Battle Of The Brews: The Debate Between Hot And Iced Coffee


Long Island Weekly editors Caroline Ryan and Frank Rizzo debate what’s better: Hot or iced coffee. 

Hot Coffee 

Ah, nothing beats a supersized, oversweetened, over calories, overpriced cup of iced coffee on a hot summer day, right?

Err, not quite. 

Okay, maybe those first few sips through the straw are satisfying. Otherwise, everything about iced coffee screams overindulgence and artifice.

And that includes the now fashionable cold brew variety.

Actually, it’s the ice in iced coffee, which automatically swings the debate in favor of hot. Drink it quickly or else the ice melts and waters the java down to insipidity. 

Admit it, if not for the sweetener, your iced coffee would be tasteless by the time you crunch the last ice cube. 

Now take hot coffee. Consider the astonishing variety you can get, from thick and muscular Turkish and espresso brews, to cream-laden, flavorful lattes. 

Let’s talk health benefits. Granted, there is an unending series of studies proving either that coffee extends your life—or shortens it. That is still up for debate.

Ice adherents have long claimed that their favorite contains less acidity, making it a healthier alternative and easier on the stomach.

Wrong. An article in Scientific Reports (October 2018) comparing hot- and cold-brewed coffees found little difference in acidity. And for those who put emphasis on the powers and benefits of antioxidants, guess what? The study concluded that hot coffee contains higher levels of those reportedly healthy ingredients.

How about the environmental impacts?

Hot coffee can be served in china or humble paper cups that readily dissolve in landfills. Iced coffees are limited to styrofoam or plastic cups that will take decades to break down. No wonder many municipalities are starting to ban styrofoam cups. Add those ubiquitous large plastic straws for the large iced coffee containers, and you have to another point for hot coffee. 

Finally, nothing beats a “cup of joe” to wake up in the morning. Sure, you can head to the nearest coffee bar, but brewing it at home and enjoying it in your backyard or at a cozy kitchen table can be so much more satisfying. 

Think how long it would take to cool the hot-brewed coffee in order to ice it. Similarly, if you have a cold-brewing machine, the process takes hours. Why wait?

Now (hot) coffee versus tea—that’s a better debate.

But hot versus iced coffee? C’mon, that’s a one-sided slaughter.

I’ll drink to that

Iced Coffee 

You know you’re an iced coffee addict when you find yourself shivering after each and every sip of your cold coffee beverage, even during the winter months when it’s 20 degrees outside. Iced coffee addicts everywhere will agree that a cold coffee is far superior to that of hot coffee for many reasons. 

1. Get your caffeine fix quick:

First, iced coffee allows you to get your caffeine fix in almost immediately since you don’t have to wait for your beverage to cool before taking a sip. Say goodbye to burnt tongues and time spent staring at your coffee mug wondering if it’s cool enough to take a drink. 

2. Hello flavor options: 

Iced coffee offers endless flavored options like those specialty drinks you order from Starbucks, Dunkin’ or your favorite local coffee shop. From exciting and unique flavors such as banana and coconut iced coffee to vanilla fudge and caramel, there are so many flavor options an iced coffee has to offer. Some iced coffee connoisseurs opt to try every flavor option there is available on a menu. 

3. Low acid levels

Another reason iced coffee addicts enjoy sipping their cool beverage every morning, day and night is that cold brew coffee contains 67 percent less acid than hot-brewed coffee. Without all that acid plaguing your drink, iced coffee drinkers can enjoy a big mug more often. Plus, reduced acid levels can also be healthier for your stomach and teeth. 

4. Save money—make your coffee at home

If you are looking to save a dime or the time spent at your local coffee shop, making iced coffee from home is very easily. A cold brew coffee typically lasts about 10 days in your refrigerator, making coffee on-the-go much quicker. To make cold brew coffee all you need your favorite coffee brand, a pitcher or mason jar and a thin paper coffee filter to help strain the coffee grounds.

5. Stay cool and caffeinated 

True iced coffee lovers will tell you it’s never too cold for an iced drink—especially a caffeinated one. With the summer months approaching, iced coffee is the perfect beverage to help cool you down and keep you awake for all of those activities you have planned this summer.

6. It’s healthier for you

For those of us looking to trim our waistlines—iced coffee may help to keep you beach bod ready. One of the best advantages to iced coffee is that it has no carbs and is fat free. For example, a regular iced coffee at Starbucks only has five calories per 16 ounce serving. 

7. No burns here

For those of us that are uncoordinated, or say a tad bit clumsy, iced coffee is the perfect beverage of choice. Although our intention is never to waste our much-loved beverage, spilling a cup of cold coffee is not the end of the world. Spilling a cup of hot coffee however, could burn your skin and cause you to feel quite uncomfortable.


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