Person holding an iced cup of cold brew coffee

Cold brew has an unexpected health benefit you'd never guess

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Cold Brew Coffee Health Benefits and Facts: Is Cold Brew Coffee Healthier? 

Plenty of people confuse cold brew and iced coffee, but while they’re both cold and taste like coffee, the similarities mostly end there. One of the big differences between the two brews is that cold brew coffee health benefits exceed those of traditionally brewed coffee, and it doesn’t have all of the same side effects that a hot cup of joe carries. Cold brew also has a completely different brewing process than iced coffee, and that’s part of where its main health benefit comes from.

Iced coffee is regular, hot brew that’s chilled and poured over ice. Meanwhile, cold brew is brewed by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for a long period of time. Cold brew health benefits stem from this key difference in the brewing process, not the coffee itself, and damndoes it create a smooth, flavorful taste, too.

Cold brew coffee health benefits include one huge plus that regular hot coffee and iced coffee lack: It’s far less acidic, which means it irritates your stomach lining much less. A lot of coffees (not ours, though) can be highly acidic, causing upset stomach and other digestive problems.

This is why personal trainer Max Lowery only drinks cold brew. Lowery, who does intermittent fasting as part of his daily routine, says that drinking coffee on an empty stomach bothers him. He’s not alone in that: Drinking coffee on an empty stomach can make some people feel queasy or bloated.

“Because I don’t eat until 1 to 2 p.m. every day, I was drinking coffee on an empty stomach, and after about ten days of drinking coffee almost every day, I got very bad IBS symptoms, something I have never had to deal with before,” he said in an interview with Insider.

People with IBS are more likely to be sensitive to acidic foods and beverages, so it makes sense to try cold brew coffee. Healthier choices like this can keep you from having to sacrifice your morning coffee (oh, the horror!).

Cold brew health benefits stem from the fact that cold brew actually has around 70% less acidity than hot brewed coffee. Here’s why:

  • Coffee beans can release oils that contain acidic compounds.
  • During a hot brewing process, these oils are released above 140 F. The released oils make the coffee more acidic. (Since iced coffee is brewed hot, it also has this acidity.)
  • When coffee is brewed without being heated, the oils are never released, creating a much less acidic drink.

If you find that hot coffee or regular iced coffee irritates your stomach, switching to cold brew may help relieve your symptoms. You get the same benefits as hot brewed joe in cold brew coffee. Antioxidants are also present in cold brew, which can be good for your health, too. The health benefits cold brew coffee provides make it easier for everyone to enjoy, and did we mention that cold brew can still have an extra kick of caffeine?

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Cold Brew Coffee