Ask Keri: Is Cold Brew Coffee Healthier?
Keri Says: As cold brew coffee took off over the past few years, it definitely seemed to become healthy eaters’ java of choice.
But is the talk about its health benefits just a lot of (caffeine-fueled) buzz?
The short answer is that cold brew and hot coffee are so far pretty indistinguishable when it comes to how they affect your body, although some people may find cold brew is slightly easier on their digestion. Here’s what you need to know.
Cold Brew Coffee Vs. Iced Coffee Vs. Hot Coffee
First of all, to clarify: iced coffee is not the same as cold brew. Iced coffee is generally made by brewing coffee (either via a drip system or french press) and then cooling it. It’s cold because it’s been in the fridge or is filled with ice cubes, but the water was still heated to actually make the coffee.
Cold brew, on the other hand, is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for a long period of time—usually 12 to 24 hours—and then straining out the grounds.
Is Cold Brew Coffee Healthier?
Now to the claims about health benefits.
One argument that’s made often is that when you brew hot coffee, the heat destroys antioxidants. Therefore, cold brew is higher in antioxidants. As of yet, there’s no real research showing that’s true. In fact, some experts point to antioxidants in coffee that may even be made more bioavailable via heat.
The second big point relates to acidity, since cold brew is significantly less acidic than hot coffee (because some acids are not pulled through as much with cold water versus hot water). Arguments about alkaline foods being healthier than acidic foods are not based on science at all. However, cold brew may cause less acid reflux in people who are sensitive to it and/or be easier on the stomach for some, since it’s less acidic.
Finally, the lower acidity and fact that some flavor compounds don’t come through via cold brewing give it a smoother taste. That “easier drinking” feel may mean people pile less sugar and calorie-dense creamers in their cups.
The most important point? All of the major health benefits of hot coffee—like decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes—apply to cold brew, too. And I can personally attest to the fact that the workplace benefits, like early morning email energy, also carry over. Can’t you?
(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)