‘cold-brewed’ are among the latest buzzwords
in health. Here’s what’s behind the cold wave.
By Linda Melone
If the rapidly growing popularity of cold-processed oils, coffee and juices is any indication, cold-pressing and cold-brewing—in which the heat is left out of food processing to create a healthier and tastier product—is here to stay.
Cold processing represents a hot food trend, with prices to match. A 16-ounce bottle of cold-pressed juice can cost $10 or more. Cold-brewed coffee typically runs double the price of the traditionally brewed hot version, and you can expect to pay considerably more for cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.
Despite the higher cost, cold processing wins raves among consumers for its top-notch quality and flavor. Experts explain what’s behind the cold wave.
Caffeinated Cold Fix
Waiting for a cup of coffee from a traditional drip maker can seem like hours when you’re in need of a caffeine boost. The process for making cold-brewed coffee requires even more patience. A lot more.
Not to be confused with iced coffee, which involves pouring the hot liquid over ice, cold-brew coffee never involves heat. Instead, coffee grounds are steeped in room temperature or cold water for an extended period, typically overnight or 12 hours or more. In a coffeehouse setting this process can take up to two or three days.
The mellow, sweet taste, and a reduced acid content, make the resulting beverage popular with the coffee crowd as well as those who don’t enjoy the traditional hot brew, says Jason Sarley, associate editor of an online coffee connoisseur guide called Coffee Review (coffeereview.com).
“Since you don’t use hot water you don’t get as many chlorogenic compounds, which can cause stomach irritation,” Sarley says. “The process reduces the extraction of many of the particularly bitter compounds found in low-quality coffees. It’s clean and sweet with floral notes.” (The same stomach-irritating compounds emerge if coffee is left on a heater too long or microwaved.)
“I compare it to sun tea,” says Kevin Sinnott, author of The Art and Craft of Coffee: An Enthusiast’s Guide to Selecting, Roasting and Brewing Exquisite Coffee (Quarry), referring to putting tea bags in a container of water and placing the brew in the sun to steep. “The goal of cold-brewed coffee is to keep the bitterness in check,” although he notes a small amount of bitterness is a “valid” part of coffee.
Tasting cold brews leaves no room for error. In fact, coffee experts conduct cupping (coffee tasting) by tasting samples at room temperature. “Defects or flaws become most obvious at room temperature,” says Sinnott. “You may not taste these flaws in hot-brewed coffee.”
A cool beverage may not appeal to those who look forward to a steamy cup of joe in the morning, however. “Traditional hot coffee possesses this wonderful duality in that it warms you and heightens your senses at the same time,” says Sinnott. He also calls coffee “the most politically correct beverage,” since it doesn’t compromise your thinking or actions as an alcoholic drink might.
Switching to cold brew may not be a good idea if you’re trying to reduce your caffeine intake. Although caffeine’s effect on blood pressure remains under some debate, those with high blood pressure are often advised to reduce caffeine in their diets due to its potential for creating a spike in pressure, making cold brews off-limits.
The longer extraction process increases the caffeine in cold-brewed versus hot-brewed coffee, says Sinnott. “For this same reason, espresso (commonly thought of as a high-
caffeine coffee) is actually one of the least caffeinated beverages due to its short extraction time.” Traditional drip coffee contains approximately 65 to 120 milligrams of caffeine; espresso contains 40 milligrams. Compare this to Starbucks’ 12-ounce cold brew, which clocks in at 150 milligrams.
The best way to drink cold brew? “You can add milk and sugar as with traditional hot coffee,” says Sarley, “but a good cold-brewed coffee is naturally sweet, so milk should be enough.”
Using a hydraulic press to extract juice from fruits and vegetables results in cold-pressed juice, which proponents claim tastes fresher and is more nutritious than that made with traditional processes, either centrifugal force or single auger (in which a single gear breaks up fruit and vegetable fiber).
The possibility of glowing skin, a healthier digestive tract and more energy make cold-pressed juice an easy choice for those desiring a healthier body. “A cold-pressed juice is the closest thing to drinking water; there’s no sediment at all,” says Mimi Kirk, author of The Ultimate Book of Modern Juicing (Countryman). The use of cold-pressed-based juice cleanses by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Kardashian is credited with boosting interest in these juices.
Cold-pressing juice requires two steps. First, the fruit and vegetables are ground into a pulp; then a hydraulic juice press squeezes water out of the pulp, yielding juice. There’s no aeration involved.
Unlike traditional juicers, which can leave fiber in the final product, no fiber remains in cold-pressed juice. However, Kirk says some people prefer the pulp and fiber because it promotes a feeling of fullness.
The theory behind cold-pressing is that in traditional processing the machine heats up and destroys enzymes and vitamins, says Pat Crocker, professional home economist and culinary herbalist in Toronto, Canada, and author of The Juicing Bible (Robert Rose). “Cold-pressed juicing crushes the fruit but there’s no friction involved to cause heat damage,” Crocker says.
Kirk adds, “Cold-pressed goes right to where it’s needed by the body; it’s pre-digested, which is why it’s often recommended for cancer patients.”
While cold-pressed juices are cropping up all over, Crocker suggests using caution when buying them off store shelves. Any juices stored for more than two hours will likely start oxidizing (which causes it to “go bad”), since they’re exposed to air. “Unless the lid is hermetically sealed, air will be able to enter the jar,” she explains. Check that no space between the lid and the juice itself is visible.
Some manufacturers use cold pasteurization, which enables a shelf life of 50 to 60 days. “It’s fine to drink but the jury’s out on the amount of nutrients lost within that time,” says Kirk. “Other commercial brands use heat processing, which destroys the healthful enzymes.”
Similar to how olive oil has been advertised as cold-pressed for years, one advantage of cold-pressing is the greater juice yield, says Daniel Winer, CEO of Juicepresso USA. “Generally the cold-press method produces approximately 40% more juice than old-fashioned, high-speed machines.”
Old-fashioned, high-speed juicers and blenders create a significant amount of heat and friction, which introduces oxygen into the juice. This shortens the shelf life, often causing it to start losing nutritional value in as little as 15 minutes, explains Winer, who says, “When using one of these machines the juice should be consumed immediately.”
Cold Oil Advantages
Similarly to cold-pressed juice, cold-pressed oil refers to the extraction process used to yield oil from seeds, fruits, vegetables and nuts, most notably olives. Less-expensive olive oils not labeled “cold pressed” use heat to extract more oil from the olives, which destroys the flavors and aromas found in cold-processed varieties.
Unlike cold-pressed juice, which yields more juice than traditional methods, cold-pressed oils (no more than 80.6°F) result in smaller quantities than extraction using heat. “There’s a smaller yield but less cellular damage,” says Kwame Williams, chef at Vital, a Jamaican restaurant in Montclair, New Jersey.
Williams notes that TV cooking shows have brought plenty of attention to cold-pressed olive oil. The popularity of the Mediterranean diet, in which olive oil is a key staple, as a way to reduce the risk for certain chronic diseases has also increased awareness.
Extra virgin olive oil is cold-pressed, Williams explains. “The ‘extra virgin’ is a marketing term.” Considered the highest grade of olive oil, it’s produced without chemicals or excessive heat. The resulting flavor may range from very delicate and light to bitter and even pungent; the antioxidant content of the oil also varies, according to the Olive Oil Source.
Williams notes that extra virgin oil contains the strongest flavor profile but is not the best choice for cooking. “People often buy the most expensive olive oil and cook with it,” he says. “But extra virgin olive oil should be used as a finishing product—to drizzle over the top of a finished dish, as a bread dip or in uncooked sauces for added flavor—and not for cooking.” Look for extra virgin olive oil certified by the California Olive Oil Council.
Experts debate about olive oil refrigeration. Keeping it cold does slow down oxidation and extend the oil’s shelf life, although it can be stored at room temperature. Nut oils, such as walnut or pumpkin seed oil, should be refrigerated after opening, Williams says.
Bacon, Heirloom Tomato and
Avocado Salad with Extra
Virgin Olive Oil
While not on too many health-food lists, there’s no denying bacon’s deep, satisfying flavor. Save it as a special treat, and make it healthier by sticking with uncured (no nitrite), center-cut (less fatty), low-sodium varieties, or with such substitutes as turkey bacon; there are even vegetarian “fakon” varieties available.
2 slices thick-cut bacon
2-3 heirloom tomatoes, quartered
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp California COOC-certified extra virgin olive oil
1. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat, then roughly crumble.
Toss with tomatoes and avocado.
2. In a small bowl, whisk rice wine vinegar and a dash of salt into the California COOC-certified extra virgin olive oil to emulsify. Pour over salad to serve.
Reprinted with permission from the California Olive Oil Council (cooc.com)
Wellness In a Glass
No matter what room of the house you’re in, you can usually tell when someone is running the juicer. That would be difficult with Juicepresso, one of the smallest and quietest juicers on the market. Mom can use it without waking the whole family. Juicepresso features a patented one-piece 3-in-1 extraction system that merges the auger, strainer and rotating brush components. Its wide, slated chute design minimizes prep time by accommodating larger fruit and vegetable pieces. A juice cap keeps juice in the cylinder without drips and dribbles until juice is complete, and cleanup is a cinch afterwards with the dishwasher-safe Juicepresso. Other blenders and mixers destroy nutrients due to friction and heat, but Juicepresso's cold press process squeezes out the vital nutrients in all fruits and veggies to deliver you the most nutritious juice available. Use the pulp and juice to make soup, pancakes, almond milk, organic baby food, and more. Visit JuicepressoUSA.com.
OXO Good Grips
Cold Brew Coffee Maker
The OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker simplifies the process of steeping coffee grounds in cold water to release aromatic flavors and deliver a result that is less acidic and less bitter than coffee brewed with hot water. A Rainmaker attachment—a showerhead of sorts—ensures water is distributed evenly over the grounds. An easily-accessible Brew-Release Switch lets you stop and start the draining process. The coffee maker features a removable stainless steel ultra-fine mesh filter. You can also use the same process to brew tea. Visit oxo.com.
Lemonades from Juice Served Here
Just in time for warmer days, the Los Angeles-based, cold-pressed juice company Juice Served Here has created an innovative collection of non-GMO cold-pressed lemonades.
This is not your mother’s lemonade recipe. Each of the seven non-pasteurized, cold-pressed lemonades in the collection is packed with strategic, detoxifying ingredients. Each has different nutritional motives; Aloe Lemonade for example, controls hunger and cravings.
Ginger Lemonade is an immune booster. Strawberry Lemonade is packed with Vitamin C and promotes eye health. Among other options are Jalapeno, Ginger, Turmeric, Berry and Charcoal. Visit juiceservedhere.com.
Primula Cold Brewed Coffee Carafe
Primula Cold Brewed Coffee Carafe makes rich, delicious full-bodied coffee concentrate that is 65% less acidic than hot brewed coffee. This carafe makes 16 cups of prepared iced coffee and will last up to 14 days when stored in the fridge. The glass carafe is made of borosilicate and can withstand extreme temperatures without risk of cracking. This sleek and elegant manual iced coffee maker allows you to cold brew and directly serve your favorite coffee from a 50-oz. borosilicate glass carafe. The coffee maker comes with a flavor mixer for customizing taste and a stainless steel brew filter. The base has a silicone ring around the bottom for secure grip to table or side of the fridge door. Visit primulaproducts.com.
Custom Beverages from Project Juice
Custom Juice Packs from Project Juice are designed to let you pick and choose your favorite juices based upon your personal needs and likes. Pressed from up to five pounds of organic produce, each bottle of organic juice delivers full flavor and is filled with healthy vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants. You build your pack by choosing from four categories—Greens, Citrus, Blends, and Nut Mylks & Shakes—and ordering a minimum of six juices at a time. Add up to 10 assorted 2 ounce Wellness Shots to your order of six or more juices. We recommend enjoying your juices within 5 days of receipt. To learn more, visit Projectjuice.com.
Cold Brew Coffees from KonaRed
KonaRed is rolling out its ready-to-drink cold brew coffees, available in two new offerings in Original Signature Blend and Hawaiian Vanilla. KonaRed's new beverages, available in 12 ounce glass bottles, blend premium coffee beans and Hawaiian coffee fruit. KonaRed’s line of consumer packaged goods includes antioxidant rich extracts and powders from Hawaiian Coffee Fruit, used to produce the brand’s ready-to-drink Antioxidant Juice, Green Tea, Coconut Water, On-the-Go Packs and 100% Hawaiian Coffee Fruit Powders. Visit konared.com.