:4 - one part coffee to four parts water. The ratio can be adjusted based on your preferences.

Step 3: Let the mixture steep

Once the ingredients are combined, keep it aside for steeping for 12 to 24 hours. The extended steeping time will help saturate the grounds for the complete extraction of flavors.

Step 4: Strain the brew

After steeping, strain the coffee using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to separate the grounds from the liquid.

Step 5: Dilute it with water

To serve, dilute the concentrate with water or milk, add ice, and sweeten it as per your taste. Your homemade cold brew is ready to be enjoyed.

Can you heat cold-brew coffee?

Yes, you can heat cold-brew coffee. The idea of heating cold brew might sound scary to coffee lovers, but it opens various possibilities for those who enjoy the smoothness of cold brew but crave a warm cup.

How does heat affect the flavor and aroma of cold brew?

1) Enhances aroma

When a cold brew is heated it releases a more pronounced aroma. The warmth amplifies the coffee's fragrance, creating an inviting olfactory experience for coffee lovers.

2) Alters acidity

Cold brew is marked for its lower acidity, contributing to a smoother taste. When heated, the acidity might slightly increase, resulting in a subtle shift in the overall flavor profile.

3) Balances sweetness

Heating cold brew can enhance its sweetness. The heat helps bring out the natural sugars overpowered in the coffee, making your brew balanced.

4) Fuller body

Cold brew boasts a full-bodied texture. Heating it can accentuate this quality, delivering a richer and more satisfying mouthfeel.

5) Modified flavor notes

The heat might center the hidden flavor notes in cold brew. It can uplift the elements like chocolate, nuttiness, or caramel undertones when heated.

6) Customization possibility

Heating opens the door to customization. You can experiment with additives like syrups, spices, or flavored creamers to create a personalized and cozy beverage that matches your taste preferences.

How to heat cold brew?

1) Begin with a cold brew concentrate

Choose a cold brew concentrate over ready-to-drink cold brew. The concentrated form provides the flexibility to dilute according to your taste preferences, allowing precise control over the beverage's strength.

2) Dilute it with water or milk

If your cold brew concentrate is robust enough, dilute it with water or milk to achieve a balanced flavor profile. This step ensures that the heating process enhances the coffee without overwhelming your palate.

3) Starting heating it on the stovetop

Transfer the diluted cold brew into a saucepan and heat it on the stovetop over medium heat. Continuous stirring is essential to prevent scalding and to ensure uniform heating throughout.

4) Avoid boiling

Exercise caution to avoid bringing the cold brew to a boil. Keeping the temperature slightly below boiling point is ideal for accentuating the flavors without compromising the coffee's intrinsic qualities.

5) Use a microwave

Alternatively, employ the microwave for heating. Place the diluted cold brew in a microwave-safe container and heat in short intervals, stirring between each interval until you reach the desired temperature.

6) Add your favorite additives

The heating process allows for creative experimentation with flavor additives. Enhance your warmed cold brew with a hint of cinnamon, a splash of vanilla extract, or a drizzle of flavored syrup to tailor the taste to your liking.

Sit back, relax, and savor the warmth of your perfectly heated cold brew, enriched with your chosen flavor nuances.

Best practices to follow when warming cold brew coffee

1) Heat gently

Use gentle heating methods to avoid overpowering the flavor profile of cold brew. It is suggested to avoid high heat, as it can make the coffee taste bitter or acidic. Heat the cold brew slowly over low to medium heat. This can be done easily on a stovetop or using a microwave.

2) Stovetop method

Pour just the desired amount of cold brew into a saucepan. Heat the cold brew over low to medium heat, stirring it occasionally to ensure even warming. Once the desired temperature is reached, remove it immediately from the heat source to prevent overcooking.

3) Microwave method

Transfer the cold brew to a microwave-safe container. Heat it at short intervals (10-15 seconds) and stir between intervals to distribute the heat evenly. It is advised to check the temperature frequently to avoid overheating.

4) Dilution control

If you find the cold brew too strong after heating, you can simply dilute it with hot water or milk to achieve the desired strength.

5) Use a double boiler

If possible, consider using a double boiler to heat the cold brew. This method helps prevent overheating and ensures a more controlled warming process.

6) Avoid boiling

Don't overboil it. Boiling can result in a bitter taste and negatively impact the coffee's flavor.

7) Experiment with ratios

Experiment with different ratios of cold brew to hot water or milk to find the balance that suits your taste preferences.

8) Add flavored syrups or spices

Enhance the flavor of warmed cold brew by adding syrups or spices (cinnamon) to create a unique and personalized beverage.

9) Serve immediately

Once the cold brew reaches the desired temperature, serve it immediately to enjoy the full flavor profile. Coffee can lose its optimal taste if left sitting for too long.

10) Pre-warm your cup

To help maintain the warmth of your cold brew, pre-warm your cup or mug before pouring the coffee into it.

Wrapping up

I hope now you know how to heat your cold brew. In conclusion, warming cold brew coffee is a simple process that requires a delicate touch to preserve the distinct flavors of this beloved beverage.

With gentle heating methods, such as stovetop or microwave warming, and avoiding boiling, coffee enthusiasts can relish a hot cup of cold brew without sacrificing its unique taste profile.


Audrey Harrison

Team TAB
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I am a coffee aficionado based in Seattle. I have devoted my passion and expertise to perfecting the art of home coffee brewing. I became known for my exquisite pour-over and espresso creations. I source coffee beans from local roasters and explores ...