Coffee enthusiasts – What makes cold brew coffee special?
Here’s why I consider cold brew coffee to be so special
There are numerous reasons why cold brew coffee has become so widely popular and why so many people rely on this cold beverage to start their days. It’s impossible to narrow down why this beverage is so special to just one reason because it is unlike regular hot coffee in numerous capacities. From my experience in the industry, here is why I consider cold brew coffee to be so special:
- It’s sweeter, smoother, and not bitter – The coffee grounds for cold brew coffee aren’t exposed to high temperatures, which allows the resulting cold brew beverage to be more flavorful and less bitter. This can be a great advantage for those seeking to cut out sugars and sweeteners from their diets, as cold brew coffee might not need any sugar since it is already sweet!
- Cold brew coffee has a lower acidity – Did you know that the acidity of regular coffee can cause heartburn? That acidity can also cause damage to your teeth and the lining of your stomach too. You don’t have to worry about that with cold brew coffee though! By some estimates, cold brew coffee is over 67% less acidic than hot brewed coffee. What’s not to love about that advantage?
- Higher antioxidant content – Recent research has shown that green coffee beans contain tons of antioxidants. Unfortunately, the high temperatures of the roasting process tend to destroy many of those antioxidants, so hot coffees rarely have a good amount of antioxidants. Since cold brew does not need to be roasted or heated, this concentrate will have higher antioxidant properties to benefit your oxidative stress.
- Cold brew coffee generates little waste – Since everyone has become fixated on their own carbon footprints, we are all looking for ways to reduce our waste and environmental impacts. Cold brew coffee offers a convenient way to accomplish exactly that. With cold brew concentrate, you can simply refrigerate the coffee you don’t drink and save it for tomorrow. You can’t do that with hot coffee.
Ice-cold coffee that is refreshing for hot days
There has been a resurgence in interest in cold brew coffee over the last few years. In fact, it is now increasingly common for cafes to offer cold brew as part of their coffee menu and for roasters to sell canned cold brew. What makes this form of coffee special?
There are two main answers. The first is seasonal. The simplest answer is to what makes cold brew special is that it allows the coffee enthusiast to enjoy coffee all year round. Often a warm drink on a hot summer day is the last thing we feel like. This, however, causes a conundrum for the coffee enthusiast. We love coffee, but the day simply seems more fitted to a cold beer than a hot coffee. Enter cold brew. Cold brew is a delicious black ice-cold coffee that is refreshing for hot days.
The second reason is that cold brew provides another medium to showcase different single-origin beans. It is well recorded in the specialty coffee movement that the flavor notes of coffee change with the temperature of the coffee. That is why, for instance in cupping, you try the different beans multiple times as the coffee cools down. Cold brew coffee is increasingly popular not simply as a generic coffee drink, but instead as a specific way to highlight the flavor notes of single-origin coffees.
Tom Saxon, Founder of Batch Coffee. He’s been working in the coffee industry for over 10 years all over the world.
Light roasts perform better when brewed with cold water
Cold brew coffee is special because the coffee is extracted using cold water. Regular coffee, whether brewed with an espresso machine, Aeropress, stovetop, or filter (or pretty much any other method you can think of) uses hot water to extract soluble compounds from coffee grounds. The coffee is subjected to hot water for a certain amount of time depending on the particular method and how coarse the coffee is ground. The result is coffee as we know, whether long or short, black or white.
If you were to use cold water for instance with an espresso machine, the soluble compounds would not be extracted and you’d be left with a weak under-extracted brew.
Cold brew is a method that has gained popularity over the last few years because of the unique brew method and even more so the unique flavors that brewing in this way produces in the end cup of coffee.
Cold brew uses a combination of cold water, coarsely ground coffee, and extended brew time to extract the desired soluble flavor compounds.
The brew has a typically muted bitterness and highlights subtle flavor notes that ‘hot water’ brew methods struggle to hit. It is perfect for the summer months, especially for an afternoon caffeine pick-me-up when the weather is too hot for lattes or Americanos.
Some prefer cold brew to regular coffee as certain light roasts perform better when brewed with cold water. It is also fairly easy to make at home and can be brewed in batches and kept in the fridge for a few days – great for folks short of time in the week.
You can guzzle the entire cup with just a few pulls
First, and perhaps most importantly, it is less acidic than hot coffee. Low levels of acidity mean lower levels of inflammation, which means your gut has less of a welcoming environment for cancer-causing cells.
Secondly, it is not as strong on your breath. No one likes coffee breath and warm coffee breath is stronger than cold coffee breath.
Thirdly, it allows for faster consumption. Sometimes hot coffee can take hours to drink depending on the coffee mug/cup you use. With cold brew, you can guzzle the entire cup with just a few pulls.
Lastly, better for warm weather. If you live in or are in a warm climate season, the last thing you’ll want on a hot day is a warm beverage, which is why cold brew is just more practical.
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