Are you wondering why is cold brew watered down or Starbucks adds water to the beverage? Because cold brew coffee to water ratio is higher than iced coffee and the caffeine levels in the concentrate were considered too high for the average beverage. That is why Starbucks adds water to cold brew before serving to dilute the highly concentrated coffee to low concentrated coffee to make it sweet and smoother coffee.
Another reason for adding water is to satisfy coffee consumers because most coffee snobs love to drink cold for its low acidity but they probably want to cut caffeine levels in their drinks.
What Is Cold Brew Coffee?
Let’s have a look at what actually cold brew is, before going to get the answer why Starbucks or you should add water to cold brew coffee while ready for serving.
Cold-brew is one of the most popular coffee brewing methods where the coffee beans are ground and soaked in the normal room temperature around 20–22 °C (68–72 °F) for an extended time of at least 12 hours or more. Moreover, you get the best flavor cold brew coffee if you soak the beans for more hours even for 24 hours.
Unfortunately, there is a common myth regarding cold brew that it can only serve in cold conditions. But, it is not true because you could serve cold brew coffee hot in winter.
Finally, you get cold brew coffee as less acidic and highly caffeinated coffee and for this, you need to use perfect grind size for cold brew coffee.
Cold Brew VS Iced Coffee
At first glance, it might seem that cold brew coffee and iced coffee are quite similar because both coffee cold brew and iced coffee serve as cold coffee rather than regular hot coffee. But, you will find many differences between coffee brewing methods, brewing time, taste, and so on.
Cold-brew, you already know, is prepared by soaking coarsely ground coffee beans at room temperature instead of using refrigerator or ice for at least 12 hours and you get a concentrated coffee.
However, on the other hand, Iced coffee is brewed hot using hot water and chilled by pouring it over ice or keeping the coffee in the refrigerator for a few hours and served cold. And, the brewing time of iced coffee is less than the brewing time required for cold brewing. Therefore, your iced coffee will be diluted a bit when mix with water or brewed coffee after hours no longer gives you the super fresh flavor.
After all, most cold brew lovers claim that cold brew coffee tastes much smoother than typical iced coffee and you will have no problem drinking cold brew coffee even though you are sensitive to acid.
Can You Heat Up Cold Brew Coffee?
Especially in winter when the weather is cold, you want to drink warm coffee but what will happen if you heat up your cold brew coffee! Yes, you get the answer here.
Fortunately, if you want to drink hot cold brew coffee, you could easily heat up your cold brew coffee by adding hot water without any risk and therefore your coffee becomes less acidic and the taste might change slightly.
Why Should You Add Water To Cold Brew?
Once your cold brew coffee is prepared and ready to serve, you require to dilute the high concentrate before drinking. This is why when you order a cold brew coffee at Starbucks, you see the barista add water or cream or alt-milks with cold brew coffee to dilute the coffee before serving.
In other words, Starbucks adds water to the cold brew coffee beverage because the caffeine levels in the concentrate were considered too high for the average beverage.