Can You Heat Up Cold Brew Coffee?

Can you heat up cold brew coffee? This question is often being asked, but the answer is not as straightforward as it may seem.

If you are a coffee enthusiast, you probably know that there are many different ways of brewing coffee – and that the brewing method has an enormous impact on everything from the flavor to the mouthfeel and even the caffeine content of the cup of coffee you end up with.

In other words, the real question here is whether or not heating up coffee that has been brewed cold, presumably for the purpose of also being enjoyed cold is going to result in any loss of flavor, smoothness or caffeine content.

If you want the answer to this question – as well as to other questions related to cold brew coffee – then keep on reading.

What cold brew concentrate is and how to prepare it

Cold brew coffee is a relatively new addition to the ever-growing number of artisan coffee brews. If you have ever had a particularly smooth and delicious cup of iced coffee from a coffee shop, it was almost certainly made using cold brew.

Luckily, cold brew coffee is surprisingly easy to brew at home, and you don’t need any advanced barista skills or much speciality equipment to be able to make it. If you would like to try your hand at making your own cold brew coffee concentrate at home, this is how to go about it.

First of all, you are going to need coarsely ground coffee beans, a large container for brewing the coffee, and a strainer. Although you can use any kind of coffee beans, most cold brew coffee is made with dark roast coffee blends. The reason for this is that darker roasts often have a bitter acidity to them – cold brewing darker brews circumvents that, resulting in a smooth dark brew, without the bitter aftertaste.

Now, combine your coarsely ground beans with room temperature water and let it steep for at least 12 hours. Yes, cold brew coffee is the coffee equivalent of sourdough bread – you have to have patience, but the rewards are going to be worth it.

While your coffee grounds are steeping for those 12+ hours they are slowly infusing the water with their flavor and nutrients, including caffeine. The cold brewing technique involving the long brew time results in a strong, potent, smooth and flavorful brew. The final step is to strain your cold brew coffee before you’re able to enjoy it.

Cold brew coffee drinks

Cold brew coffee is most commonly used in iced coffee drinks, but iced is far from the only way to enjoy your cold brew coffee.

Cold brew coffee is known for its silky smooth mouthfeel and intense flavor. Both are qualities that make cold brew coffee concentrate suitable as a base for just about any kind of coffee drink you can think of. Cold brew coffee just works, whether you pour it over or blend it with ice cubes or heat it up and use it as the primary building block in any of your favorite hot coffee drinks, including lattes, Americanos and more.

How to heat cold brew coffee

Heating cold brew coffee concentrate can be done in a number of different ways. Here are the top three simple ways of heating up your cold brew.

Hot water

If you purchase cold brew coffee from a store, whether online or offline, it will most likely be in the form of cold brew concentrate, which means you will have to add water in order to enjoy it.

Adding hot water to your cold brew concentrate is by far the quickest and easiest way to het up cold brew. It’s as simple as putting a kettle on and waiting for the water to boil before pouring it over your cold brew concentrate. Add the concentrate to your mug first, and fill the rest of the mug with boiling water, making sure to leave a bit of space for any milks, syrups or any other accoutrements you like to add in the end.

The greatest benefit to heating cold brew using hot water is that there is no risk of burning the concentrate – which can happen with the other two methods we are going to be looking at here.


If your store-bought cold brew is not a concentrate, you have no other choice but to heat it up in a different way than simply using hot water.

If you have a microwave, this offers you a quick and easy way to heat up cold brew as and when you need it. Make sure you use a microwave safe mug.

When heating up cold brew in a microwave, make sure you don’t leave it in for too long, or it will boil or burn – not to mention, you will lose much of the flavor and nutrients. The best way to heat cold brew coffee in a microwave is to do it in 30 second increments until your cold brew has reached the ideal temperature.


Finally, you can use a regular stove to heat up cold brew. If you don’t have a microwave, chances are you at least have a stovetop.

All you need to do is pour your cold brew into a saucepan and add a little water if needed. Heat up your cold brew coffee slowly, and don’t go above a low-medium heat, to ensure that your coffee doesn’t burn. Heating up your cold brew should only take a bout a minute.

When your cold brew has reached a good temperature, pour it into a mug and milk, creamer and sugar to suit your taste.

Cold brew coffee Q & A

Hopefully by now you have had your most important question answered – can you enjoy your cold brew coffee hot?

However, you might still have other questions related to cold brewed coffee and what makes it different from, say, hot brewed coffee or iced coffee. If you do, you might find the answers you are looking for in this cold brew Q & A section.

What is the difference between cold brew and hot brewed coffee?

The quick answer to this is that hot brew coffee is brewed using boiling hot water, while cold brew coffee is brewed on cold water.

Hot brew coffee is the standard form of coffee that we are all familiar with. It almost doesn’t matter where coffee is served, at home or in coffee shops, the coffee you get is almost always hot brewed. The reason for this is obvious – hot brewed coffee takes a minute or less to prepare, while cold brewed coffee takes hours.

To achieve a truly smooth and flavorful cold brew coffee, coarsely ground coffee beans have to steep in cold water between 10 and 16 hours. The result is a strong, smooth coffee, without the acidic flavor that sometimes accompanies hot brewed regular coffee.

What is the difference between cold brew coffee and iced coffee?

The two might sound similar, but cold brew and iced coffee are two completely different things.

The difference between cold brew coffee and iced coffee lies in the preparation of the two. While cold brew coffee is prepared using cold water and results in a cold brew or cold brew concentrate that can be used in both cold and hot coffee afterwards, including iced coffee, iced coffee is simply a particular coffee drink, typically prepared by adding ice, milk and sometimes sugar or syrup to a shot of espresso, which could be either hot or cold brewed.

Is it OK to heat up cold brew coffee?

The simple answer is yes, it is entirely okay to heat up cold brew coffee and enjoy it hot.

Cold brewing coffee is simply a coffee brewing technique which involves letting coarsely ground coffee beans soak in cold water for up to sixteen hours in order to achieve a strong but smooth and mellow coffee brew. Cold brew coffee can be enjoyed hot or cold – in other words, cold brew coffee can be used as the base note in any of your favorite coffee drinks, from an iced latte with all of the sugary trimmings you love to a dark, hot cup of Americano.

Does heating up cold brew coffee make it acidic?

Many coffee drinkers have come to love cold brew coffee as an attractive alternative to hot brew coffee, for the simple reason that the cold brewing process results in a smooth coffee with a bold flavor – without the acidic taste that can sometimes accompany hot brews, particularly if a dark roast coffee blend has been used.

Fortunately, reheating coffee doesn’t make it more acidic, so it is perfectly fine to reheat coffee that has been cold brewed if you prefer your coffee served hot.

Can you heat up Starbucks cold brew coffee?

Yes, you can reheat cold coffee from any coffee shop, including cold brew purchased at Starbucks.

The simplest way to enjoy hot cold brew coffee is to simply boil some water in your electric kettle at home and add it to your cold brew.

Final thoughts

Congratulations – you have made it to the end of this article, and have probably accumulated a lot of new coffee knowledge along the way.

If you are new to cold brew coffee, we have little doubt that it will soon become a favorite brewing method, particularly if you prefer your coffee smooth and mellow and want to find a way to avoid that sour taste that can sometimes accompany hot brewed coffee, particularly when it has been made on a dark roast.

Cold brew coffee may have started out as an artisan brewing technique that you would only encounter in some coffee shops, but the truth is that cold brew isn’t only for the bona fide coffee snobs among us – cold brew is a way for all coffee lovers to enjoy tasty coffee with a milder flavor even more than they already do.

Finally, one of the wonderful things about cold brew is that it is easy to do at home – all you really need is some flavorful coffee beans, a coffee strainer, and ab it of patience.

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