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Do You Really Know What White Coffee Is?

what is white coffee
What in the world is white coffee? Chances are, not what you think!

What is White Coffee?

Maybe it was those rumors you heard—white coffee has more antioxidants than your regular cup of Joe, helping you celebrate more birthdays by consuming something you didn’t even really know existed until a few months ago. Maybe it’s those stories you keep seeing online, the ones that say more and more coffeehouses are serving white coffee…and the other ones that say white coffee isn’t actually white. So what exactly is white coffee? Maybe a few of your friends are feeling more naturally awake, alert and energized. They say it’s because of drinking white coffee and you just hate feeling left out. However you heard about it, it is now clear that this is something you should know about—whether to switch from traditional coffee, or just to broaden your horizons. The problem is…well, what is white coffee, exactly? Secretly, you know you don’t know, even though as a java junkie you pretend to. It’s not coffee in the milky, flat white sense, right? Isn’t it mostly under roasted beans? Where would I even buy some? Why would I want to? And aren’t white coffee beans rough on home grinders? 

Let’s start with a definition

The thing is, white coffee (not to be confused with the popular coffee drink in Malaysia where beans are roasted with palm oil margarine and the coffee sweetened with condensed milk) really is nothing more than an under roasted coffee bean. In fact, the beans aren’t really roasted at all but baked at a seriously lower temperature than roasting. And while white beans are lighter in color than traditionally roasted beans you are more familiar with, they’re not actually white but light brown.

what is white coffee

Why bake a coffee bean?

There’s no question that the specialty coffee industry is in flux. For instance, even though more people drink coffee today than ever before, the number of coffee shops in the U.S. is slowing as the home espresso machine business heats up. Managing work, family, and personal responsibilities has become so hectic for some consumers—millennials in particular—that they have found taste, convenience and value in skipping the Starbucks drive-thru. As these hard-working coffee lovers purchase their own espresso machines and turn to online grocery shops like Amazon Fresh to buy beans, the need for coffee companies to differentiate their bean product grows stronger. One way to truly set itself apart from the rest, to gain a competitive edge over other companies, is to offer something new. In this changing coffee climate that we live in, the latest trend is to go lighter.

Is there more or less caffeine in white coffee?

A common claim—made by some coffee companies—is that white coffee gives you an extra boost because it is higher in caffeine than normal coffee. Because coffee loses caffeine as it is roasted, white coffee probably does have more caffeine by volume. So in theory you might notice the difference. But in actual life, white coffee won’t give you a noticeable extra burst of energy because the increase in caffeine from baking instead of roasting is negligible, around 5%. 

How does white coffee affect your health?

Most people know that red wine has great antioxidant benefits. But you might be surprised to learn coffee has more antioxidants than red wine. In fact, modern scientific research says that downing 2 to 4 cups of coffee a day can provide as much as 60% of your daily antioxidant requirement. That’s great news that can help you live longer. It’s even greater news that white coffee has slightly more antioxidants than regular coffee.

what is white coffee

What about grinding the beans?

Unfortunately, if you’re thinking about grinding white coffee beans at home, you probably shouldn’t. While grinding roasted beans can be an enjoyable and simple affair, grinding white beans will probably break your grinder. That’s because baked beans are much harder than roasted bean. Other than that, preparing white coffee with your home espresso machine is as simple as preparing any other coffee drink

Experiment at home

Different coffee shops do different things to make their white coffee stand out—primarily by adding this or adding that. You should experiment with your home machine to find your favorite flavor. Amazon sells ground white coffee. Order a couple of pounds and try adding spices like cinnamon and ginger.

Will white coffee change the way you drink your coffee? Maybe, maybe not. Does it matter? As great as white coffee sounds, who knows what tomorrow may bring in an industry that is changing. But no matter what coffee you drink, recent years have brought a lot of scientific surprises about how good coffee is for us. Numerous studies link coffee to decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer, heart failure and other ailments. The research all suggest that drinking coffee—made with baked or roasted beans—helps us live not only a better life but also a longer life. Isn’t that what really matters?

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