Are there any health risks of drinking cold brew coffee?

The Spring 2022 National Coffee Data Trends survey shows the rising fame of cold brew coffee. Since 2016, the number of its fans has doubled. Despite being not so new, the recent surge in its use warrants an important chat about cold brew safety and making.

The National Coffee Association aims to guide retailers through the Cold Brew Safety Guide. According to this guide, cold brew is safe if you prepare, store, and serve it the right way. Yet, ensuring food safety and following health rules is a must. This helps avoid risks, like making customers ill or needing to take products off shelves. Remember, doing things right keeps your business’s name in a good light.

Key Takeaways

  • The popularity of cold brew coffee has doubled since 2016.
  • The National Coffee Association has created a safety guide for cold brew preparation.
  • Cold brew is safe when prepared, stored, and served properly.
  • Food safety and health regulations are critical to avoid potential foodborne illness.
  • Proper cold brew preparation is essential to maintain a good reputation and avoid product recalls.

Understanding Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is getting more and more popular. It’s different from hot brewing. This method involves steeping coffee grounds in cold or room-temperature water for a long time. It can be as long as 12 to 24 hours, making the flavor very intense. People usually dilute the concentrated coffee with milk or water before drinking.

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What is Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew is made by soaking coffee grounds in cold or room-temperature water for a really long time. It usually takes 12 to 24 hours. This creates a strong coffee concentrate, which you mix with water or milk to drink.

The Rise in Popularity of Cold Brew Coffee

More and more people are enjoying cold brew coffee. The Spring 2022 National Coffee Data Trends survey found that its popularity has doubled since 2016. This is due to its smooth, mild flavor and the many ways you can enjoy it, like over ice or in coffee cocktails.

Benefits of Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew has some unique benefits besides its great taste. Because it’s made with cold water, it’s less bitter and smoother than hot coffee. For people who find regular coffee too acidic, cold brew might be a better choice. It’s also a great way to get extra caffeine for that needed morning boost.

Cold Brew Coffee Preparation Methods Pros Cons
Immersion Brew
  • Simple preparation
  • Consistent results
  • Customizable cold brew ratio
  • Longer brewing time (12-24 hours)
  • Requires additional filtering
  • Produces a cleaner, less-cloudy brew
  • Allows for more control over extraction
  • Requires specialized cold brew equipment
  • Longer brewing time (18-24 hours)
  • Minimal equipment required
  • Produces a smooth, less-acidic brew
  • Longer brewing time (12-24 hours)
  • Requires additional filtering

Potential Health Risks of Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is loved by many, but it comes with health risks. Health experts worry about bacteria like E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella, and others in cold brew. These germs may pose significant health risks if not handled carefully.

Foodborne Illness and Cold Brew

Making cold brew coffee takes a long time and uses low temperatures. This unique method can lead to bacteria growth if not managed properly. Improper handling of cold brew might risk foodborne illnesses for consumers and coffee shops alike.

Bacteria Growth in Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew is made with long steeping times in cool environments. This setup can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. To reduce the risk, it’s key to keep everything clean and follow precise temperature controls during production and serving.

Mycotoxins and Mold Growth

There’s also a danger of mycotoxins and mold in cold brew coffee. Mycotoxins are harmful compounds from mold that might be in coffee beans, especially if stored incorrectly. Using top-quality coffee grounds and keeping a check on temperature and humidity can lessen this threat.

cold brew coffee

Cold Brew Coffee Safety and Prevention

Cold brew coffee is getting more popular. It’s key to know how to keep it safe. The National Coffee Association’s Cold Brew Safety Guide for Retailers talks about this. It says we should be very clean and follow all health rules when making, keeping, and giving out cold brew coffee.

Importance of Proper Sanitization

Keeping everything clean is very important when making cold brew coffee. Because we brew it for a long time at cool temperatures, some bacteria could grow. This includes dangerous types like Escherichia coli, Listeria, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus aureus. So, we must clean and sanitize everything from the cold brew grounds to the cold brew ratio containers. This makes sure the cold-pressed coffee we make is safe to drink.

Storage and Temperature Control

Keeping the right temperature is crucial for safe cold brew coffee. The coffee concentrate should be kept between 35°F and 40°F. This stops bad microorganisms from growing. Labeling and keeping track of when we made the cold brew is also important. And we must check the temperature often. This is to make sure our toddy coffee or immersion brew is safe until we serve it.

Cold Brew Safety Best Practices Key Considerations
  • Thorough cleaning and sanitization of all cold brew equipment
  • Proper handwashing and hygiene practices for staff
  • Adherence to local, state, and federal health regulations
Temperature Control
  • Storing cold brew coffee at 35°F to 40°F
  • Regular monitoring and recording of storage temperatures
  • Proper labeling and dating of cold brew batches
Water Quality
  • Using clean, potable water for cold water extraction
  • Testing water quality regularly
  • Adhering to recommended cold brew ratio guidelines


Cold brew coffee is mostly safe if it’s made and handled correctly. But, it’s key to use proper food safety steps. Cold brew’s long brewing time and cool temps can pose some risks. These include bacteria growth and mycotoxins forming.

To keep cold brew safe, clean your tools well and watch the temperatures. It’s vital to follow health rules. This way, fans of cold brew can enjoy it without worry. They’ll get to savor its mild and less acidic taste.

Following safety advice from groups like the National Coffee Association is a must. This helps coffee spots and folks making it at home serve up worry-free cold brew. So, everyone can enjoy a delicious glass safely.


What is cold brew coffee?

Cold brew coffee is made by soaking coffee grounds in cold or room-temperature water. This is done for a long time, usually between 12 to 24 hours. After this, you get a strong coffee called a concentrate. You can mix this with water or milk to make your drink.

Why has the popularity of cold brew coffee increased?

In the Spring 2022 National Coffee Data Trends survey, people who drink cold brew coffee have doubled since 2016. Even though it’s not new, its popularity asks for clear guidelines on safety and how to make it.

What are the potential health risks of drinking cold brew coffee?

Health experts worry about the chance of bacteria in cold brew. This includes harmful types like E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella, Staph, C. bot., and Bacillus cereus. The long time and cold water used to make cold brew coffee can lead to bacteria growth. This needs to be managed carefully to prevent illnesses.

How can cold brew coffee be prepared and stored safely?

The National Coffee Association gives a Cold Brew Safety Guide. It advises on properly cleaning and following health rules at local, state, and national levels. Using clean equipment, keeping an eye on the temperature, and obeying health rules are key to making cold brew safely.
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Emily Reynolds

I am an unapologetic coffee aficionado with an insatiable passion for all things java. Pour-overs, French presses, espresso machines—each holds its own thrill, a chance to unlock new levels of taste and aroma. So let the aroma of freshly brewed coffee guide us through the world of flavor and inspiration that is coffee.

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