I first came across cold brew coffee when perusing the hipster-style cafes of Sydney's Inner West. Who were these trendy blokes in flat caps seated cross-legged in the morning sun whilst sipping on an apparently steam-less long black? Cold coffee?
Hmmm, as an indulgent long black drinker, talk to me, I'm interested... I'd only ever had cold coffee in the most upmarket fashion - hot coffee with ice thrown into it and maybe a dollop of ice-cream on top. Is this just a wanky new drinking style, indulged in an attempt to look trendo?
Cold Brew Coffee - What Is It?
We'll as it turns out, it's not just wank. The major difference between cold brew coffee and your standard hot brew is the extraction method and duration.
- In hot coffee, the beans are ground, hot water is passed through them in an intense, rapid extraction and the resulting liquid is acidic and fairly bitter. This is your standard espresso coffee, an acquired taste that is loved by Italian men and people who are shredding for the next music festival (disclaimer: I drink long blacks; I'm not shredding for a music festival).
- In cold brew coffee, the ground beans are submerged in cold water and left for between 12 and 24 hours. The far gentler infusion process activates the natural acids and other compounds in such a way to produce a more subtle, less bitter end taste.
Cold-brewing coffee is in fact an ancient process. Contrary to popular opinion, that barista in Newtown, Sydney actually stole it from the Japanese, who themselves are thought to have stolen it from the Dutch traders.
But regardless of the thief in question, the secret is well and truly out. Sydney's cafes are now full of monstrous drip towers that showcase their cold brew as a centrepiece. Sure, they look epic but the reality is, the process is really quite simple.
SO WHAT IS BEAST BREW?
So I discovered Beast Brew when I was researching pre-workout supplements for a recent video that I did in my Men's Group (which by the way, you should join, if you're a man). Beast Brew is a brand of cold brew coffee that is produced in small batches by a Sydney-based bloke by the name of Danial Khan. He's a proper legend.
His process uses 100% Arabica coffee, a bean that originated in the highlands of Ethiopia but is now grown more widely in areas with rich soil and high altitudes. This batch I scored came from Kenyan-grown Arabica beans.
Beast Brew comes in a handy little 250ml recyclable shot bottle with each serve containing the equivalent of three standard espressos. Yeah, that's a fair kick huh! Plus, there are no flavours, sugars or preservatives added in the making.
What is unique about Beast Brew is the target consumer. Nope, as far as BB is concerned, hipsters are out the door and it's all about the bloke that's looking for an extra zing during their workout. This is music to my ears because I do genuinely worry about the yet-to-be-identified side effects of prolonged consumption of pre-workouts.
WHO IS BEAST BREW FOR?
In answering this, I'd first start by saying that improving your health through exercise or nutrition DOES NOT require any supplements. The supplement industry is worth trillions of dollars globally each year and thrives on the notion that people require assistance to get them anywhere. It's simply not true and I know this first hand. Million dollar budgets dedicated to marketing supplements in health magazines suck consumers into believing that they NEED these products.
Due to the demands of our busy modern lives, trying to "get up" for exercise can be a difficult task for some. That's where I believe a product like Beast Brew can be very useful, so long as it's not abused. In the same way that you may feel like you need a coffee and breakfast to kick start your morning, then having a pre-workout coffee to spike your arousal before a workout, in my opinion, is totally fine and indeed beneficial.
SO WHAT'S IT TASTE LIKE?
I got hold of a 12-pack of Beast Brew direct from Danial, who by the way is a lovely young bloke that is passionate about both coffee and training. I threw the box straight in the freezer hoping to have it ready before my session in an hour.
Why was I so excited? It's just coffee right? Well I think it's because until now, I've tried to jam down a hot long black as a I crossed the road to the gym and burned my bloody tongue every time.
Instead, the icy-chilled cold brew felt like a little pre-workout treat. The taste was quite sharp, full bodied and almost fruity. And the best bit, not a taste bud burned in the process.... For all intent and purpose, it's as good as a cold brew coffee served up at your favourite cafe, just straight out of a bottle.
TIME TO LIFT!
It was 'back and lats' day at the gym and I was feeling a little flat and sore from bench the day before it. In typical form, my gym buddy was late so I just casually warmed up and stretched after slamming down The Beast in two mouthfuls. After my spotter had not shown for 10 minutes, I decided to pop my headphones in and get started.
First stop - chin ups! They've never been my strongest exercise but I'd been improving consistently having focussed on adding reps over the last few months.
First set - TWENTY TWO REPS! That's a near-PB! Haha, I found myself chuckling at the thought of getting suckered into the Placebo Effect - the positive outcome that happens when your brain expects that a supplement SHOULD work and it actually does, but not due to the supplement itself, but due to the power of the mind.
As I continued through my session alone, I felt super-pumped. It could've been due to the old school punk tunes I was pumping on Spotify but I definitely felt more awake, more ready to lift and get maximum bang for my buck in the workout. That energy continued right through the workout and by the end, I was smashed.
PLACEBO OR SCIENCE?
Look, there is no doubt in my mind that the power of placebo is real. That being said, caffeine use in exercise has been studied to a significant amount, probably second only to creatine and the science is very supportive. The positive benefits both on mood state and physiology are real. But hey, anyone that drinks coffee routinely could tell you that.
My approach has ALWAYS been to assess my personal experience and talk about that. Beast Brew as a pre-workout option is not only tasty but has noticeably enhanced my energy level and moods pre-workout for the period I have been using it. But that benefit comes from the fact that it's coffee, not the fact that it contains some specific secret proprietary blend.
I'm continuing to choose Beast Brew because:
- It is a great, safer alternative to pre-workouts and works, like all coffee;
- It definitely tastes great, and taste varies significantly according to different coffee products; this one's delish!
- It's awesome to support a small Australian company that is passionate about quality and helping others perform.
A WORK ON PRE-WORKOUTS
I'd reaffirm my hesitance around recommending pre-workouts. Not only do they cost a shit-tin of cash, I do worry about a product that makes your skin tingle, your face itchy and leaves you feeling like you've railed three lines of cocaine once you sit down after a session.
Caffeine, creatine and beta-alanine are frequent ingredients in pre-workouts and those items have been studied immensely and been found to be safe if consumed moderately. Yet the addition of ingredients such as 1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA) and beta-methylphenethylamine (BMPEA) in products like Jack3d and OxyElite Pro caused the American Food and Drug Administration to remove them from the market.
These products were linked to acute liver damage and multiple deaths. Even though the regulation is fairly tight, I just think there is no need to spend hundreds of dollars when you can get the same kick out of a natural coffee-product.
WHO SHOULD NOT USE BEAST BREW?
The answer to that is:
- Anyone that cannot tolerate caffeine or dislikes coffee;
- Anyone that intends to use caffeine in large amounts to cover lethargy due to poor sleep, nutrition or hydration.
In large doses, caffeine can cause anxiety, increases in blood pressure and heart rate and indeed dependancy. As such, in any form it should be a complement to healthy eating and a balanced life.
For those that struggle to sleep, caffeine would not be recommended within 4-6 hours of bed time.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
I don't actually understand how this is viable given a coffee in my local cafe is $4.50.
I guess being a one-product shop means that overheads are low and the focus can be on quality production and customer service.
When a self-confessed coffee lover does a review on coffee, it's going to come off as slightly biased. What should be clear in this review is:
- Beast Brew is a product that I would recommend to those looking for an alternative to pre-workouts found in supplement stores.
- Beast Brew is very well-priced on a per-serve basis and is conveniently delivered.
- But as with ALL supplements, you don't NEED them to be able to go about improving your health. Improvement happens when you get off you ass and start moving and taking some care in what you ingest.
PLEASE COMMENT, LIKE and SHARE if you have questions or if this review was beneficial to you.