Cold Brew Blues

From coffeehouses to the tea aisle, cold brew teas and coffees have snuck into prevalence in the last couple of years. But what exactly is cold brew, and what does “cold brew” coffee or tea mean for your health? Read on to discover what exactly these beverages are, how to brew them, health risks associated with them, and any potential health benefits!

Cold brewing is brewing coffee or tea in cold water, rather than in the traditional hot water. Cold brewed beverages tend to be less acidic, contain less caffeine, and have an entirely different taste than their hot-brewed cousins. Cold brewing also tends to have more leeway in recipes, dosages, and timing, as cold-brewing coffee or tea is a much longer, more relaxed process. Cold brews tend to have lighter flavor in the case of tea drinks, and fruitier flavors when it comes to coffee, so pick accordingly!

Looking to brew some cold coffee or tea? Be prepared to put aside nearly 12 hours for your favorite standard teabag. Most cold brew coffees sit overnight to allow for the strongest flavor.  Tea bags can simply be cold brewed, although some companies produce specialty cold brew tea bags with a reduced steep time. In the case of coffee, some producers provide coffee extract in a concentrate that you can mix with a jug of cold water, making an instant cold brew, while still others have released machines that allow you to make any coffee grounds into a cold brew.

Cold brew coffee and tea comes with a surprising host of health benefits! Cold brew coffee has a lower acid content, and therefore results in fewer stomach problems than traditional coffee. Other benefits of cold brew coffee and tea include their antioxidant properties and lower caffeine content. Green teas, especially, have high levels of important antioxidants like polyphenols that are essential for the functioning of your body.

However, cold brewing is not without its risks. Not boiling your tea leaves can leave you at risk for coliform, a bacterium that causes nausea and vomiting. “Sun tea” is especially rampant with coliform growths and was included as part of a 2006 CDC report released to local epidemiologists. To minimize your risks, properly clean and maintain your pitchers that you make your iced tea in to avoid issues.

Do you have any tips or favorites about cold brew coffees and teas? Let us know in the comments below!


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