Can Cold Brew Be Warmed Up? Unveiling the Truth About Heated Cold Brew

Cold brew coffee has gained popularity in recent years, becoming a preferred choice for many. With its smooth, mild flavor and lower acidity, it’s easy to understand why people gravitate towards it. As the name suggests, cold brew coffee is typically enjoyed cold, but what about those who prefer their coffee hot? A common question arises: can cold brew be warmed up?

The short answer is yes, cold brew coffee can be heated. However, it’s essential to understand that doing so may alter the flavor profile. Heating cold brew can make it more or less acidic, depending on the method used. For those who want a hot beverage without compromising the unique taste of cold brew, several techniques can be used to ensure a satisfying experience.

One popular approach is to add hot water or creamer to cold brew instead of heating the concentrate directly. This method maintains the lower acidity and reduced bitterness that cold brew is known for. By understanding the proper ways to warm up cold brew coffee, one can enjoy the best of both worlds: a delicious hot drink with the signature taste of cold brew.

cold brew

Can Cold Brew Be Warmed Up?

Cold brew coffee can indeed be warmed up, but doing so may change its flavor profile. The main difference between cold brew and regular coffee is the brewing method. Cold brew is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period, typically 12 to 24 hours. This results in a smooth, less acidic cup of coffee. When you heat up cold brew, its smooth flavor, and acidity may be affected.

There are several ways to warm up cold brew coffee, and choosing the right one can help preserve its taste. A recommended method is to add hot water or a hot creamer to the cold brew concentrate instead of directly heating the cold brew itself. This maintains the lower acidity levels and prevents it from becoming overly bitter.

If you prefer to heat the cold brew directly, it is important to avoid overheating or boiling it. A good method is to warm it up gently on a stovetop, using low heat and stirring regularly, until it reaches your desired temperature. Microwaving the cold brew is also an option but exercise caution, as it might heat unevenly and alter the taste.

microwave cold brew

When serving warmed-up cold brew, it’s a good idea to preheat your mug by rinsing it with warm water. This helps maintain a consistent temperature, ensuring a pleasant drinking experience. Regardless of the heating method, keep in mind that warming up cold brew may change its characteristics, but it can still be a flavorful and enjoyable beverage.

What Happens If Cold Brew Gets Warm?

When cold brew coffee is warmed up, it undergoes a few changes, particularly involving its flavor and acidity. Cold brew is known for its smooth taste and low acidity, which is partly due to the brewing process that occurs at a lower temperature. As the cold brew is heated, it reacts with the oxygen in the air, which can lead to some degradation in flavor and an increase in acidity.

Nevertheless, heating cold brew coffee is still possible, and many find it to be a delicious alternative to traditional hot coffee. To do this without negatively affecting the flavor significantly, one can apply gentle heating methods such as:

  • Stovetop: Heating over medium-low heat.
  • Microwave: Place cold brew coffee in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for 30-60 seconds.
  • Oven: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and place your cold brew coffee in an oven-safe dish. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

It’s important to note that heating cold brew coffee won’t increase its acidity to the same levels as hot-brewed coffee. The absence of additional coffee grounds during the heating process prevents the acidity from increasing significantly. If you prefer controlling the strength of your hot coffee, adjusting the amount of hot water added to cold brew concentrate can also help maintain balanced flavor and acidity.

What Happens When You Heat up Cold Brew

Heating up cold brew coffee is possible, but it may have an impact on flavor and acidity. When cold brew reacts with the oxygen in the room during the heating process, this can lead to a slight degradation in flavor and an increase in acidity. However, the added acidity is still lower than that of a standard drip cup of coffee that’s been reheated.

In contrast to hot brewing methods, the cold brewing process extracts the coffee’s flavor compounds in a more gradual and subtle manner. This results in a smoother and less acidic cup of coffee. When you heat up your cold brew, the chemical reactions can cause the smooth qualities of the cold brew to reduce.

Although the heating process may alter the coffee’s flavor, there are some benefits to warming up a cup of cold brew coffee. For instance, a warm cup of coffee can be more comforting during colder weather, and the flavors may become more intense when heated.

If you decide to heat up your cold brew, it’s best to use a stovetop or microwave rather than an oven. Be careful not to overheat the coffee, as this can lead to further bitterness or unpleasant taste.


Warming up cold brew coffee is not only possible, but can be done so in a way that preserves its unique flavor profile. There are several methods to heat cold brew, making it an appealing option for those who enjoy hot beverages.

Choosing the right method depends on personal preferences and resources available. The most effective technique involves using a combination of hot water and cold brew concentrate, typically at a 1:1 ratio. This method conveniently retains the original flavors and prevents bitterness or loss of overall quality.

Alternatively, the microwave can be employed to quickly and easily heat cold brew, although the results may not be as satisfying as using electric kettle or the hot water method. Keep in mind to microwave the cold brew in 30-second increments to avoid overheating.

Regardless of the method employed, heating up cold brew coffee allows consumers to appreciate its smoothness, whether it is consumed hot or cold. In summary, the flexibility and uniqueness of cold brew coffee continues to make it an attractive option for coffee enthusiasts everywhere.