What Is White Coffee And How To Brew It?

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White coffee is a spin on traditional coffee that you might have seen at coffee shops. What is white coffee?

Some people assume that white coffee is the opposite of black. The addition of milk or creamer makes the coffee white. There are drinks, such as a flat white coffee or cappuccino, which means coffee and milk mix together, but they’re not the same as coffee made with white coffee beans.

Maybe you’ve heard of the popular Malaysian White coffee beans, which are roasted in palm oil margarine and brewed with sweetened condensed milk. The most famous brand is the Ipoh Oldtown white coffees.

However, we are not focusing on these white coffees in this article. The white coffee we are discussing is much lighter than other brews, which gives it less of a bitter taste than you’d expect from coffee. It’s as light as green tea but has an attractive nutty flavor.

If you’re looking for a new coffee beverage to try, white coffee might be for you. Read on, and you’ll know everything about white coffee.

What Is White Coffee?

White coffee originated in Yemen, a country that monopolized the coffee industry for more than 200 years [1]. And even though mocha is their most famous export, white coffee has also been popular for many years. So just because you’re only seeing it in American coffee shops now doesn’t mean it’s a new drink.

The first difference in the coffee beans is the roasting temperature. White coffee beans only hit 325℉ during the coffee roasting process. Even standard light roasts reach 450℉ to 480℉. Since white coffee uses a lower temperature, the beans don’t get as dark as typical fully-roasted coffee does.

The lower roast temperature means the white coffee beans are harder than others. If you try to grind them in your own grinder, it won’t work and might even damage your machine. You need to use a special commercial grinder for these beans, grind them at the grocery store before checking out, or buy previously-ground bags.

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How Does White Coffee Taste?

White coffee has a nutty flavor with pronounced acidity. The acidity doesn’t mean there’s a sour taste or that white coffee will give you bad heartburn. In this case, the acidity is from chlorogenic acid [2], an antioxidant that is actually good for your body! 

Since the beans aren’t roasted as much as darker beans, white coffee preserves more of the natural flavor from the green coffee beans. There’s also less bitterness because the natural sugars don’t caramelize when roasting coffee beans shorter and at lower temperatures.

Light roast coffee accentuates the subtle differences of taste in a single origin bean. White coffees from different companies or growing regions may present different flavor profiles.

Some coffee shops in Yemen, where white coffee began, add hawaij [3]. This spice mix includes ginger, cardamom, coriander, and cinnamon. Cloves and nutmeg are also great spices to add to white coffee if you want to enhance the naturally nutty taste.

White Coffee Vs. Regular Coffee Beans

Both white coffee and regular coffee beans come from green coffee beans. The difference is mainly in the roasting level.

Roasting Level

White coffee beans are very light roast without experiencing high heat or staying in the roaster as long. It’s usually done before the first crack during the roasting process. White roast coffee is even lighter than the regular lightly roasted coffee beans. This makes the beans harder but keeps more of the natural flavor and caffeine content.

White Coffee grounds

In comparison, normal coffee is roasted much darker. Lightly roasted coffee is complete right before or after the first crack. A medium roast will be done around the second crack, and dark roast coffee usually goes beyond the second crack. The longer the roasting process, the darker, so fully roasted coffee looks brown or even black.

coffee-roast-level

Brewing Method

It’s recommended to brew white coffee beans in an espresso machine or Moka pot due to the pressure used. Dark coffee is easier to extract since it is less dense. So you can grind beans fresh before brewing and use any brewing method, such as pour-over, drip coffee maker, or French press.

pull-espresso-shot

Brewed Coffee

As the name suggests, you can assume the white coffee looks much lighter than traditionally roasted coffee. Actually, the brewed coffee looks like green tea rather than regular black coffee.

Drinking white coffee is a fun and pleasant experience. Because it has such a great taste with a very nutty flavor, many coffee lovers drink coffee plain. But if you want to add something to your white coffee, almond milk or cashew milk pair wonderfully with the nutty flavor. The mouthfeel and body of the white coffee are much thinner than regular coffee.

How to Brew White Coffee Properly

Before brewing white coffee, you need to grind the beans to espresso grind size. Many manufacturers do this for you because the beans are too hard for home grinders.

The pre-ground white coffee is dense and less porous than regular espresso coffee grounds. Because of the grounds, you want to use brewing equipment that delivers pressure. Typically, espresso machines give the best results, but you can also use a Moka pot.

Pre-ground White Coffee

An espresso machine is the best way to brew white coffee because of the high pressure it delivers. Before brewing, tamp the grounds, so they’re pushed into the portafilter. Since these grounds are harder than regular grounds, they don’t absorb water in the same way. Packing them down helps the brewing process extract more flavor.

Start your espresso shot, better with a longer pre-infusion. This is a method to pre-soak the grounds to further help the richness of the flavor. However, suppose your espresso machine doesn’t have the pre-infusion. In that case, you can manually stop the brewing process and let the hot water saturates the grounds. After that, pull a white coffee espresso shot like you normally do for a regular espresso drink.

More people own a Moka pot than an espresso machine, so this is the method you’re more likely to use. This stovetop espresso machine takes a bit longer than pulling a shot but delivers a delicious coffee drink.

Benefits of White Coffee

The higher levels of chlorogenic acid make white coffee a great antioxidant. Here are the health benefits of white coffee:

Chlorogenic acid is a natural antioxidant compound found in coffee beans, It is mainly used to lose weight and lower blood pressure. Research suggests it may also help lower blood sugar, improve mood, and help with infections.

https://supplements.selfdecode.com/blog/chlorogenic-acid/

Due to the shorter roasting time and lower temperature, white coffee isn’t as bitter and won’t feel as rough on your stomach. It also loses fewer nutrients during the roasting process.

You might worry that the higher caffeine content could impact your heart, but the difference isn’t that noticeable. If you can handle dark roast coffee, you can safely drink white coffee without worrying about shaky hands or feeling the jitters.

Does White Coffee Have More Caffeine?

Yes, white coffee does have more caffeine than darker roasted coffee beans. The caffeine content of coffee beans decreases a bit with the roasting time and temperature. Therefore, lighter beans contain more caffeine. And the pale white coffee beans have more than blond roasts.

However, this boost isn’t truly significant. You’ll get about 5.4% more caffeine in a cup of white coffee compared to a darker roast.

Caffeine did not undergo significant degradation with only 5.4% being lost under severe roasting.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2487024/

But on a day when you’re dragging, every bit makes a difference!

If you’re looking for a coffee bean that packs a punch, consider that Robusta beans have 2.9mg of caffeine each, while Arabica beans have just 1.9mg. That will make more of a difference in your cup.

White Coffee Brands

If white coffee sounds like something you’d like to try, go ahead and get started! These three brands are the best of the best and come ground, so you can start brewing immediately.

Poverty Bay Coffee Company

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Poverty Bay’s ground white coffee delivers a full-bodied nutty flavor that tastes delicious on its own. But if you mix in flavored syrups or creamers, you might find that your homemade coffee drinks taste better than anything you’d get at the coffee shop.

This coffee has a bolder taste than dark roasts, so if you love coffee beans, this option gives you all the flavor you could want.

Poverty Bay has micro-roasted small batches of coffee for more than 30 years, so they know what they’re doing. Once you try their White Tornado white coffee, you can’t deny the superior flavor.

Wired Willey’s White Coffee

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Wired Willey's White Coffee, 2 lb Wired Willey's White Coffee, 2 lb 1,292 Reviews

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With a name like Wired Willey’s, you know this white coffee is going to get you going in the mornings. You can buy this ground coffee in one-pound, two-pound, or four-pound bags. It’s always shipped fresh, so as soon as it arrives, you can start brewing delicious coffee.

The extremely light roast of this white coffee makes it less bitter than anything you’ve had before. The natural nuttiness really comes through, so you get plenty of flavors—and caffeine—in each cup.

When using these grounds in your espresso maker or Moka pot, don’t tamp them down. The manufacturer recommends against this for the best brewing taste, so you want to follow their guidelines.

Caffe Appassionato

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The ground white coffee from Caffe Appassionato is from 100% Arabica beans that gives you a rich, nutty flavor with low acidity. The beans plus the light roast maximize the caffeine content of this white coffee. Even if you don’t like the taste of coffee, Caffe Appassionato promises you’ll love a cup of their white java.

The Verdict

If you’re a coffee fan, you’ll love how white coffee gives you a full flavor without the acidity and bitterness of darker brews. The need for a commercial grinder can make this coffee seem high maintenance. However, ordering ground coffee from the manufacturer keeps it simple.

The brewing process is also a bit different. But since you’re using special white coffee beans, you don’t want to treat them like any other coffee you’d pick up at the grocery store. Taking a little care with your espresso shots or Moka pot preparation will result in a delicious coffee drink. Once you try white coffee, you’ll love the nutty taste and higher caffeine content.

References:

  1. Coffee Beverage – By Nathan Myhrvold – https://www.britannica.com/topic/coffee
  2. Chlorogenic acid – https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Chlorogenic-acid
  3. HAWAIJ – TRADITIONAL SPICE MIX FROM YEMEN. – https://www.food.com/recipe/hawaij-traditional-spice-mix-from-yemen-290246
  4. 6 Health Benefits of Chlorogenic Acid + Side Effects – By Carlos Tello – PHD (MOLECULAR BIOLOGY) – https://supplements.selfdecode.com/blog/chlorogenic-acid/
  5. Application of high performance liquid chromatography to the analysis of some non-volatile coffee components – L C Trugo, R Macrae – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2487024/