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Hot-brew coffee delivers more health benefits than cold brew, study finds

Researchers still encourage consumers to choose the brew they like best

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Photo (c) Alina Rosanova - Getty Images
While recent studies have highlighted the health benefits associated with coffee, a new study has looked at how those benefits can change depending on the roast and temperature of the brew. 

Researchers at the American Chemical Society looked at the difference in antioxidants in hot-brew coffee versus cold-brew coffee and discovered that hot brew reigns supreme from a health standpoint. 

“My advice to consumers has always been to drink what they like,” said researcher Niny Z. Rao, PhD. “But if you want to craft a coffee beverage with antioxidants or acidity in mind, you may want to pay attention to roast. If you want a low-acid drink, you may want to use a darker roast. But remember that the gap between the antioxidant content of hot- and cold-brew coffee is much larger for a dark roast.” 

Finding the nutritional value 

The researchers tested the antioxidants and acidity of different coffee roasts and different brewing temperatures to determine the health benefits of each kind. Their selections ranged from light roast to dark roast and brewing temperatures that started at 174 degrees Celsius to 209 degrees Celsius. 

After assessing the nutritional component of each type of brew, the researchers learned that the biggest difference came in the darker roast blends. The researchers ultimately deemed hot coffees to be healthier than cold brews because of how the antioxidants are dispersed throughout the drink during the brewing process. 

“Hot brewing extracts more antioxidants from the grind than cold brew, and this difference increases with the degree of roasting,” Dr. Rao said. This means that a hot-brew dark roast coffee would have the most antioxidants; hot-brew light roast would contain more antioxidants than a cold-brew coffee, but it still would not match up to the dark roast. 

In examining the light roasts at various temperatures, the researchers didn’t find much of a difference in antioxidants or acidity regardless of whether the brew was hot or cold. 

Not much work had been done on the nutritional component of hot-brew coffee versus cold-brew coffee, but the researchers explained that these findings could influence how consumers drink their coffee moving forward. 

“This study can inform coffee enthusiasts about how they may want to craft their own coffee at home, based on science and analytical chemistry,” said researcher Meghan Grim. 

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