For most of us, coffee is an integral part of our daily lives. It provides a much-needed jolt of energy as well as a comforting ritual. That said, are you team hot coffee or cold brew? Maybe, this choice ultimately depends on the current season. At any rate, it’s helpful to know the difference between the two. Each type offers distinct flavors, brewing techniques, and even potential health benefits. In the spirit of being well-caffeinated (without the jitters!), we’re delving into cold brew vs hot brew coffee. Is one healthier than the other? And what is the best time of day to consume coffee for optimal hormone health? Let’s get brewing.
The health benefits of coffee
Let’s start here. If you typically sip hot coffee, you’re consuming numerous antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and protect against oxidative stress. In fact, it’s linked to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s! Additionally, thanks to hot coffee’s higher brewing temp, it leads to a more immediate and noticeable energy boost. Cold brew, on the other hand, is known for its lower acidity levels. If you have a sensitive stomach—but still want to enjoy coffee—cold brew can help (however, chat with your healthcare provider before sipping on this bevvie). It also has a balanced and smooth flavor. The slow and cold extraction process results in a mellow and less bitter taste.
cold brew vs. hot coffee: brewing methods
Did you know that hot coffee and cold brew have different brewing methods? In turn, this changes the beans’ flavor and overall profile. If you’re a coffee drinker, you likely know that hot coffee offers a more traditional and robust flavor experience. It has aromatic and bold characteristics. On the other hand, cold brew has a smoother and less acidic taste, making it a favorable option for a milder cup.
Cold brew’s brewing method involves steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period, usually between 12-24 hours. The slow extraction process at lower temperatures, around 40°F (4°C) to 70°F (21°C), produces a smoother, less acidic cup of coffee. The final brew is achieved by filtering out the grounds, resulting in a concentrate that can be diluted with water or served over ice.
Hot coffee, on the other hand, is the traditional method of brewing coffee that involves exposing coffee grounds to hot water, usually between 195°F (90°C) and 205°F (96°C). This high temperature allows for a quick extraction of flavors and aromas, resulting in a rich and robust cup of coffee. The brewing time typically ranges from 3-5 minutes, depending on the desired strength.
Which is healthier, cold brew or hot coffee?
Spoiler alert: the answer isn’t one-size-fits-all. Ultimately, both cold brew and hot coffee can offer similar health benefits, such as increased alertness, improved mood, and potential protection against certain diseases, like Parkinson’s and liver disease. Ultimately, the choice between cold brew and hot coffee comes down to personal preference, taste, and how each option affects your body and overall well-being. Consider experimenting with both methods!
All about cold brew
With the summer months in mind, let’s highlight one of this season’s most refreshing drinks: cold brew. My favorites are Four Sigmatic and Wandering Bear! Here are a two reasons why cold brew is worth the fridge space:
1. Smooth and less acidic flavor. The extended steeping process at cooler temperatures extracts fewer bitter compounds and reduces the acidity compared to hot brewed coffee. This makes it an appealing option if you have acid reflux or stomach issues.
2. Convenience and versatility. Cold brew can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for several days, allowing you to have ready-to-drink coffee whenever you desire. This makes it convenient for planning ahead or enjoying coffee on the go. Cold brew coffee can also be used as a base for various coffee-based beverages—iced lattes, smoothies, mocktails, etc.
Coffee and hormone health
With hormonal health in mind, what is the best way to drink caffeine—without disrupting hormone balance? While the effects of coffee vary from woman to woman, there are universal considerations to keep in mind. First and foremost, asses your consumption. Cortisol naturally peaks between 9-10 a.m., and if you’re chugging caffeine all morning, it can temporarily increase cortisol levels. Eventually, this can contribute to cortisol imbalance, causing increased stress, sleep issues, and more. Stick to 1-2 cups. Additionally, consume it after a hormone-friendly breakfast. This is very helpful for maintaining stable blood sugar. In terms of an afternoon pick-me-up, cold brew is a delicious option! If diluted properly, it can help prevent a sudden energy crash. That said, aim to wrap your caffeine consumption at least six hours before bed.
If you struggle with estrogen dominance, PCOS, or another hormone imbalance, consult your healthcare provider in regard to appropriate caffeine consumption. In some cases, minimizing (or eliminating) coffee is necessary for restoring hormone balance.
why choose organic coffee beans?
1. Reduced Pesticide Exposure
Did you know that conventional coffee beans are the number one sprayed crop in the world? Prolonged exposure to pesticides can disrupt endocrine function and potentially interfere with hormone balance and fertility. Choosing high-quality, organic coffee ensures that you’re reducing your exposure to harmful chemicals, promoting better hormone health.
2. Minimal Mycotoxins
Mycotoxins are toxic substances, produced by mold that grows on coffee beans during storage and processing. Yikes. Low-quality coffee may have a higher risk of mycotoxin contamination. Mycotoxins can have detrimental effects on hormonal regulation and overall health. Opting for quality coffee reduces the likelihood of mycotoxin exposure.
3. Increased Antioxidants
Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants, which play a crucial role in reducing oxidative stress in the body. High-quality coffee beans are typically processed and roasted in a way that preserves the antioxidant compounds, such as chlorogenic acid. These antioxidants have been associated with various health benefits, including better blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity!
4. Better Blood Sugar Response
Speaking of insulin sensitivity, the caffeine (and other bioactive compounds present in coffee) can impact blood sugar levels. That said, some studies suggest that drinking high-quality, organic coffee may help improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism—the goal for overall blood sugar regulation. Additionally, coffee’s antioxidants may have a positive effect on insulin function and blood sugar control.
Images courtesy of Unsplash. This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider.