Cold brew coffee has become more and more popular among coffee drinkers in recent years. Many studies have stated that cold brew coffee is more beneficial compared to regular coffee. Although most scientific research on the health benefits of coffee uses hot brew, cold brew is believed to offer many similar effects. Is cold brew coffee less acidic than hot brew? Is it truly better for your health? Lincoln Restaurant is going to discuss it by this article. Keep reading to find out the answer.
What makes coffee more acidic?
You may hear about the statement that heat makes coffee more acidic. Is it true?
Conventional wisdom says that the reason for acid extraction in your coffee is heat. While oils, acids, and other molecules separate more easily from coffee beans between 195 to 205 degree Fahrenheit, the acids appear from the mash no matter the temperature.
However, if you beans never outstretch that temperature while brewing, the compound won’t extract, right? It will take more time to have full extraction, but given long enough most of the compounds will absorb into the coffee. So, is cold brew cold less acidic than hot brew?
The coffee will be less acidic if you use alkaline water (7.5+) to extract the coffee. In addition, it depends on the duration you steep for, so acids will absorb slower into your water from the beans compared to hot coffee.
We believe, although tests need to be performed, that there are other compounds within coffee that react poorly in our stomach, but that those compounds are missing from cold brew extractions; a study supports this thought.
Based on the experiment, it is preferable brewing without a kettle because many results show that cold brew offers better than traditional methods. Also, as the brewing process is not that difficult, it is better to avoid coffee shops.
What is cold brew?
Cold brew is usually portrayed as iced coffee because that is how it is being commercialized, especially by big coffee chains, however, cold brew coffee is more than that. You might drink cold brew coffee with ice cubes and nothing is wrong with that, but do not be confused by other types of iced coffee such as: Japanese iced coffee, regular brewed coffee with ice.
The real difference between cold brew coffee and others is the water temperature in the brewing method in which the extraction of coffee takes place. As you know, regular coffee methods use near boiling temperatures in order to extract quickly the properties of coffee, whereas cold brew exchanges time for temperature, taking from 4 hours up to 24 hours depending on the method to make a full batch. In other words, if you put coffee grounds in water for 12 hours or more, then let it steep for awhile.
The results achieved from these different methods can be significantly different that make you like one method but not for the other one. So, it is the differences you need to know about cold brew coffee compared to other regular coffees.
Cold brew’s caffeine content
If you are a caffeine lover, there is good news for you as cold brew coffee is more caffeinated.
.Starbucks’ nutritional facts suggest that their standard cold brew coffee averages about 12.5 gam – 13 gam of caffeine per oz of coffee depending on the roast. In detail, medium roast tends to have more caffeine content than dark roast for cold brew.
And in both samples including regular coffee and cold brew coffee, it was found that cold brew coffee has a higher concentration of caffeine.
For the most part, the entire coffee products menu at Starbucks has relatively the same amount of caffeine content with some exceptions. And Nitro Cold Brew has a bulk of caffeine and it should be no surprise that espresso leads the pack in caffeine content.
So relying on how you plan to enjoy your morning brew, consider that unless you are including Nitro or expresso, it is hard to get the different caffeine content. And some proponents of cold brew coffees suggest that cold brew is higher in caffeine content and why is this?
Clearly, the concentration of coffee plays a big role. In general, you use more coffee to water ratio in cold brew over a hot cold brew. So why is this not demonstrated in the Starbucks lineup?
Starbucks likes to fill a cup with ice first and the cold brew and sweeteners are added after. However, Nitro is not created in that way. This may make you wonder what types of coffee beans Starbucks use for their coffee since the caffeine level remains consistent otherwise.
So does cold brew coffee have less caffeine than regular coffee? It is only right when you add ice, it is not true if you drink it straight up as a concentrate.
Cold brew coffee flavour profile
If you have ever tried cold brew coffee in with cold water, one of the first things you would notice is its flavour profile. Compared to hot brew, you may notice that cold brew is more fruity, nutty, chocolatey, or even floral notes when you enjoy cold brew coffee.
Cold brewing itself lowers the acid, but other flavours included in the coffee are detectable as well. And it is easy for you to catch the subtle of fruits, nuts, and chocolate.
If you make cold brew at home, you could use any kind of coffee beans that you desire. However, most coffee shops prefer using single origin coffee beans for brewing the coffee, particularly those that come from South America and Latin America. While you may want to find a coffee bean and use nothing else, you should experiment with other varieties and origins to find out an idea of what you have been missing.
You will experiment to get a more balanced flavour with the added sweetness that you cannot match in other ways. And you may discover your new favourite flavours! Once you know exactly what you like, you can never go to a coffee shop and say “hello” for your delicious cold brew at home.
While the brewing process can change the way you taste coffee, you are likely used to burnt flavour that comes with it. When you remove that, you will taste the coffee’s actual flavour.
Cold brew coffee tannin
Cold-brewed varieties are usually less bitter than hot brew in taste because of a compound known as tannins. So what is tannin?
Like tea, when you add hot water to coffee beans, the caffeine modules are extracted by heat. And these modules include antioxidants, oils, and other compounds known as tannin.
Tannins are herbal substances most prevalent in the skins of fruits which when brewed become present in beer, wine, fruit juices, nuts, smoked foods, herbs and spices.
Have you ever tasted a red wine in your mouth and just want to pucker up. The reason for this phenomenon is explained by tannins. And how does it work?
Tannins are naturally acidic and the proteins which are attached to your tongue react to them causing a sort of tannic dance in your mouth. It makes certain beverages such as wine and coffee an acquired taste.
You might equate the taste sensation to a light grittiness while drinking coffee. And it is not referred to what happens when you drink a stray of coffee ground by accident. A flavour texture in hot brew added by tannins versus a smooth texture in cold brew coffee that do not contain many tannins.
Hot water causes tannin compounds to bind with water molecules, hence they are ever-present in hot coffee. In contrast, there are less tannins appearing in cold-brew drinks because it takes longer for those tannins to extract in cold water.
That is to say, if you steep your coffee grounds in cold water for about 24 hours, you may notice that an increase in bitterness and acidity to your brew due to tannins extractions. And it is to say that tannins are acid after all.
Is cold brew coffee less acidic?
You are a coffee lover but suffer from acid reflux, cold brew is your best choice because you may have heard that it is less acidic than regular hot coffee.
Some brewers claim that cold-brew coffee does not have a strong taste, but they are likely to use wrong coffee beans, or they let the brewed coffee sit out too long and oxidize.
As discussed above, there will be a sweeter flavour if you steep coffee grounds in cold water and let’s talk about its acid level.
According to a Today’s self-funded study, there is less 67% caffeine in cold brew coffee compared to regular hot coffee. What’s more, some coffee lovers like the less-bitter taste of most cold brews as it is a change of pace from the traditional regular hot-brewed varieties.
These findings might not actually be true, however, based on this study and other corroborating studies, the chlorogenic acid (CGA) contents, which affect resulting pH levels were comparable in all tests and variations of hot versus cold brew methods.
However, the first study and chart related to it have conflicts in result suggesting that CGA contents are definitely lower in cold brew hot brew.
This study comes to the clear conclusions that agree with the “less acidity” argument.
Without hurting their stomach, coffee drinkers love that cold water steeping locks in the flavour. And you can even store cold brew in the fridge with the duration up to 2 weeks after you brew it. But long duration benefits have nothing to do with acidic level of cold brew.
If you’ve ever had gas-station coffee in the morning and wondered how it tastes so bad, it’s likely because the pot has sat there on the warmer for a while. Nevertheless, this isn’t the case with cold brew.
Day-old-cold-brew coffee does not taste stale like traditional day-old-hot-brew coffee. So, you are saving a lot of time in the morning as well as money.
pH level of cold brew coffee
The pH level of cold brew coffee is comparable between cold and hot brews ranging between 4.85 and 5.13. The hot cold brew were found to have higher concentrations of total titratable which may result in higher acidity than cold brew.
The pH level in the human body is 7.5+ depending on the alkalinity of food and beverages each individual consumes. If you utilize a more alkaline water source for your ice, your coffee may contain higher pH level.
Are you convinced that cold brew coffee is less acidic than hot coffee? Yes, you are!
How to make cold brew coffee less acidic
In order to make coffee less acidic, just use high alkaline water to make ice cubes, then add them to your coffee to get a higher pH level.
Do you remember that for the first time you taste coffee as a kid or a teenager? You always imagined the robustness of flavour based on the strong smell, however, it never lived up to the smells, did it?
Cold brew is believed to have a close smell-to-taste gap and taste is in the chemistry. We covered before if you expose your coffee grounds to heat, the grounds release oils that don’t dissolve at the low temperature. Those oils are full of bitter compounds that give your drink its famously acidic taste.
Therefore, it is safe to say that the bitterness of cold brew is lower because the water utilized to the extraction is not hot. You use cool or room temperature water which keeps those oils from being released from the beans as quickly.
Moreover, the heat shock of hot-brewed coffee prevents you from tasting all the subtle differences within the coffee flavour. And for hot coffee, the bitterness might not matter, but if you pour it over ice, you don’t get all flavour associated with cold brew. That is one big difference between cold brew coffee versus iced coffee.
That’s the main reason for people to add milk and sugar; the true flavour which is naturally sweet is removed, and you need to re-flavour the coffee. That also adds a lot of calories to an otherwise low-calories beverage.
As long as you do not add more sugar, cold brew coffee could be a healthier option compared to regular hot coffee. And the acid level is low too, so it might help your heartburn and acid reflux.
During the brewing period, the taste of coffee is primarily changed due to the temperature, but since you don’t have any brewing after you heat a cup of cold brew up, the original flavour is locked.
When your brewing process is finished and put the coffee in the fridge, the taste remains unchanged, allowing you to drink day-old-cold-brew coffee without changing its taste.
So is cold brew coffee less acidic compared to regular hot coffee? The answer is YES. Not only marketers and big coffee chains claim that cold brew has less acid level than others, scientific researches but also support the statement. Even though some kinds of acidity cannot be totally removed from cold brew, it is still less acid than hot in general.