If you enjoy your cold brew coffee on a daily basis, you probably have batches ready to drink in your fridge. Or maybe you buy it ready from a store, which is the more convenient way.
Cold brew is famous for being served chilled over ice, but truth is, it does not have to be served chilled. In fact, it can be served hot, just like drip coffee.
So the question here is, can you heat up cold brew coffee? and what would be the best way to do it?
Can Cold Brew Coffee Be Served Hot?
Yes, indeed! Cold brew can be enjoyed hot or cold. Over ice, without ice, or heated, the choice is yours!
Why Is It Okay?
Let’s start with the name ‘Cold Brew’. This is a name that refers to a brewing method where coffee is brewed using cold water instead of hot. This method takes at least 8 to 12 hours to allow the coffee to fully brew, which is why it is made in larger quantities and kept in the fridge.
It is easy to assume that cold brew is brewed cold so it can be enjoyed cold or iced, which is only partly true. The method of brewing coffee cold changes its properties and taste. It produces a smoother brew with less acidity than hot brewed coffee.
What you get is a cold coffee concentrate, that you can enjoy either cold or hot, and not necessarily just cold.
Best Way To Heat Up Cold Brew Coffee
Heating up cold brew is really as simple as heating up any other liquid, there’s no special method to it. However, the best way to do it is to add hot water on top of the cold brew.
By Adding Hot Water
Fill your mug half way up with the cold brew, then add hot water in increments to control the strength of the coffee. The ratio of cold brew to water will solely depend on how strong you want your coffee to be. Which is why I suggested adding the water in increments.
Heat It Up in a Microwave or on the Stove
Another simple way to do it is to pop it in the microwave and heat it up in 30 second increments. To things to keep in mind:
If you’re using a cold brew concentrate, you’ll want to add in either water (for black coffee) or milk to the concentrate. Some Cold Brew coffees are sold ready to drink (as in, it is already diluted with water), if that’s the case, you don’t need to add in water, but can add milk to taste.
You never want your cold brew to reach boiling point. That’s why you need to heat it in small time increments and monitor the temperature of the drink. Reaching boiling temperature will make the coffee taste bitter and less enjoyable.
Will Heating Up Cold Brew Coffee Make It Bitter or Acidic?
As I already mentioned, one of the benefits of brewing coffee cold instead of hot is to enjoy a less acidic and smoother brew. So what happens if I turn that cold smooth brew into a hot brew? Will it change taste and become acidic?
That’s a great question, actually…
The answer is, no, it won’t become acidic or bitter (as long as you don’t overheat it).
When you’re using a batch of cold brew to make hot coffee, you’re using a brew that has already been made (ie, no coffee grounds present, it’s already been filtered out). So there’s nothing that can change the property or taste of your coffee.
What Coffee Drinks Can You Make Using Heated Cold Brew?
If you have a batch of cold brew concentrate, you can use it for many recipes:
Cup of Hot Coffee
If you want a simple cup of hot black coffee, simply mix in the cold brew concentrate with hot water. If you prefer your coffee with milk, use the milk to dilute the coffee concentrate instead of water for a richer taste then heat them up together.
Using Coffee Concentrate as an Espresso Substitute
This works hot or cold. You can use the cold brew concentrate as an alternative to espresso when making milk based drinks like latte or cappuccino.
Prepare milk froth, hot or cold, depending on how you want to enjoy your coffee. Heat the coffee concentrate on its own if you want to make a hot drink, then add in the hot milk froth.