What The Heck Is “White” Coffee?!

Nowadays, there are so many varieties of coffee/espresso and coffee beans out there, it’s difficult to keep them all straight in our heads!

Now, someone has come up with “white” coffee. This whole topic of white coffee is confusing to many, so here is detailed information for all of your white coffee questions.

There are, in fact, quite a few different unknowns that people have about white coffee, including things such as the caffeine content of white coffee, how to make it, what it tastes like, and whether the color of white coffee truly is white.

This article will cover white coffee basics and beyond.

In a nutshell, white coffee is coffee that is brewed with white coffee beans rather than brown or dark-brown coffee beans. A special roasting process is used to make coffee beans turn out whitish/cream colored. More details about the specifics of the roasting process are listed next.

How White Coffee Beans Are Made

White coffee comes from coffee beans that are categorized as being “white coffee beans.”

White coffee beans start out as the normal green coffee beans that all coffee is made of. Normally, Arabica beans or, less commonly, Robusta, coffee beans are used for roasting in the creation of white coffee beans.

To end up with white coffee beans, the green beans are roasted for only half of the amount of time than regular “brown” coffee beans.

Not only are they roasted for half the amount of time, they are also roasted at a lower temperature than their brown counterparts.

While green coffee beans are roasted at a temperature ranging from 450 degrees to 480 degrees to be roasted into brown to dark-brown beans, those same green coffee beans, when being turned into white coffee beans, are roasted at a temperature of approximately 325 degrees.

Roasting time to make white coffee beans is cut in about half of the length of time that is needed to turn coffee beans to brown or dark brown. That’s why white coffee beans are often referred to as being “half-baked” coffee beans.

What White Coffee Looks Like

Although white coffee is somewhat lighter in color than darker brews of coffee and espresso, it is not actually “white” like something such as milk is.

When prepared as espresso, white coffee beans produce a thin yellowish/tan colored brew.

What White Coffee Tastes Like

It’s difficult to describe the flavor of white coffee, other than to say that the taste is generally called a taste similar to “nutty.”

White coffee, although while still having a color resembling coffee, is lighter in color and has a much less “bitter” flavor than coffee made with darker roasts, so people who prefer cream or creamer in their brown darker roasts to get rid of the bitter taste may not feel the need to add cream/creamer to white coffee. Some people, however, do prefer additions of things such as milk/cream to even white coffee.

When white coffee is consumed without any enhancements such as milk or sweetener, it is much more mild and has no bitter flavor like darker brews of coffee and espresso. This is because the natural sugars in the beans do not get carmelized because of the low and quick roasting process, and these natural sugars override any bitterness.

White coffee is traditionally consumed with a spice mixture called Hawaij. Although Hawaij is used with a combination of certain spices for cooked food, there is a specific mixture of spices that is used for white coffee, which includes ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. You can find the specific recipe measurements for that combination here.

Hawaij spice transforms white coffee flavor from a nutty, mild brew to an incredibly flavorful cup of coffee unlike any cup you have ever had.

Caffeine Content of White Coffee

White coffee reportedly contains more caffeine than brown coffee, although this finding has not been substantiated with objective data.

The general consensus about caffeine content in coffee beans is…coffee beans that are roasted for a longer period of time in a hotter temperature have less amounts of caffeine than those that are roasted at lower temperatures and for less time. Longer and hotter roasting is thought to “roast out” more caffeine than the method of roasting at a lower temperature and less tie.

Therefore, the darkest beans are thought to contain the least amount of caffeine, a medium roast is thought to contain more caffeine than a dark roast, and a light roast is thought to have more caffeine than the darker roasts.

Coffee beans that have been roasted to be white coffee beans are roasted at a lower temperature and for less time than those roasted to be brown coffee beans. The decreased roasting heat and time required for white coffee beans causes more of the caffeine in the coffee bean to be preserved within the bean.

When white coffee beans are brewed into coffee or espresso, that preserved caffeine translates into more caffeine in the brewed coffee or espresso beverage.

White coffee, therefore, is thought to end up containing about 50% more caffeine than coffee that is made of darker beans.

How To Grind White Coffee Beans

White coffee beans are much harder than coffee beans that have been roasted at higher temperatures and for longer periods of time.

This is because white coffee beans have not had their cell structure broken down as much as beans that have been roasted longer and at higher temperatures.

Because of the hardness of white coffee beans, you absolutely should not attempt to grind them in a standard home/kitchen coffee grinder, as you could very easily damage your coffee grinder.

You will be MUCH better off if you instead choose to buy pre-ground white coffee if you want to brew white coffee at home.

How To Brew White Coffee

As previously mentioned, it is highly recommended that you don’t attempt to grind white coffee beans with a non-industrial coffee bean grinder.

Instead, you should purchase white coffee beans of high quality that have been pre-ground.

Step 1: Get your hands on some high-quality white pre-ground coffee beans.

Step 2: You will need to brew the grounds in a coffee or espresso maker that uses a high-pressure brewing method and yields a very concentrated brew. Experts of white coffee brewing recommend a home espresso machine, AeroPress, or Moka Pot.

You could also use a French press, although because of the denseness of white coffee grounds, you will need to let the grounds steep in the hot water for at least 10 minutes, if not longer.

Brew as you would a regular pot of coffee.

Health Benefits Of White Coffee

  • Antioxidant Properties: Because of the decreased roasting time and heat, the coffee bean retains more of the natural antioxidants contained within it, as the antioxidants don’t cook off like they do with darker roasts. Therefore, white coffee contains more antioxidants than does darker coffee.
  • Less Discoloration of Teeth: Because white coffee is significantly lighter in color than darker brews, you will find that it does not stain your teeth as much as darker coffees.
  • Less Stomach Irritation: Many white coffee drinkers praise the benefit of decreased stomach irritation from consuming white coffee as compared to darker brews.
  • More Caffeine Than Darker Coffee: This could either be a benefit or a detriment, depending on your lifestyle. White coffee does have more caffeine, up to 50% to 70% more than darker brews, which will give you an energy boost and increase your alertness. However, if you are wanting to cut down your intake of caffeine, you probably will want to stay away from white coffee.

Difference Between A Flat-White Coffee and White Coffee

There are many people who confuse an espresso beverage called a flat-white espresso between actual white coffee. These two beverages are completely different from each other. If you order a flat-white espresso beverage, it won’t contain any white coffee in it.

White coffee is a coffee that is brewed with white coffee beans. Some people prefer to consume white coffee with cream/milk or other additions.

A flat-white coffee, on the other hand, is a standard espresso beverage that is created using regular (brown) espresso in combination with a lot of steamed milk and the addition of some microfoam on top.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About White Coffee

Is white coffee Keto-friendly?

Yes, white coffee is a great beverage to drink if you are on a Keto diet. The Keto diet allows you to either consume it without additions, or with the addition of heavy cream or other milk/creamer additions.

Is white coffee white?

Although white coffee is certainly not as dark as your standard shot of espresso or even a cup of drip or percolator coffee, it most definitely is much lighter and normally has a light brown or beige color to it.

Can I drink white coffee if I am doing intermittent fasting?

Yes, you can drink white coffee without additions during a fast, but make sure you don’t add milk, cream, or sugar, as these types of additions will turn it into more of a food beverage, which you likely will be avoiding during a fast.  

Is white coffee good for you?

White coffee is generally healthy for most people because of the chlorogenic acid present in white roasted coffee beans, which is thought to assist with regulation of glucose/blood sugar levels, cardiovascular health, prevention of atherosclerosis, weight loss, and its function as an anti-inflammatory.

If for some reason you have a health condition that requires you to avoid caffeine intake, however, you probably would be best to avoid white coffee, as it is thought to contain much more caffeine than darker coffee and espresso. 

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