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Cold brew coffee is sweeping the nation!
This once niche product is now ubiquitous; even popular chains like Dunkin’ and Starbucks have hopped on board.
Why all the hype?
At first, I was skeptical (like you?). I never like to blindly adopt the latest fads because they’re usually short-lived.
Also, I’ve always been an avid hot coffee drinker, so I was comfortable sticking to more of the same. However, after trying many different bottled and fresh cold brews and doing my homework, I’m now a huge fan!
A couple of nights each week,
I make my husband makes a pitcher of cold brew (even in the winter!) because of its many benefits, which I’m here to explain!
First…Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee: What’s the Difference?
Cold brew’s name is very literal; when making it, you never heat the coffee grounds. Thus, it’s “cold brewed.”
Iced coffee, on the other hand, is just hot coffee that’s been chilled. Usually, iced coffee is more bitter than cold brew since heating beans gives them a slightly bitter flavor. (That’s why hot coffee also has a somewhat bitter taste!)
If you’ve never liked the taste of hot and/or iced coffee, cold brew may be your thing! It has a totally different flavor profile.
Cold Brew Coffee Benefits: 6 Reasons It’s Better Than Hot Coffee
1. Cold brew often contains less caffeine than hot coffee.
Don’t worry! It still contains plenty of caffeine.
However, since cold brew contains a bit less caffeine than hot coffee, you can get the jolt without the jitters!
At Starbucks, a tall dark roast hot coffee contains about 193 mg of caffeine; a tall cold brew contains about 150 mg.
Interestingly, cold brew contains more caffeine than iced coffee. A tall iced coffee from Starbucks contains only 120 mg of caffeine.
So, in terms of caffeine, hot > cold brew > iced coffee.
According to research on the effects of caffeine on human health, a healthy adult can consume caffeine at a dose of up to 400 mg per day; this rate of consumption is “not associated with adverse effects such as general toxicity, cardiovascular effects, effects on bone status and calcium balance (with consumption of adequate calcium), changes in adult behaviour, increased incidence of cancer and effects on male fertility.”
However, the data also suggests that “reproductive-aged women and children are ‘at risk’ subgroups who may require specific advice on moderating their caffeine intake. Based on available evidence, it is suggested that reproductive-aged women should consume </=300 mg caffeine per day . . . while children should consume </=2.5 mg . . .”
Certainly, every cup of coffee is unique, so some cold brew may contain equal amounts of caffeine—if not more—as traditional hot coffee.
Regardless of any cup’s exact caffeine content, coffee seems to be beneficial for most adults, even in doses of up to 4-5 cups a day.
2. Cold brew is less bitter and naturally sweeter than hot coffee.
This is great news because cold brew tastes better plain, free from additives like flavored syrup, sugar, and milk.
Coffee is a sneaky beverage in that it can be healthy in moderate amounts (see #1), but its health benefits are negated when you add too much sugar!
To read more about the hidden sugar in many foods and beverages (like coffee!), check out my prior post “Hidden Sugar: You’re Probably Eating More Than You Think!”
Cold brew tastes smooth and delicious all by its sugar-free self, so bring it on!
3. Cold brew is less acidic than most hot coffee.
This means it may go easier on your stomach and your teeth!
According to an article by Berkeley Wellness:
Cold brew is being promoted as better, even “ideal,” for people who have acid reflux because, depending on the recipe, it can have a slightly higher pH, which means it’s less acidic.
If your stomach is sensitive to acidic foods, it’s important to recognize that every cup of coffee is different. Cold brew may be okay for you, or it may still hurt.
If you have touchy digestion, you’ll just have to give it a try and see how you feel!
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4. Like hot coffee, cold brew contains healthful antioxidants.
Have you heard of the word “polyphenol”? According to Healthline.com:
Polyphenols are micronutrients that we get through certain plant-based foods. They’re packed with antioxidants and potential health benefits. It’s thought that polyphenols can improve or help treat digestion issues, weight management difficulties, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, and cardiovascular diseases.
. . . coffee polyphenols, such as chlorogenic acids, have many health-promoting properties, such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-diabetes, and antihypertensive properties.
Coffee polyphenols inhibit atherosclerosis-related CVD and T2DM [cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes], respectively. Coffee has many health-promoting properties, and chlorogenic acid appears to protect against metabolic syndrome through its antioxidant activity. The antioxidative effects of coffee components may be a basic feature of prevention.
So, two thumbs way up for polyphenol-containing cold brew!
5. Cold brew is super cheap and easy to make.
You can make three big batches (64 oz each) of cold brew from one pound of coffee grounds; each batch yields about four 16-oz cups of coffee.
This means each 16-oz cup of homemade cold brew costs less than $1!
To make a 64-oz batch of cold brew yourself, you only need four things: a mason jar, a coffee sock, coarsely ground beans, and filtered water.
Amazon sells the perfect cold brew kit, which includes the 64-oz mason jar and sock:
You can also find coarsely ground beans on Amazon. My husband and I like these brands best since they’re delicious and organic:
Then, follow these steps:
- Stretch coffee sock over mouth of jar.
- Fill sock with coarsely ground beans.
- Fill most of jar with filtered water.
- Securely tie sock and drop into jar.
- Fill remainder of jar with water.
- Screw lid on tightly. (The less oxygen, the better!)
- Let sock of grounds sit in water for at least 16 hours to “brew.” (The longer you let it steep, the stronger the coffee will be. Don’t let it steep for longer than 24 hours; 16-18 hours is the sweet spot!)
- Remove sock.
- Dump grounds into trash; rinse sock clean and let it air dry.
- Refrigerate. It should maintain its superb flavor in an airtight pitcher (like this one) or mason jar for about a week.
Note: Cold brew is highly concentrated, so we usually fill a 20 oz stainless steel mug (see below) 1/4 of the way with filtered water, then the rest with cold brew. If you add a large ice cube (see mold below), it’s perfection!
6. Cold brew is convenient!
There are many bottled, grab-n-go cold brew options for sale at coffee shops, in grocery stores, and online.
You can find these organic varieties on Amazon:
Bottom line: Cold brew’s benefits are numerous! If you’ve never given it a try…what are you waiting for?!
Questions? Comments? Share ’em below!
⇒ To optimize every aspect of your health, visit My Favorite Things! There, you’ll find links to healthy packaged foods, toxin-free products, and overall wellness boosters.
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