White Coffee is an “under-roasted” coffee bean that took the coffee and espresso community by storm. Now, the dark roast lovers are probably screaming, but the rest of you all might be curious about this seemingly new concept and if it’s worth trying at your local coffee shop. So, I did the digging for you about white coffee and this is what you need to know.
As exciting as it would be to show off your luxurious cup of white coffee, ‘white’ doesn’t actually refer to the color of the coffee. Although the result from brewing the beans will be a light beige color, the coffee will not actually be white. As far as we know, white coffee refers to a very light-roasted coffee at around 325°F compared to typical light, medium and dark roasted coffee at 450°F - 480°F. White coffee has retained the natural and earthy flavors from the original coffee bean. If you’re someone who loves light-roast coffee, you might find that white coffee appeals to your tastebuds.
White Coffee can also have different meanings depending on the type of beverage you get, it could mean a ‘flat white’, or a cup of coffee with cream or milk, or it could refer to the location where you purchased the coffee, but for the most part, it refers to the roasting process of the bean.
The concept of white coffee is said to have originated from a century-old tradition in Yemen. Variations of white coffee have also been found in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Lebanon. White coffee in Yemen was traditionally served with hawaij. Hawaij, meaning ‘mixture’ in Arabic, is a spice blend used in both savory recipes such as soups and stews and in sweet desserts and beverages including coffee. This traditional ingredient has been passed down through generations of Yemeni families and is a significant aspect of creating the perfect cup of white coffee. When added to white coffee, the flavors burst with nutty and acidic flavors and cardamom and ginger spices. The most fascinating aspect of white coffee mixed with hawaij is that it does have interesting health benefits that you may not find in your daily cup of coffee, read on.
Because white coffee is a light roast coffee bean, it is possible that it has more health benefits compared to a dark roast coffee bean. Think of it this way, the longer the coffee bean is roasted, the more the natural anti-oxidants and acids from the coffee plant are “burned” out of the coffee. Therefore, light roast beans retain more of these natural elements compared to dark roast beans.
In an interview with The Kitchn, Dr. Etti Ben-Zion, a partner and VP of Research Development with Dr. Smood stated, “When we roast something, we expose it to air, and the longer we roast the coffee, the greater the oxidation. The lighter the roast, the higher the chlorogenic acid content, which protects human cells against oxidation and inflammation.”
When you add the spicy goodness of the cardamom and the ginger, these two additions can help to soothe digestive issues without disrupting the consumption of white coffee.
Well, yes and no. The myth is that white coffee contains 50% - 70% more caffeine than your typical cup of light, medium or dark roast coffee. While coffee does lose a bit of its caffeine content the more you roast it, it does not lose up to 70% of its caffeine content. It’s said that white coffee contains 5.4% more caffeine than your normal cup of coffee however, some say that you can barely taste the difference between caffeine content in white coffee vs. dark coffee for example. Whatever your preference is, this small number could alter your preference in choosing white coffee if you’re not particularly interested in higher caffeine content.
When it brews down to it, white coffee has become an increasingly popular trend, particularly among local coffee shops. Like many new coffee trends, they rise and fall with the taste pallets of coffee and espresso drinkers. As for white coffee, this traditional Yemeni drink has been around for centuries and it seems like it’s here to stay, so why not try out this fascinating cultural cup of coffee, you just might find your new normal!