Does Cold Brew Have More Caffeine Than Hot Brewed Coffee?

By Admin November 8, 2021

Caffeine makes our brain think it’s less tired than it really is – one of the many reasons millions of people drink it on the regular.  However, will chugging down a cup of cold brew have the same effect as drinking a cup of hot java? 

Not quite. While both beverages are equally delicious, the amount of caffeine in each varies. Wondering what coffee beverage packs the most caffeine? Is it cold brew? Hot java? What about espresso? This question is simple, but the answer isn’t so straightforward. 

Keep reading to learn how much caffeine cold brew has and if it’s stronger than hot coffee.

How Much Caffeine is in Cold Brew? 

Before we answer this question, understand that caffeine is sort of a wild card. Caffeinated beverages like energy drinks have caffeination content readily available. All you need to do is conduct a quick Google search or look at the drink label. These numbers are fairly accurate; however, this doesn’t apply to coffee. 

Coffee isn’t as precise as soda or energy drinks when it comes to how much caffeine they have. There are so many factors that affect caffeination levels of a cup of java. Here are just a few: 

  • Where the coffee was grown 
  • Roast level 
  • Blend of the coffee
  • Brew method 

So, whenever you see a caffeine content or amount listing, it’s most likely an approximation. Based on these approximations, though, you can get a good idea of how much you’re ingesting within each cup. With this said, an 8 oz cup of cold brew has around 500 mg of caffeine.

What Has More Caffeine: Cold Brew or Hot Brewed Coffee?

So, does cold brew have more caffeine? 

Most of the time, it will have more caffeine than hot java. Why? Well, because of the coffee to water ratio. A batch of cold concentrate uses 2-3 times more coffee than hot brew methods which means an 8 oz cup of concentrate can have over 500 mg of caffeine. A hot cup of java of equal volume typically has about 100 mg. 

A key difference to note here is that hot java can be drunk as is while the cold brew concentrate isn’t ready to drink. Also, if the ratios of beans to water are the same, hot coffee will be stronger since hot water leads to higher caffeination. The reason cold brew is more caffeinated is that it uses more coffee. 

Why Does It Have More Caffeine? 

Heat extracts more caffeine; however, cold brew is made as a concentrate. To make some, you must steep the grounds for hours. How long you should steep depends on the brewing method. You might find yourself steeping it for as little as 8 hours or as much as 18+ hours. Also, cold brew uses a higher than normal coffee to water ratio than regular drip coffee. This alone will lead to a higher caffeination level. 

Note: While steeping for 18+ hours will give you a strong, robust flavor, the caffeination levels won’t be higher if steeped for longer.


Does Cold Brew Have More Caffeine Than Iced Coffee? 

Yes, it does. Iced coffee is simply regular coffee served cold. Because it’s served over ice, it can quickly become diluted. Since it’s not diluted, an equal amount of cold brew will have much more caffeine than iced coffee. 

Does It Have More Caffeine Than Espresso?

Not quite. Generally, 50 ml of cold brew concentrate has around 85 mg of caffeine. This is equivalent to 30 ml of espresso. 

Why Do I Feel Jittery After Drinking Cold Brew? 

The reason you may find yourself feeling more jittery after drinking cold brew than regular hot java is because of how easy it is to drink. You can literally gulp down cold brew as opposed to gulping down hot coffee. Because you’re drinking it at such a fast rate, the jitters can come out.