Can You Heat Up Cold Brew Coffee? (If So, How Can You?)

True coffee enthusiasts enjoy coffee in all its sensational forms – whether that be cold or hot! If you are a cold brew devotee, you may still want a hot coffee occasionally, especially on a cold morning. Luckily cold brew gives you lots of options, such as warming it up. Wait – 

Can I heat up cold brew coffee?  

The short answer is yes! Your cold brew can be heated up, and it can be great when done right!  

This post will reveal how to turn your refreshing cold brew coffee into a warming cup of joe. If you care about coffee as much as we do, then trust us, you need to get it right!  

Before we share our secret, let's delve into the intricacies of cold brew that every coffee nerd should know.  

Cold-brew is a distinctive type of coffee that is smooth and refreshing. It is increasingly popular, and for a good reason.  

People like cold brew because it allows for a smoother, richer coffee; the cold water leaves the bitter notes in the bean, resulting in a sweet yet rich-tasting coffee.  

The name cold brew refers to the process by which it is made. Rather than using hot water, the coffee beans are soaked in cold water for 12-18 hours, allowing enough time for the water to soak up all the rich flavor.  

Because of its smooth flavor, it could be easy to think that cold brew is not as strong. However, cold brew is often made with a higher ratio of coffee to water, around 2 – 2.5 times more, which means it has more caffeine than traditional coffee.  

two full mugs of cold brew

Can You Heat Up Cold Brew Coffee? 

Have no fear; heating up cold brew won't change its composition, so it is a great way to enjoy your favorite drink when the weather gets cold.  

Heating your cold brew will have very little effect other than a change in temperature. This is because the beans are removed at the end of the brewing process, and the character of the coffee is locked in and can only be altered by changing the ratio of water it is mixed with.  

The great thing about heating up a cold brew is that it will taste almost the same when heated. It will retain its smooth flavor while still warming you up and soothing your soul. If you enjoy the taste of cold brew, then you can enjoy it hot or cold without compromising the quality or composition.   

We often have people ask: 

  • Can you heat up Starbucks cold brew coffee? 
  • Can you heat up Califia cold brew? 
  • Can you heat up cold brew Bulletproof coffee? 
  • Can you heat up Stok cold brew? 

No matter the cold brew coffee, you can heat it up! The process by which cold brew coffee is made allows for it to be heated up while retaining its flavor. No matter where you sourced your cold brew coffee, the method for heating it will be the same.  


How To Heat Up A Cold Brew Coffee (The Best Way) 

Now you know that cold brew can be heated up, you are probably eager to try it! All the yummy flavor of cold brew, with the warming heat of a hot cup of coffee. What's not to like? 

There are three common ways of heating up cold brew coffee, they are: 

  • Pour Hot Water (For Concentrated Cold Brew Coffee) 
    If you use cold brew concentrate, then you can simply boil water and add it to your concentrate. Even better, use boiling water and pour some in and out of the cup to preheat the cup. This method gradually heats the coffee without shocking it with extreme temperates. You can fill your mug half full with concentrate and half full of hot water, or if you prefer your coffee weaker, then you can add less concentrate to find your perfect cup!  
  • Microwave 
    Some people hate microwaves, but we don't see any problem with quickly heating your cold brew in the microwave. It is quick and simple, especially in the morning. Depending on how much water you add to your concentrate and the power of your microwave, it could take different amounts of time. Try a minute, and if it's not hot enough, try 10 seconds more at a time. Heating up a cold brew in the microwave doesn't take long – perfect if you need a coffee to get going in the morning! 
  • Stove Top 
    If you like to embrace your inner coffee connoisseur, then you could heat up your cold brew on the stove. Simply pour your drink into a small saucepan and heat up slowly with low heat.  

Which Method Is Best? 

Can You Heat Up Cold Brew Coffee

When you heat up cold brew, certain chemical reactions occur that can slightly alter the taste.  

Generally, when heat is applied to coffee, the chemicals in the coffee react with oxygen and break down the flavor.

However, because of how cold brew is made, the oxidation of the molecules within the coffee has slowed.

This means that even when you heat your cold brew, oxidization happens slower than it does for hot brewed coffee. 

There may be a slight difference in taste when you heat up cold brew, and even slighter changes depending on how you heat it up, but it will be less noticeable than the change in taste from heating up a hot brewed coffee that has gone cold.  

So there isn't really a best method for heating up cold brew; you are free to try out different methods and find what works best for you! 


Advantages & Disadvantages Of Heating Up A Cold Brew Coffee 

The advantages of heating up cold brew coffee are that you get all of the smooth flavors and unique properties that come with brewing coffee beans in cold water over a prolonged period of time while still getting to enjoy a hot drink.  

If you are a fan of the flavor of cold brew coffee, then it is definitely worth trying it hot.  

There are a few disadvantages to heating cold brew.

First, it takes more time than enjoying your coffee hot, but this isn't a problem for most coffee lovers.  

The taste may also change slightly, but the change is small. 

cup of hot cold brew

Another possible disadvantage is that cold brew does contain more caffeine than hot coffee. This could be a consideration if you are considering swapping your usual hot brewed coffee for a cold brew, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine. You can negate this by adding more water, but this will dilute the rich taste.  

With so few disadvantages, it is well worth trying!  


Heating Up Cold Brew FAQs

Does heating up cold brew coffee make it acidic? 

There is a myth that cold brew has less acidity and will benefit those whose stomachs are sensitive to coffee. However, a peer-reviewed study in 2018 by researchers from Thomas Jefferson University found little difference in acidity between hot brew and cold brew. Furthermore, heating up cold brew has little effect on the chemical composition of the coffee and will not make it more acidic.  

What is the difference between cold brew and iced coffee? 

Cold brew is undoubtedly different from iced coffee. They are made differently, and as a result, taste very different.  

Iced coffee is brewed with hot water and is then cooled in the refrigerator or poured over ice. Cold brew, on the other hand, is brewed over cold water, which takes many hours. Iced coffee can also be warmed up but will taste much more like regular coffee.  

Is it bad to drink cold brew every day? 

Drinking coffee every day, including cold brew, is not bad for you; in fact, coffee has many health benefits. However, to keep your habit positive, make sure your add ons like sugar and milk align with your health goals. You should also avoid caffeine late at night as it may disrupt your sleep, especially cold brew, which has a higher caffeine content.  

Does reheating coffee change the caffeine level? 

According to Dr. Christopher Hendon, a premier chemist, reheating coffee will not affect the amount of caffeine. He explains that caffeine is a stable organic molecule, and the number of caffeine molecules in your cup is unlikely to change with colling and heating. In order for caffeine content to change, the molecules would need to break down, which only happens at very high temperatures that your coffee would not reach in your kitchen.  


Conclusion

Can you heat up cold brew coffee? The answer is yes! If you enjoy the taste of cold brew, you can heat it up without it having much of an effect on the coffee. The acidity and caffeine content will be the same, and it will retain its smooth flavor.  

You can heat up your coffee in whichever way is easiest for you. Whether that be using hot water, a microwave, or a stove, it makes little difference to the quality of your coffee.  

The only real consideration is that cold brew contains more caffeine than hot brew coffee (whether cold or hot). The rich, smooth flavor of cold brew - made hot to heat up your hands and warm your heart! Why not give it a go for yourself?