If you’re a Keurig owner, you might be wondering if your trusty machine can serve up a refreshing glass of cold coffee, or what that “ICED” button does. In this post, we’re here to set the record straight and answer your question: “Can a Keurig Make Cold Coffee?”
No, Keurig does not brew cold coffee. Coffee is always brewed hot, unless coffee beans are soaked in water for up to a day, which is called a “cold brew.” Heat allows for quick extraction of bean oils and flavor. Certain Keurig models do offer an “ICED” coffee setting in which the machine cools the water at the end of the brew, which allows the coffee to be served over ice without diluting as much of the flavor.
In this short article, we’ll explore why Keurig primarily brews hot coffee, the science behind it, and how you can still get that perfect iced coffee using your Keurig, even if it doesn’t technically brew cold coffee.
- Does Keurig Brew Cold Coffee?
- Why Keurig Doesn’t Brew Cold Coffee
- Frequently Asked Questions
Does Keurig Brew Cold Coffee?
Keurig, the coffee maker many of us associate with hot, cups of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate at the touch of a button, only brews hot drinks. When you put that pod in and press the brew button, water is heated by an electric coil and then run over the ground beans in the coffee pod and into your mug below.
Coffee is made with hot water because the heat allows for flavor and caffeine to be extracted from the ground coffee beans within minutes.
Even when you order an iced coffee at your local coffee shop, the coffee is still brewed hot like normal, it’s just been either chilled in the fridge or packed with ice to cool it. The only way to actually make coffee with cold water is called “cold brew.” This is done by soaking ground coffee beans in a big jar of coffee for 12-24 hours and then filtering the beans out.
Because of iced coffee’s popularity, Keurig has added an “ICED” button on certain models.
Side note: my buddy Ricky actually drinks a Starbucks iced coffee every day, year-round. Even though the Chicago winter.
This “ICED” coffee feature doesn’t mean Keurig is brewing cold coffee. Instead, this function works by making your Keurig brew hotter for a stronger and more concentrated flavor, and then cool down earlier to reduce ice melt. Because when you pour it over ice, the hot coffee will cause the ice to start to melt, diluting the flavor.
By making the coffee stronger to begin with, you end up with a better balanced iced coffee once it’s all chilled out with the ice.
(An alternative is to brew the coffee before you want to drink it and then chill it in the fridge. Then when you serve it over ice it won’t melt as fast.)
So while your Keurig may not technically brew cold coffee, with the iced coffee feature, you’re equipped to enjoy a refreshing glass of iced coffee anytime you wish. All you need is a glass of ice, your favorite coffee pod, and a little patience to get a cool, refreshing drink any time you want.
Personally, I love this feature after a workout or on a hot summer day because it gives me my caffeine boost while being cool and refreshing.
Why Keurig Doesn’t Brew Cold Coffee
Coffee beans are packed with flavorful compounds and oils that require a certain process to get fully released. Hot water acts as that trigger. When hot water comes into contact with coffee grounds, it helps in extracting these flavors effectively and quickly. The heat speeds up the diffusion process, allowing us to capture the strong and aromatic elements of the coffee beans in a few minutes. Without hot water, we’d have a difficult time getting that rich and full flavor we expect from our coffee.
Now, cold brewing is another story. It’s a unique process that doesn’t rely on heat. Instead, it’s all about time. Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for an extended period, typically around 12 to 24 hours. This contact allows for a very slow extraction of the flavors, giving you a coffee that’s smooth, less acidic, and distinctly different from its hot-brewed counterpart. However, it takes patience that I don’t have to make it. That’s a stark contrast to the Keurig’s promise of convenience and speed. So, if you want to get a cold coffee from your Keurig, the machine will give you a strong hot coffee to pour over ice, rather than making you wait a day for a cold brew.
So, while cold brew is excellent and worth the wait for many, Keurig’s design is all about giving you a quick drink for when you’re on the go (like running out the door for work in the morning), capitalizing on the fast extraction that hot water gives the grounds. And with the added feature of brewing coffee perfect for pouring over a glass of ice, it ensures you can enjoy both hot and cold drinks without the long wait
1. How to Make Iced Coffee With Keurig
We’ve written a guide with all the tips and tricks on how to make the best Keurig iced coffee. You can check it out here.
2. Does Keurig Make Cold Brew?
No. Keurig makes a more concentrated cup of coffee you can pour over ice, but a cold brew takes 12 to 24 hours to steep and extract the flavors. Keurig is all about convenience and speed.
3. Does Keurig Make Iced Coffee Pods?
There are specific Keurig pods for iced coffee, but you can also just go with a stronger dark roast to ensure you get the flavor you want as the ice melts and dilutes the coffee.
Related: Are you tight on space or in a dorm-style housing but can’t sacrifice the speed and convenience Keurig brings? We’ve picked The Best Keurig for a College Dorm here.
This article was written by Sara. You can learn more about Sara on our About the Team page.