Dictionaries seem to agree that brewing requires hot water. I have checked definitions in the New Oxford American Dictionary, the (British) Oxford Dictionary of English, and a thesaurus.

So how about the expression we most use for getting a coffee drink out of cold water: "cold brew" ?

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    FWIW I have also heard a beer called a "cold brew". Maybe because things brew better when hotter so we assume heat has to be a part?
    – Justin C
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 1:41

1 Answer 1


Yes, the term is an oxymoron.

Miriam Webster agrees with your definition of brewing involving hot water:

to prepare (as tea) by infusion in hot water

That is why the word cold is used as a qualifier to show that it is done with cold water rather than hot water.

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