Hot Cold Brew is Like Jumbo Shrimp

Earlier this week, I stopped by the coffee shop that is 88 steps from the office (thanks, Fitbit!) and ordered “my usual.” My coffee guy immediately began preparing a cold brew coffee with a splash of unsweetened almond milk and a packet of Stevia.

I love that I have a coffee guy and a “usual” order. And that both things are a mere 88 steps from the office. Feels like I’m leading a charmed life these days. But now that the weather has turned cold those iced coffees aren’t nearly as refreshing as they were a couple of months ago. I was bemoaning this fact to CG (coffee guy – he might as well have a snappy nickname, right?) and he said I should just order a hot cold brew.

Oxymoron alert! Hot cold brew is like jumbo shrimp, deafening silence, and the Great Depression. It’s your least favorite typically odd open secret. It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay.

OK, it’s not that.

(Speaking of Alanis Morissette and “Ironic” – her 1995 hit song about irony that, ironically enough, contained nothing that was actually ironic aside from the title – I stumbled upon (and by that I mean, sought out) this great dissection of the lyrics. Check it out if you’re so inclined and in the mood for a chuckle).

“Is such a thing even possible?” I asked CG. “And if so, doesn’t it defeat the whole purpose?”

He explained that cold brewing coffee removes the bitterness and amps up the caffeine. By heating it, you’re simply getting a smoother, bitter-free cup of coffee with a jolt. I was skeptical, but CG has never steered me wrong before, so I bit. Ordered myself a cup, and what do you know? He was right. It was a damn fine cup of coffee that had all the benefits of cold brew minus the “cold” part. Considering it was 52 degrees and damp out, this was a good thing.


A little research into the matter indicates that heating up cold brew coffee is hardly a CG innovation. It’s apparently a “thing.” One Reddit thread in particular devotes a great deal of space to the merits of hot cold brew. Who knew?

I did learn that I am not a fan of almond milk in hot beverages. I like it just fine in cold cold brew coffee (this is getting confusing!) and when I’m eating cereal, but in hot coffee it’s just….blah. Tastes weird to me. I think I’ll stick to half and half there.

Saw this sign on my daily walk today.


You have been warned.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

9 thoughts on “Hot Cold Brew is Like Jumbo Shrimp

  1. I am SO glad you mentioned the last part about almond milk tasting weird when heated. I usually make lattes at home and have been gradually switching myself over from skim milk to almond and coconut milk (I think I’m having lactose problems with age). And unfortunately, neither is tasting good in my lattes.

    Glad it isn’t my imagination.


    1. It’s definitely not all in your head! I noticed it before but thought I might be imagining it. My hot cold brew last week was proof that it DOES taste different. I’m sure there’s some scientific reason for that, but I don’t feel like doing the research right now.


  2. I totally clicked on the link about the lyrics, and now I am amused, which is an excellent way to start my Friday.

    That coffee looks delicious. Whoops – my coffee mug caught me staring.


  3. Mark, it’s strange because in as much as I LOVE coffee, I have to drink it hot. I’m not much into cold brew coffee. HOWEVER, I don’t mind if while sipping my coffee it gets cold. Now THAT I can drink. Isn’t that strange?

    Love the shot of the sign! Can you believe how they RUSH Christmas in retail?

    Hope you had a super weekend, buddy!


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