Is Cold Brew Stronger Than Espresso? Find Out Below!

Cold Brew Vs. Espresso

You will need brown sugar in coffee grounds for more robust cups of coffee, such as cold brew. Cold-brew coffee has the strongest flavor because it contains more caffeine than espresso. The caffeine content gives you the coffee kick, which is why cold brew feels stronger than espresso. We will look at why you should put brown sugar in coffee grounds.

Is Cold Brew Stronger Than Espresso?

Espresso Vs. Cold brew is a topic that most coffee lovers talk about. Whatever way you look at it, cold brew has the highest caffeine content. Not only does cold brewing use more coffee beans than espresso-double or even triple the amount, but the serving size is also much larger.

The average espresso shot is 1 ounce (28 grams), and the average cold brew serving is 8 to 32 ounces (227 to 907 grams). You can adjust cold brew’s caffeine content based on how long you allow the coffee grounds to soak. The longer the grounds soak, the more caffeine they extract. 

Of course, if espresso is your preferred beverage and you need a caffeine boost, you can always request your barista to add shots to your drink of choice, and your barista should be happy to oblige.

When it comes to flavor intensity, cold brew takes the lead. Cold brew has a much fuller body than espresso. This is likely due to the increased coffee beans used in brewing. The coffee beans used is another consideration in the cold brew vs. espresso debate. 

In general, lighter roasts have a stronger flavor than darker roasts. As a result, an espresso brewed with a lighter roast may taste stronger than a cold brew made with a darker roast.

The final point to consider is the addition of milk or cream. Adding either of these to your cold brew or espresso will change the flavor, not the caffeine content. For example, a cold brew diluted with a lot of creams will not taste as strong as a shot of espresso served black. So, what is stronger, cold brew, or espresso? Cold brew it is!

Cold brew coffee

How Much Caffeine in Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew is an entirely different beast. While heat aids in caffeine extraction, you will make cold brew as a concentrate with a higher than normal coffee-to-water ratio of between 1:4 and 1:8, as opposed to a more typical drip coffee ratio of 1:15 or 1:25.

This results in a higher caffeine concentration. You will need to mix cold-brew coffee as a concentrate with water or creamer to balance things out. Even so, some cold brews brewed and sold as ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages contain more caffeine than your average drip-brew. 

What comes to mind first is Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee. It has approximately 0.009 ounces (279 milligrams) of caffeine in its 10.5-fluid-ounce (311-milliliter) stubby. In just 11 fluid ounces (325.3 milliliters), its Nitro Cold Brew contains 0.011 fluid ounces (330 milligrams) of caffeine.

Chameleon Cold Brew is available as a concentrate (32 fluid ounces (946 milliliters) with 0.08 ounces (2,160 milligrams) of caffeine and as an RTD (10 fluid ounces (296 milliliters) with 0.01 ounces (270 milligrams) of caffeine).

The concentrate is supposed to be mixed with one part milk or water to one part coffee, effectively halving the caffeine content. How much caffeine in Starbucks cold brew or how much caffeine is in a cold brew? In 16 fluid ounces (473.18 milliliters), it contains only 0.007 ounces (200 milligrams) of caffeine.

The Caffeine Content in Espresso

A standard-length classic Italian espresso contains approximately 1 fluid ounce (50 milligrams) of caffeine per shot. The measurements above are for espresso normale made with Typica coffee beans. What is the significance of this?

Because it varies greatly depending on the recipe, coffee bean variety, origin, and roast. Let’s see how these factors affect caffeine levels.

The Recipe

Every coffee shop prepares an espresso differently. Even the differences in equipment are significant. For example, a filter basket for a single espresso can hold between 0.25 and 0.32 ounces (7 and 9 grams) of dry coffee. A 1 ounce (28 grams) shot brewed with a 0.32 ounces (9 grams) basket contains approximately 25% more caffeine than a 0.25 ounces (7 grams) basket.

Some baristas prefer to use more coffee in the basket and tamp more firmly. This may add caffeine to your shot. Variations can arise from the recipe itself. 

One needs to make Classic Italian espresso with 0.25 ounces (7 grams) of dry coffee per 1 ounce (28 grams) of coffee. For 1 to 1.5 ounces (28 to 42 grams) espresso, 0.49 ounces (14 grams) of dry coffee are used. As a result of this, you will get a more caffeinated drink.

The Type of Coffee Beans Used

The type of coffee beans affects the caffeine content. Robusta coffees are good in espresso blends because they produce more crema than Arabicas. Robusta coffee contains almost twice as much caffeine as Arabica coffee. Depending on how much Robusta is in the mixture, you could get 20 to 50% more caffeine in the cup.

How you roast your beans determines the amount of caffeine in an espresso shot. The roast of a coffee may also play a role; the darker the roast, the more caffeine is burnt, resulting in lower caffeine content.

Dark roasts, on the other hand, are more soluble than lighter roasts. Depending on the recipe, we may have more caffeine from a dark roast, although they contain less caffeine.

Once again, the recipe. You’re attempting to determine which espresso recipe contains the most caffeine. The only way to know is to calculate, which, once again, is highly dependent on the barista’s recipe.

All other things being equal, a lungo has the most caffeine content from the same amount of ground coffee, followed by normale, and ristretto has the least caffeine. However, the length of the beverage varies greatly. A classic lungo is 1.5 to 2 ounces (45 to 60 milliliters) of espresso, a normale is 1 ounce (30 milliliters), and a ristretto is 1 ounce (20 milliliters).

When we extract 0.25 ounces (7 grams) of dry coffee into 2 ounces (60 milliliters) of water, we get a more diluted coffee with slightly more caffeine. Ristretto may feel very strong and cause jitters more easily than a lungo. This is not because of the caffeine content but rather to drink it too quickly.

So, how much caffeine does a long espresso shot contain? There is no specific number, but the caffeine extraction is far more efficient than a standard shot. So, for a two-ounce (56 grams) lungo, you could get up to 0.002 ounces (70 mg) of caffeine, comparable to drip coffee. In theory, a lungo should not contain more caffeine.

However, coffee shops do not strictly adhere to recipes, so you may have more caffeine in your cup. The traditional lungo recipe calls for a 20 to 30-second extraction and a grind size adjustment to account for the increased liquid volume. 

However, coffee shops frequently adjust the volume by extending extraction over 30 seconds, resulting in more caffeine extracted into your cup.

Shot Length

This one is simple: if a single shot contains 0.002 ounces (50 milligrams) of caffeine, a triple shot contains nearly triple that amount. Why nearly triple? The extraction of a triple shot is less efficient than the extraction of a single shot. The higher the puck height, the greater the quantity of dry coffee, and the less efficient the extraction.

Don’t get too caught up in this; it’s better than hitting three shots in a row. If everything else is equal, the caffeine content of a triple shot espresso should be around 0.005 ounces (140 milligrams). A double espresso shot contains approximately 0.003 ounces (95 milligrams) of caffeine.

Home made cold brew

Cold Brew Vs. Regular Coffee

Let’s look at cold brew versus regular coffee. You make cold brew by steeping medium-to-coarse ground coffee at room temperature for at least 12 hours. What follows, then, is filtering out the grounds for a clean, sediment-free cup. 

Cold brew coffee, unlike regular coffee, is never heated. Cold brew extracts the coffee’s oils, sugars, and caffeine through time rather than heat. 

Cold brew coffee is for those who like to plan ahead of time. It’s a slow, gradual process that can take up to 24 hours, similar to making sun tea without sun. The result is a rich, smooth infusion with low acidity, soothing those with sensitive digestive systems.

However, this process can flatten the taste of coffee, leaving behind the nuances of properly ice-brewed coffee. Some describe this as a full-bodied, Guinness-like mouthfeel.

The Differences Between Cold Brew and Espresso

What is the difference between these two methods of brewing coffee, and which is superior? Let’s delve into the comparison:


Cold brewed coffee tastes very different from cooled hot brewed coffee. It has far less acidity, more ‘black’ flavors, and fewer of the nuanced aromas that define the coffee’s origins, type, and method. On the other hand, properly made espresso is full of rich flavors. The acidity is strong but balanced. A little bitterness controls the sharpness and provides deep undertones.

Aromatic flavors rise from the shot and enter your nose and mouth. It has a nutty chocolate flavor with earthy undertones. If properly prepared, a pleasant sweetness binds the entire dose. Espresso has more flavor and aroma than a cold brew, but it is a more intense flavor.


Because acidity is proportional to warmth, cold brew coffee has less acidity than iced coffee or any other brewed technique. Because you don’t heat the beans during the cold brewing process, boiling cold brew does not affect its bitterness.

Espresso has a higher acidity level. This is because the water is in contact with the coffee grounds for a shorter period. As a result, the coffee becomes more acidic. The concentration of the coffee also increases its acidity.

Health Benefits

Cold brew has more antioxidants than espresso when it comes to health benefits. This is due to the cold brewing process preserving more antioxidants in the coffee beans. Espresso also has some health benefits, though not as many as cold brew. Both espresso and cold brew aid in focus and mental clarity, but cold brew can also aid in weight loss and cholesterol reduction.


Kyoto, Japan, produces cold brew coffee. Kyoto cold brew uses a slow drip method to extract the coffee; a single cup can take up to 18 hours to brew. Espresso originated in Italy, and its invention was in Turin in the late 1800s. It is now the most popular coffee beverage in Italy and Eastern Europe.

Water Temperature

Because one needs cold water to make cold brew coffee, the water temperature is lower than that of espresso. This will make it easier on your stomach and help you avoid the “jittery” feeling that some people get after drinking espresso.

The water used to make espresso is approximately 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius). This higher temperature extracts more oils and flavors from the coffee, resulting in a stronger flavor.

Grind Size

Many people confuse espresso grind size with regular coffee grind size. On the other hand, the grind size for espresso is much finer than the grind size for normal or drip coffee. The coffee grounds should be fine and compacted when tamped into the espresso machine.

This increases the pressure created while pushing water through the coffee grounds and the extraction of more flavors from the beans. You’ll need medium to coarse ground coffee for cold brew right now. This is due to the coffee spending more time in contact with the water, and a finer grind size will result in over-extraction.

Brewing Time

The entire point of cold brew is that it takes a long time to make. This is because the water must be in contact with the coffee grounds for longer to extract all the flavors. A cold brew can take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours to brew, so it’s not something you can make in the morning and drink right away.

Espresso, on the other hand, is brewed much faster. Making an espresso takes about 2 minutes. If you want a quick cup of coffee, it is the way to go. If you want something that takes a little longer to make but is well worth the effort, your best will be cold brew coffee.


Last but not least, let us discuss consistency. The water in espresso is not as watery as it is in cold brew. This is because the espresso machine uses great force to push the water through the coffee grounds.

Because there is no pressure when making cold brew, the water is more likely to seep unevenly through the coffee grounds. As a result, the coffee will be more watery and less concentrated.

What Happens When You Leave Your Espresso to Cool?

Cooled coffee has a stronger flavor. Have you ever had coffee where the last gulp at the bottom tastes extremely strong? The coffee particles sink to the bottom of your cup and chill out until you drink the last coffee.

The same happens when you cool down coffee because you forgot about it for a while. Even after the brewing, the flavors will continue to develop. Compared to just a few minutes ago, the coffee will now taste extremely strong; it’s almost like drinking a ristretto, but with a lot more acidity.

Is Nitro Cold Brew Stronger Than Espresso?

Nitro cold brew is more powerful than espresso. Nitro cold brew uses pressurized gas and has a different flavor profile but is still stronger than espresso. It has the same flavor as regular cold brew coffee and is stronger than espresso.

You make the nitro cold brew coffee in the same manner as regular cold brew coffee, except that nitro cold brew uses pressurized gas. Read our article and find out Is Cold Brew Stronger Than the Average Cuppa?

Cold brewed coffee

We’ve Got You Covered

So, does cold brew have more caffeine? From the discussion above, the answer is yes. You must put brown sugar in coffee grounds because the cold brew coffee is so strong. Cold brew can be a new coffee adventure if you prefer a smoother cup of black coffee.

If you like the bitter taste of coffee, you should stick to espresso. It all comes down to personal preference. Regardless, you will enjoy these two excellent coffee styles for many years.