Is Cold Brew Good For You?

The following post is adapted from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health News 

Iced latte on leaf patterned tea towel

Science shows coffee can have major health perks at any temperature.

Summer’s hottest drink is also a healthy way to beat the heat.

Cold brew coffee — made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water overnight or longer — is just as healthy as regular coffee, according to Frank Hu, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in a recent Health.com article.

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Even Daily Coffee Drinkers Can Boost Athletic Performance With Caffeine

“Caffeine improves athletic performance. This is a truth almost universally acknowledged in exercise science.” — Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times

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Drinking caffeinated coffee has been scientifically linked to improved physical performance. And for years, many scientists, coaches, and athletes believed that an athlete had to abstain for days or weeks before an event to gain a boost.

But a new study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that these ideas about caffeine and athletic performance are outdated.

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Seeding Coffee’s Future: A Conversation About Conservation and Verification

By Hanna Neuschwander, World Coffee Research

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An unidentified Coffea species found in Madagascar, which is preserved in a coffee genebank. Ensuring these genebanks have adequate funding to continue operations should be a major priority of the coffee industry. Source: Sarada Krishnan

Sometimes facts are so obvious they become invisible.

In the case of coffee, one of those facts is this: Coffee comes from a plant. The entire $225 billion dollar coffee industry in the U.S. is built up from the roots of billions of living, breathing coffee plants that spend their days turning sunlight into fruit. Once you stop and think about it, it’s kind of profound. Nearly 1.7 million jobs — including, if you are reading this, probably yours — depend on those plants doing their thing, photosynthesizing, outsmarting diseases and pests, being rained on at the right time in the right amounts.

It’s also profound to think about just how fragile the entire arrangement is. The vast majority of coffee plants in the field today are really, really (really) genetically similar. Most varieties are not resistant to major diseases. Most are way too old (World Coffee Research guesses that about 50% of coffee trees are more than 50 years old). That leaves coffee especially vulnerable — to disease epidemics like the one that devastated Central American production after 2012, to extremes in weather like excessive rain or drought or frost.

When crops are facing challenges like these, it helps to go back to basics: Coffee is a plant. So — what is needed to help the plant thrive? And, thereby, to help the humans who depend on it?

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Behind the Headlines: Coffee, Health, and Research

For the informed coffee drinker.

By Bill M. Murray, CAE, NCA, CEO
@Bill_CoffeeAssn

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We know that coffee helps fight fatigue – but how do we know this?

First, from personal observation – coffee drinkers feel the effects of caffeine, and sometimes observe them in others.

Second, there’s evidence in the form of coffee-drinker surveys. In 2016, 84% of coffee drinkers said that “coffee wakes me up and gets me going.”[1]

Third, independent researchers suggest that consuming caffeinated coffee may be linked to improved brain function, physical endurance, and athletic performance.[2]

Three different types of research, all leading to similar conclusions.

But when it comes to diet and health-related research, there are new headlines every day – sometimes with opposite claims. Coffee itself isn’t immune from this phenomenon, and it’s easy to see why.

Since the early 1990’s, at least 2,700 coffee and health related studies have been reported by researchers from all around the world.[3] With new coffee and health headlines emerging on a weekly basis, it is important that coffee drinkers think smart about the coffee and health news that breaks over their morning cup of coffee, some of which may even appear to be contradictory.

If you’re trying to stay up-to-date on coffee and health research, here are 4 things to keep in mind when reading the headlines.

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Six Fundamental Principles of Good Coffee

The Golden Ratio

Coffee is a matter of individual taste, shaped by factors ranging from culture to genetics (really). Whether you prefer a third-wave, artesian light roast or a strong supermarket classic, taken black or with milk and sugar — find what you like and enjoy it.

Making good coffee at home comes down to experimenting with the process, but it helps to have a solid foundation first.

These six fundamental principles can help you brew a better cup — whatever that means to you.  Continue reading