Case Closed: This Is the Healthiest Coffee You Can Drink

Give your health an extra boost by drinking coffee this one way.

Roasted coffee beans backgroundDa-ga/Shutterstock

Hot-brewed coffee is no longer the only way to get your java fix. Now, cold-brewed coffee has addicts going nuts. In fact, the popularity of cold brew grew by a whopping 580 percent from 2011 to 2016. Cold brew coffee uses a no-heat process that steeps ground coffee beans in cold water for a long period of time. Coffee companies have even claimed that it’s less acidic than a hot cup of Joe, which would mean fewer stomach problems. But very little research has been done on the real benefits of cold brew.

Enter two coffee drinkers, who also happen to be researchers from Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University), pitted cold brew against hot coffee in a study to see if there was any true difference between them.

They looked at the chemical differences between light roast coffees from Brazil, Columbia, Myanmar, Mexico, and two regions of Ethiopia. They found that the concentration of acidic compounds and antioxidant activity were higher in the hot brew than the cold brew.

“Coffee has a lot of antioxidants. If you drink it in moderation, research shows it can be pretty good for you,” Megan Fuller, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry at Jefferson said in a statement. “We found the hot brew has more antioxidant capacity.” Hot brew coffee has been shown to have some health benefits like possibly lowering the risk of some cancers, diabetes, and depression.Plus, they proved most coffee companies wrong! Cold brew and hot brew actually have very similar pH levels ranging from 4.85 to 5.13. Make sure you know the truth about these 8 other myths about how coffee affects your health.

The authors noted that the acidic compounds may be responsible for the higher antioxidant activity found in the hot brew coffee. One possible explanation would be melanoidin compounds, which influence pH levels and have properties that fight off cell-damaging free radicals, but so far, researchers can’t confirm that melanoidins are a characteristic of cold brew coffee.

More research needs to be done to truly see the pros and cons between each of the two coffee brewing methods. For now, you may want to swap your morning cold brew for an old-fashioned hot cup of coffee. Next, take a look at the 7 things that happen to your body when you drink coffee every day.

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Ashley Lewis
Ashley Lewis received her Master’s Degree from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in 2015. She was a Jason Sheftell Fellow at the New York Daily News. and interned at Seventeen and FOX News before joining Reader’s Digest as an assistant editor. When Ashley is not diligently fact-checking the magazine or writing for rd.com, she enjoys cooking (butternut squash pizza is her signature dish), binge-watching teen rom-coms on Netflix that she’s way too old for, and hiking (and falling down) mountains.