Coffee. The sweet and delicious nectar that most of us (myself included) drink on a daily basis is actually much more complicated than it seems. Coffee beans are full of chemical compounds, oils, and acids. And the way in which these are extracted from the bean during the roasting, grinding, and brewing process is what causes different coffees to have different flavor profiles (and chemical profiles).
The two main ways to make coffee are the “traditional” hot brew, drip coffee and the (newer) cold brew method. Drip coffee is able to be made much more quickly, but results in a strong and often acidic coffee. Cold brew, by comparison, is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for a much longer period of time, sort of like you’d steep a tea bag. This results in a much smoother and less acidic cup of coffee.
So great. Why are we talking about this on a running website? There has been a large volume of research done on caffeine and running. A few pro’s of your morning cup of joe are listed below:
- Caffeine is a stimulant that can help boost the function of some body systems.
- Caffeine stimulates the release of free fatty acids, which means it is glycogen sparing – helping keep some of that extra glycogen around for later breakdown into energy.
- Caffeine boosts mental performance.
- It may help you recover faster.
- And finally, it has no known connection to dehydration (although it does tend to speed up your digestive system, so keep that in mind before and during runs).
Excellent, that morning cup of coffee can stay in your routine. But why should you think about switching to cold brew? The answer to that is in the acidity of coffee. According to some studies, cold brew coffee can be up to 67% less acidic than drip coffee. Less acid = better flavor = more gentle on the stomach and digestive system. Sounds like a win-win-win.
Recently I was given the amazing opportunity to try out Chameleon Cold Brew. They make flavored and unflavored cold brew coffee (in ready to drink glass containers) as well as concentrate. It’s organic, the flavor is fantastic, the packaging is easy (and recyclable), and it lasts up to a few weeks in the refrigerator (not that mine made it anywhere close to that long). I consider myself to be a little bit of a coffee snob – and this was perfect. Not to mention the fact that I live in Sunny San Diego, so having an iced coffee option at my fingertips pre or post workout was a great alternative to brewing and drinking hot coffee.
Give them a shot, you can find their products on line or in stores (like Whole Foods). And let us know – are you a coffee drinker? What’s your favorite way to get your caffeine fix?