Cold brew coffee: An adrenaline rush, without the heartburn

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If you had to put down your cup of coffee because of acidity or heartburn, there is good news. A cold brew coffee offers you that caffeine kick without hurting you.

Cold brew coffee is not be confused with iced coffee, which is hot brewed coffee served over ice. Cold brew coffee is prepared when ground coffee is steeped in water (cold or at room temperature) for 12 to 24 hours to produce a concentrated coffee essence.

This essence is diluted to taste and served hot or chilled. Cold brew can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or frozen for a longer period, without its taste changing.

Brewing coffee is dependent on various factors such as water volume, water temperature, size of the coffee particles (medium/course), the porosity of the coffee particles, and brewing time. The final composition — flavour, aroma, bioactive compounds — of cold brew is dependent on its brewing time. It is also believed that cold brew is smoother in texture compared to regular coffee.

Cold brew can be traced back to the 1600s, when Dutch traders were looking for a way of producing coffee that could be transported easily. Cold brew takes an edge over regular coffee due to its lower caffeine content and acidic quotient. It is believed that cold brew has a caffeine content of about 40 mgs/100 gms as compared to about 60 mgs/100 gms in regular coffee. Cold brew coffee is known to have a ph of 6.3 compared to a ph of 5.5 of hot brewed coffee. It has also been claimed that an alkaline diet scores more over its health benefits as compared to a diet high in acid producing foods including coffee.

Coffee contains more than 400 chemicals, including trace amounts of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants and caffeine, the main stimulant. Caffeine increases the release of epinephrine (adrenaline), which stimulates the central nervous system, increases states of alertness and increases heartbeat. Most people believe coffee to be a somewhat toxic addiction taken only as an indulgence or to overcome sleep and boost alertness.

Numerous studies reveal that moderate coffee consumption (1-2 cups a day) and caffeine has certain health benefits and does not contribute to cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and stroke. In fact, coffee is known to be a source of certain dietary antioxidants. Since it is a stimulant, it can contribute to difficulty in falling asleep, may interfere with regular sleeping patterns for many people and may cause disturbed or reduced sleep for some. Those sensitive to it should avoid coffee at bed time or try switching to cold brews, if you must.

Many health conscious people are turning to cold brews to get that caffeine kick and keep heartburn/ acidity in check. Despite the increasing popularity of cold brew coffee, more research needs to be conducted to validate its health benefits and ascertain risks, if any.

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