Cold brew coffee is a type of coffee that has grown in popularity since it first burst onto the coffee scene.
It is unique in its brewing method that produces a wonderfully rich and strong taste that is naturally sweeter than coffee that is brewed hot.
It is often enjoyed without milk, either at room temperature, chilled, or over ice, which raises the question of whether it contains calories or not.
In this article, we will look at whether cold brew coffee contains calories, why it contains calories compared to its hot brewed counterpart, and the benefits of drinking cold brew coffee.
Why Does Cold Brew Have Calories?
The fact that cold brew coffee contains calories can be confusing when regular brewed black coffee is considered to not contain calories.
The calories that are present in basic cold brew coffee come from the carbohydrates in the coffee beans.
Because the concentration of cold brew coffee is often higher than that of regular coffee, the calories are marginally higher in cold brew coffee.
Although we tend to consider regular black coffee to be free of calories, it actually contains around 2-5 calories per serving depending on the strength.
Furthermore, if you add sweeteners, flavorings, or kinds of milk to your cold brew, it will contain more calories.
However, if you normally sweeten regular coffee, you may not need to sweeten cold brew as it is naturally sweeter which could mean that it is lower in calories for you than regular coffee.
How Many Calories Are In Cold Brew?
Now that we have established that cold brew coffee does contain calories and that all coffee in fact contains calories, the next step is to understand just how many calories there are in cold brew coffee.
The average cup of cold brew coffee without any added flavorings, sweeteners, or milk is around 15 calories.
This is around 3 times the amount in regular black coffee, but still extremely low.
While there is often no need to add sweetener to cold brew coffee because it is naturally sweeter than regular coffee, if you like a very sweet coffee you may still want to sweeten it or add flavorings through the use of syrups.
If you do add a form of sweetener to your cold brew, the calories will increase in line with the sweetening agent that you use.
For example, sugar will add significantly more calories than zero-calorie sweeteners or zero-sugar syrups will.
Similarly, if you want to enjoy your cold brew with milk, whether from a cow or from a nut, it will add calories to your drink.
The exact number of calories added will depend on the type of milk and how much you use.
How Cold Brew Is Prepared
The preparation of cold brew coffee is one of the reasons why it is so popular, or rather the result of the specific preparation is.
The aroma and flavor of cold brew coffee are unique to the brewing process and make it completely different from other types of coffee.
Rather than using ice to cool down hot coffee in the brewing process, the coffee is brewed at room temperature over an extended period of time.
A lot of patience or forward planning is required with cold brew coffee, but it is worth it in the end.
Ground coffee is placed into room temperature or slightly cool water, and the coffee to water ratio dictates the strength of the coffee much as it would with regular coffee.
The grounds are then left to steep in the water for anywhere between 14 and 24 hours.
This extensive steeping process allows all of the richness, essential oils, and nutty flavor of the coffee to be extracted and provide the distinctive flavor that cold brew is known for.
Once the coffee has been allowed to steep for at least 14 hours, it can then be strained to remove the grounds from the beverage.
At this point, the coffee is ready to be consumed as is, or over ice. It can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days which means you can make a batch ready for the week rather than steeping for hours every day.
It is the elimination of heat in the brewing process that changes the flavor of the coffee from regular coffee.
When the heat is eliminated from the process and the coffee is allowed to steep for a much longer period of time, the taste becomes much more refined.
The cold brewing process also decreases the acidity of the coffee which makes it a lot less bitter than regular coffee, this makes it a great option for coffee lovers that suffer from acid reflux after drinking it.
Similarly, the caffeine content of the coffee is much greater due to the length of time that it is brewed which allows more of the caffeine content to be extracted.
Benefits Of Cold Brew
There are many benefits to drinking cold brew coffee instead of regular coffee. The first of which is shared with regular coffee.
The caffeine in cold brew coffee can help to improve your metabolism. While this benefit is also present in regular coffee, the increased caffeine content of cold brew means that the effect on your metabolism is likely to be even greater.
Similarly, the heightened caffeine content can help to elevate your mood by significantly decreasing feelings of tiredness and fatigue.
Cold brew coffee can also be a lot more gentle on your stomach and gastrointestinal system than regular hot coffee.
One of the most impressive benefits of cold brew coffee is its ability to lessen your risk of developing heart disease.
Certain compounds that are present in cold brew coffee that may be destroyed through regular brewing processes can help to stabilize blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, and have anti-inflammatory effects.
Cold brew coffee can also help to lower your risk of type two diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and even Parkinson’s disease.
While cold brew coffee does contain slightly more calories than regular brewed coffee the difference is negligible and there are a plethora of benefits that aren’t present in regular brewed coffee.
If you have the patience to brew the coffee, the flavor and benefits are worth the wait.