Is cold brew coffee just another way for Starbucks to get you to part with your hard-earned cash, or is there really something special about it?
Here's what makes this slow-brewed cold coffee variety stand out from the rest of the Starbucks menu.
If you're already overwhelmed by all of the options on the Starbucks menu, you may be wondering whether or not the world really needs another coffee drink to choose from.
You may also be wondering just what makes cold brew different from any of the other cold coffee drinks already available.
For starters, iced coffee and cold brew are made with entirely different brewing processes.
Iced coffee is essentially hot coffee brewed at twice the strength and served over ice.
In order to make a batch of cold brew, Starbucks adds its blend of coffee grounds to cool, filtered water and steeps them for 20 hours.
Starbucks describes the flavor of cold brew as having, quote, "the right balance of sweetness with citrusy and chocolate notes."
In case you're wondering, those iced espresso beverages don't use cold brew coffee, either.
They're made by pouring espresso shots over cold milk or water and ice.
Cold brew is something completely different, and now you know!
If you thought Starbucks' twenty-hour cold brew steeping process was intense, Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew takes things to the next level.
The drink puts a twist on the coffee chain's traditional cold brew coffee by infusing it with nitrogen bubbles.
Nitro Cold Brew comes out cold, so you won't need ice.
It also comes out with a foamy top—much like beer—so you can forget the milk, sugar, and straw.
The drink has built quite a following, with the Nitro Brew with Cascara Cold Foam holding the top spot in a Thrillist ranking of all the drinks on the Starbucks menu.
But if you're the kind of person who needs to have your coffee supersized, you're in for a disappointment.
Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew is served in tall and grande sizes only.
But there's a good reason for that: the drink is not available in venti because serving it in that size would cause the drink to lose the frothiness and bubbles that make it special.
From your first sip, you'll notice that Starbucks Cold Brew has a distinct flavor from the other cold coffee drinks on the menu.
Everything from the beans to the special slow brewing process gives Starbucks' latest coffee creation a reason to stand out from the rest of the pack.
Starbucks Cold Brew starts with a unique blend of coffee from Africa and Latin America that is specifically designed to be served cold.
Because there is no heat involved in the brewing process, there is less acidity than iced coffee, and as a result, cold brew has a much smoother, full-bodied flavor, according to Starbucks.
The delicious smooth flavor of Starbucks Cold Brew may make you want to gulp down your drink in record time, but try to resist.
Take your time to enjoy the taste because the flavor will not change with the temperature.
Unlike iced coffee, the cold brewing process helps to keep the flavor consistent.
You may depend on your daily dose of coffee to give you the energy you need to get through your day, but you may not know that a lot of other good things are happening in the process.
Drinking a cold brew coffee provides many of the same health benefits as hot coffee, according to Healthline.
Caffeine consumption has been shown to help boost your metabolism and enhance your mood, and drinking coffee can also help protect you from serious illnesses.
According to a study by Harvard Medical School, drinking three to four cups of coffee each day has been linked with a reduced risk of serious illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Parkinson's disease.
Is there an advantage to choosing cold brew coffee?
Cold brew is 67 percent less acidic than other varieties, which means that it may be easier for people with sensitive stomachs to digest.
And if you always add cream or milk to change the sweetness or texture of your coffee, opt for nitro, skip the creamer, and save on some fat and calories.
Starbucks brought a little fall flavor to its menu in summer 2019 when they introduced the Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew, the first new pumpkin-flavored beverage on the menu in 16 years.
In case you were wondering why Starbucks would launch a new fall-inspired beverage in the summer, it probably has a lot to do with business.
As Forbes reported, a Starbucks spokesperson credits the Pumpkin Spice Latte as being the company's best-selling seasonal beverage of all time.
The chain had sold over 350 million as of 2018.
The popularity of cold coffee has risen dramatically in the last few years, with cold drink sales at Starbucks increasing from 37 percent of sales in 2013 to 50 percent in 2019, according to NBC News.
With numbers like that, it's no wonder they invented a cold brew version of this seasonal favorite.
Contrary to popular opinion, espresso and dark roast coffee doesn't necessarily always have the highest levels of caffeine per serving, and the amount of caffeine in your coffee depends on everything from how your coffee is ground to the way it is brewed.
If you want the biggest caffeine bang for your buck at Starbucks, it may depend on your preference.
When you're in the mood for cold coffee, cold brew is definitely the way to go, as it has more caffeine per serving than a traditional iced coffee.
According to the nutrition facts listed on the Starbucks website, the grande Cold Brew contains 205 mg of caffeine, compared to 165 mg of caffeine in a grande iced coffee.
But, you might also want to consider that a grande Pike Place has 310 mg of caffeine, so it's all down to one question: hot or cold?
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