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Which Has More Caffeine: Hot Coffee, Cold Brew, or Iced Coffee?

A person holds a cup of hot coffee while a second person holds an iced coffee.

Some days, you need a bigger jolt of caffeine than others. We’ve all been there. When you’re reaching for your morning cup of coffee, is there a difference between hot coffee, iced coffee, and cold brew?

As it turns out, yes, there could be different amounts of caffeine in your coffee based on how you like it. Water temperature and brew time are what really matter.

For those really looking to get a caffeine buzz, it’s best to reach for hot coffee, and it doesn’t have to be espresso, either. A regular drip cup of coffee has the most caffeine compared to iced coffee and cold brew. Why, though?

When you brew coffee via a drip maker, pour-over, or another means, the hot water allows for better extraction of caffeine. This makes it stronger with average caffeine amounts of 210-360mg per 16 ounces. Meanwhile a regular shot of espresso 150mg. Surprising, right?

As for second and third place in the caffeine wars? Cold brew comes next. While it’s obviously not brewed using hot water, it does generally call for more grounds than your regular brew, and it’s steeped for long periods of time. That’s what makes it more caffeinated than iced coffee. While iced coffee was once brewed hot, the cooling process blended with ice frequently added to the drink makes its caffeine weaker.

If you’re looking to get the most bang for your brew in the mornings, it’s best to stick to good old-fashioned brewed drip coffee. Hey, there’s something about the simplicity, right?

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