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Consumer Reports: Not all cold brew coffee is created equal

Posted at 6:20 AM, Jul 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-22 09:35:22-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Cold brew used to be one of those specialty coffee drinks made by a barista.

“In the past five years, it’s been more and more and more popular. It’s nuttier, sweeter, it’s less acid," says Barrsta, Luis Corena.

And typically has a higher caffeine content than regular brewed coffee. Coffee in general has a pretty healthy reputation. Studies have associated drinking coffee with health benefits like lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and increased longevity. But Consumer Reports says some ready-to-drink cold brews aren’t always a smart choice for your health.

“Bottled versions are much more convenient for people to drink," says Consumer Reports Health & Food Editor, Patricia Calvo. "However, if you’re looking at the bottled coffee, sometimes they have milk, they have cream, they have added sugars. Some can have sodium or other additives.”

CR looked at more than 40 ready-to-drink cold brews from seven brands and found that the key to picking a healthier ready-to-drink brew, is to pay attention to labels!

“Black cold brew coffee has few calories because the only thing that’s in it is coffee," says Calvo. "But when you start looking at the bottled versions that have added sugars and cream and milk and even plant milks, the calorie count can start to climb.”

Even ones that say “Not Too Sweet” can have a fair amount of added sugars per bottle. And more than half of the bottles CR looked at had sodium-containing ingredients - some with as much as potato chips. So which cold brew bottles are worth all the buzz? To minimize added sugars choose a black cold brew or one with regular or plant milk that has no or very little added sugars.

Consumer Reports says Califia Farms Black & White Unsweetened Cold Brew Coffee with Almond Milk, and Chameleon Cold-Brew Black Coffee are worth a try!

If you do make a big batch of your own cold brew, it’ll keep in your fridge for up to two weeks! The same can’t be said of regularly brewed coffee that starts to go stale shortly after it cools.