The benefits and harms of cold brew coffee

Real madness is happening in the West – cold “brewing” coffee suddenly came into fashion, or rather, cold infusion. It’s 100% raw (and of course vegan) coffee – supposedly quite attractive to those who lead a healthy and active lifestyle*.

Preparing cold brew coffee is simple, but long: it is infused for at least 12 hours in cold water.

Some put it immediately in the refrigerator (so it is brewed even longer, up to a day), others are left in the kitchen: brewed in water at room temperature. The coffee is tasty, not very strong, and almost not bitter at all. At the same time, the aroma is stronger, and the taste is more “fruity” and sweet – this is without added sugar!

Sometimes coffee is considered an unhealthy drink, along with soda and alcohol. But at the same time, in fact, coffee contains about 1000 types (only types!) of antioxidants, and according to recent science, it is coffee that is the main source of antioxidants in the human diet. Now coffee is “in disgrace”, it is considered to be a harmful drink, but it is possible that the progressive world is on the verge of a new wave of “coffee renaissance”. And this wave is definitely cold!

There are already quite a few fans of the new trendy drink: this is more than 10% of the number of people who drink coffee, according to the US data for May 2015. They claim that cold “brewed” coffee:

  • More useful, because contains 75% less caffeine – so you can drink it 3 times more per day than hot;

  • More useful, because its acid-base balance is shifted closer to the alkaline – 3 times stronger than that of regular “hot brew” coffee. In particular, the idea of ​​​​the benefits of “cold brew” coffee is actively promoted by a well-known nutrition expert in the United States, Vicki Edgson: she is convinced that such coffee alkalizes the body.

  • Taste better, because aromatic substances (and there are hundreds of them in coffee) are not subjected to heat treatment, which means that they are not released from the infusion into the air, but remain in it;

  • Taste better, because in “raw” coffee, there is much less bitterness and “acidity”.

  • Easier to brew: “cold brewing” requires neither the knowledge nor the skill required to make delicious coffee at home, even with the help of coffee machines.

  • Keeps longer. Theoretically, “cold” brew coffee in the refrigerator does not spoil for about 2 weeks. But in practice, the taste qualities of “raw” coffee are preserved for two days. For comparison – the taste of coffee brewed with hot water deteriorates immediately upon cooling – and worsens again when heated!

But, as always, when talking about the benefits of something, it’s good to take into account the “cons”! And cold coffee and tea have them; data on this subject are conflicting. we give the most complete list – the possible consequences of abuse, taking in large quantities:

  • Anxious conditions;

  • Insomnia;

  • indigestion (diarrhea);

  • High blood pressure;

  • Arrhythmia (chronic heart disease);

  • Osteoporosis;

  • Obesity (if you abuse the addition of sugar and cream);

  • Lethal dose: 23 liters. (However, the same amount of water is also deadly).

These are dangerous properties of any type of coffee, not specifically “raw” coffee.

Coffee has attracted people, for thousands of years, mainly because of the content of caffeine, a state-sanctioned (along with alcohol and tobacco) means of “changing the state of consciousness”, i.e., in a sense, a drug. But do not forget about the aroma and taste of coffee, which is more important than anything else for connoisseurs, gourmets of coffee drinks. Between cheap and dull-tasting “bag coffee” and professionally prepared natural coffee from a coffee shop, there is an abyss.

Thus, if we are talking about the value of coffee, we have at least 3 scales:

1. Fortress (content of caffeine – a chemical, the benefits and harms of which scientists still argue fiercely);

2. The taste of the finished drink (in many respects it does not even depend on the variety, but on the skill and method of preparation!);

3. Useful and harmful properties (also largely dependent on cooking).

Many are also important:

4. “”, embedded in the product that ended up on our table,

5. the presence or absence of certification as “organic”,

6. Ethical labor invested in the product: some companies are certified as “child labor free”, and by other similar standards.

7. can also be redundant and difficult to recycle, rational – medium environmental friendliness – or minimal and easily recyclable, i.e. highly ecological. But it would be nice if our habits did not cause much harm to the environment even after using the product!

In general, as in the case of the taste of coffee, the scale of “sustainability” and ethical coffee is huge: from a dubious powder produced as a result of child labor and pesticides (often in Asia and Africa), to a truly certified Organic, Fairtrade and freshly ground coffee packed in cardboard directly from the bag (in developed countries, such as the Russian Federation and the USA, such coffee is popular). All these “nuances”, you see, can make coffee “bitter” or “sweet”: as in the famous film by R. Polanski: “For her, the Moon was bitter, but for me, sweet as a peach” … But now to this already rich another scale, or an indicator of coffee quality, has been added to the taste and ethical-ecological bouquet:

8. cooking temperature! And it seems that along this line, raw foodists, vegans and vegetarians can easily win by doing…. cold coffee!

Be that as it may, while scientists are arguing about the benefits and harms of coffee (and tea), cold and hot, many consumers say yes to coffee, and allow themselves a cup or two of an invigorating drink a day. Including, as a kind of “compensation” for the rejection of many other products of dubious usefulness or frankly harmful: such as snacks, sodas, white bread, sugar and “junk food” from fast food establishments.

Curious facts:

  • “Cold brew” coffee is sometimes confused with “iced coffee” or simply iced coffee, which is traditionally on the menu of almost all coffee shops. But iced coffee is not raw coffee, but regular espresso (single or double) poured over ice cubes, sometimes with caramel, ice cream, cream or milk, etc. added. And cold frappe coffee is generally made on the basis of instant powder.

  • For the first time, the fashion for cold brew coffee appeared in … 1964, after the invention of the “Toddy Method” and the “Toddy Machine” – a patented glass for cold brew coffee by a chemist. They say, “everything new is a well-forgotten old”, and indeed, it is difficult not to remember this saying, watching the growth of the trend for “cold brew” coffee.

___ * It is known that the consumption of coffee in small quantities (1-3 cups a day) can increase the results of sports training by about 10%, helps to reduce excess weight (because it dulls appetite), protects against a number of chronic diseases (incl. including rectal cancer, Alzheimer’s disease), has anticarcinogenic properties. According to the National Institutes of Health Research (USA) for 2015, several cups of coffee a day reduce the risk of death from any causes (except cancer) by 10%; also see the benefits of regular coffee consumption.

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