cold brew coffee is lower in antioxidants and no less acidic

The popularity of cold brew coffee has soared: the market has grown by over 500% in the past few years. The popularity is partly driven by claims that cold brew coffee is less acidic. So, how does cold brew actually stand up to hot coffee for acidity and, more importantly, health?
Cold brew coffee is made by steeping the coffee over a long period of time without heat. The claim is that, because it is less acidic, it is less likely to cause heartburn or gastrointestinal distress. But is it really less acidic?

Though there are lots of studies on hot brew coffee, there are actually very few on cold brew coffee, so it is not clear where the claims came from. There have been few studies of the chemistry of cold brew coffee and none on its health properties.

When researchers finally put cold brew coffee’s acidity to the test, the answer was not what marketers had hoped for. The pH values of the cold and hot brew coffees they compared were comparable, ranging from 4.85 to 5.13, meaning that cold brew coffee is not really less acidic than hot brew.

But the news gets worse for cold brew coffee. Many of the health benefits of coffee are derived from its antioxidants. But the hot brew coffee was discovered to have higher antioxidant activity than cold brew.

All of this seems to mean that cold brew coffee may sacrifice some of the health properties of hot brew coffee for no pay off.

Scientific Reports 2018;8:16030

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