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What is White Coffee: Beans Half Baked

Ever heard of white coffee? In this article we’ll go over exactly what is white coffee and why it matters for coffee lovers who enjoy brewing their own.

Brandon Pierce
January 22, 2022

I am not shy to admit that coffee shops have become a second home to me. Being a coffee enthusiast, I am always trying different varieties of coffee. I thought that I knew each and everything about coffee until recently. 

I was sitting in a coffee shop and overheard someone ordering a cup of white coffee. I was surprised, "Wait! What is white coffee? " So I started researching and learning about it, and here I'm going to share what I found.

What is white coffee?

So what is a white coffee? It may seem like a recent innovation, but it actually originated in the Middle East a long time ago. As you know, coffee beans are green in color before they are roasted.

A white coffee bean is made from the same hard, green coffee bean, which is roasted at lower temperatures for half of the time than regular roasted coffee and is hence called half-baked.

A fully roasted coffee is roasted at 450ยฐF to 480ยฐF, while white coffee is roasted at around 325ยฐF. As a result of light roasting, the bean becomes extremely hard and needs to be ground using a specialized commercial grinder. 

So you must be thinking, "Is white coffee white?" No! Despite what the name implies, white coffee is not white. It has a lighter brown color than the other darker roasted coffees. 

You shouldn't confuse white coffee with the Malaysian White Coffee. In Malaysia, a coffee drink is made by roasting coffee beans in palm oil or margarine. These beans are ground, brewed, and served with a mixture of sweetened condensed milk.

As I stated earlier, white coffee is not something new. However, there is a particular confusion around its origin. Some coffee historians claim that it originated in Ipoh, Malaysia, while others believe it came from Yemen.

In Yemen, this drink is traditionally served with a spice mix known as hawaij. It is generally made up of black pepper, cumin, cardamom, and turmeric, but there are many variations of this recipe. It depends upon your personal preference. 

White coffee vs. black coffee

What sets these two types of coffee apart? Well, the main difference between them is the roasting process. In simple terms, the former is a light roast, while the latter is a dark roast. 

Caffeine content

The caffeine content is dependent on the roasting time. As the exposure to heat increases, caffeine content decreases. Since light coffee roasts at a lower temperature and for a shorter period, it retains most of its caffeine. 

In my personal opinion, white coffee works best in the morning. You need energy and stimulation in the morning, whereas, in the evening, you want to relax your mind. Too much caffeine in the evening makes one agitated, so regular coffee is best in the evening.

Roasting temperatures

As explained earlier, white coffee beans are roasted at lower temperatures, and they stay in the coffee roaster for more time, achieving a slow roast. In contrast to that, black beans go all the way to a blistering 450-480 degrees F. 

Acidity

If you have ever sipped a cup of black coffee, you must have noticed that it has high acidity. Ever wondered why that is? The long roasting time and the high temperature break down the oils in coffee beans.

These oils cause acidity in coffee. Many people complain about acid reflux, and if you suffer from stomach ulcers, it would be better for you to switch to white coffee.

Since white coffee has a shorter roasting time, it doesn't break down the oils as much. Therefore, it is not only less acidic, but also retains more of its chlorogenic acid. This acid is a potent antioxidant, which makes it really good for you. I will elaborate on more benefits of white coffee later on.

Flavor

The flavor is the most shocking difference between these two types of coffee. Black coffee is generally strong and bitter, as it has no additives to help dilute its strength. Its taste is impacted by the kinds of beans used and the way it is brewed.

For instance, if Arabica beans are used for brewing, the finished product will be slightly acidic. In contrast, Robusta beans give more of a bitter flavor. The flavor is also impacted by the type of roasting. If beans have a light roast, the brewed coffee will have a sour flavor. Whereas, a dark roast results in a bitter taste.

On the other hand, white coffee has a light roast, so it's less bitter and less acidic. It has more of a nutty flavor. Moreover, It can include other additives like sugar or milk. Adding sugar will result in a sweeter taste, and adding milk will make it creamier. 

Calories

In this era of health awareness, weight is a significant concern for many people. It is essential to keep track of the calories that you are consuming each day. Many people are concerned about the calorie content in coffee, but let me assure you coffee is low in calories.

White coffee itself is not high in calories, but if you add sugar and milk in it, you are increasing your calories per cup. However, a dark coffee drink is served without the addition of any extra product, so it is low in calories. It is a good option if you are trying to lose weight.

How do you brew white coffee?

Despite increasing popularity, white coffee is not readily available in coffee shops, particularly outside big urban cities. Fortunately, it is possible to make this beverage at home.

If you want to brew your white coffee, you need to be very cautious. Make sure that you are getting good quality white coffee beans. You can use them, provided that you are using a high-pressure brewing method.

Shorter roasting times make white coffee beans, hard and dense, and they can be hard on your grinder. Most coffee roasters offer pre-ground white coffee beans. By purchasing this from them directly, you will help to prevent damage to your home coffee grinder. After you buy your roasted coffee beans, you can brew them espresso-style.

This method will ensure you get the most out of their light flavor. Otherwise, your coffee may taste sour or weak. You can use any other device which gives a highly concentrated brew as well, like an Aero Press or Moka Pot.

Espresso method

Many people prefer this method of preparing white coffee. You need white coffee pre-ground to a fine espresso grinds. As this coffee is very dense, it will expand dramatically. Half fill your portafilter basket. Shake it down and press the brew button for two seconds and then turn it off. Wait for 10 seconds and then pull your shot.

The waiting time will allow the white coffee to swell up. The shot will flow quickly. Unlike a typical espresso double shot that takes 25 seconds to pull, a white coffee double will take only eight seconds. 

Is white coffee stronger than regular coffee?

Coffee shops claim that white coffee roasts contain more caffeine than darker roasts. But how can we measure caffeine in coffee? It is measured by its density, which is dependent on roasting time. Regular coffee beans are roasted for a long time, so they become less dense.

There is less caffeine per scoop of coffee grounds this way. If we go by, this logic, dark coffee beans have the least caffeine, followed by the medium and light roast. White coffee is half baked and therefore is the densest. 

While, in theory, caffeine content decreases as roasting time increases, there is little scientific evidence to back this claim. According to some marketing, white beans are 50-70% higher in caffeine content, but the actual figure is close to 5%. 

My point of view is that if you want a highly caffeinated drink, seek a particular bean rather than a light roast. 

Benefits of white coffee

White coffee has a bolder flavor than regular coffee, and the caffeine in it raises the adrenaline levels in your blood. Drinking one cup of coffee at breakfast might be good for you.

Since white coffee is not fully roasted, it retains Chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid is a robust antioxidant, and it is known to be beneficial for your health. The following are a few health benefits of drinking white coffee. 

  • It protects against cardiovascular diseases and reduces the chances of stroke and cancer.
  • It helps in weight loss by burning fat.
  • It helps in preventing memory loss and prevents dizziness.
  • It helps you stay alert and active and enhances your physical performance. 
  • It decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • An additional benefit is less tooth discoloration since it's not as dark as a regular coffee. 

Where can I buy white coffee?

White coffee is not a widely popular drink around the world, so it may require you to search for local stores or cafes that sell it. I have found some good options for you!

  • Poverty Bay Coffee Company: White tornado- Their white tornado coffee bean comes in a special grind. They use high tech machines to grind beans before delivering them to you. 
  • Abbey Roast: They use Brazilian Arabica beans roasted at a lower temperature to deliver this special white coffee at an affordable price. 
  • Caffe Appassionato: It's made from 100% Arabica beans and costs about $25 for 2 pounds. It has gotten excellent customer reviews. 
  • Bargreen's Coffee: Their website reports that people have fewer stomach complaints after drinking this brand. It would be nice to give it a try.
  • Amazon: You can easily find different varieties and sizes of white coffee on Amazon. The most popular products include Wired Willey's White coffee, Old Town White Coffee, LUWAK White Koffie, and Nescafรฉ White Coffee. 

If you're a coffee-lover, then you may want to try white coffee! You will appreciate its nutty flavor as well as its many health benefits.

Hopefully, you found this blog informative. Now, go and purchase a bag of white coffee beans and enjoy a delicious cup. 


Brandon Pierce

About the author

My name is Brandon and I love cold-brew coffee. If you're a fan of everything homebrew, then we'll get along just fine. I also enjoy riding my Onewheel around town, and going on adventures with my future wife! As an online work-from-home advocate, it's important that I stay connected to the world while being able to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

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