White Coffee: A Rising Health Trend in the West

Jul 25, 2023 • Amélie Bigras

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Embracing the Subtle Side of Coffee

White roast coffee is a new trend sweeping across the coffee-lovers world. While light roast is synonymous with mild brews, white roast coffee takes light coffee to a new level with its subtle and delicate flavor profile.  

White roasting is not a new invention. Its popularity, like other recent coffee trends, is due to the rising momentum of the specialty coffee industry. It is a delicate roast with a more nuanced and authentic coffee experience. Coffee roasted to such a light degree enjoys significant popularity among the Bedouin communities of the Arabian Peninsula. With a Jordanian heritage, one may have had multiple opportunities to experience this particular type of coffee during travels to the South, around locales such as Petra and Wadi Rum.

Stick around as I explain why white roast coffee is worth a spot in your coffee collection. 

Different roasts of coffee beans from white to dark

What is White Coffee?

Most of us are familiar with light, medium, and dark roasts that form the typical roasting spectrum. Roasting is a crucial step in coffee production as it influences the overall characteristics of the final product.

The roasting spectrum includes the various levels coffee beans pass through during the roasting process. The roasting duration and temperature determine the levels, where light roasts are beans roasted for a shorter time and at a lower temperature than dark roasts.

Thus, the light roast beans are roasted at a temperature range of 350°F - 400°F when the first crack happens. However, white roasted beans fall below this level as the beans are roasted at 325°F.

At this roasting stage, the beans take on an off-white color where the name white roast is derived. They also have a noticeably different taste profile from traditional roasts and require a commercial grinder as the beans are still hard.

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7 Health Benefits of White Coffee

White roast coffee offers several health benefits due to its light roast profile, here is a list:

  1. Higher Caffeine Content: White coffee is often found to have higher caffeine levels than darker roasts, as the roasting process reduces caffeine content in the beans. This can result in improved mental alertness and enhanced physical performance.
  2. Antioxidants: Lighter roasts, like white coffee, are reported to contain more chlorogenic acid, a powerful antioxidant that can help fight free radicals in your body.
  3. Weight Management: Chlorogenic acid is also thought to affect how your body handles blood sugar and metabolism, potentially aiding in weight loss and management.
  4. Lower Acrylamide Levels: Acrylamide, a potentially harmful substance, forms when coffee beans are roasted at high temperatures. As white coffee beans are under-roasted, they tend to have lower levels of acrylamide.
  5. Potential Anti-Inflammatory Properties: The chlorogenic acid in white coffee has been associated with anti-inflammatory effects, which could potentially help manage conditions associated with inflammation.
  6. Retained Bean Characteristics: Due to the minimal roasting process, more of the original bean's nutrients and healthy compounds can be preserved in white coffee.
  7. Lower Blood Pressure: Some studies suggest that chlorogenic acid might help lower blood pressure.

Remember, while white coffee has potential health benefits, it's important to consume it as part of a balanced diet and not rely solely on it for health benefits. As with any caffeinated product, it should be consumed in moderation.

Half white coffee beans and half dark coffee beans

Tasting Notes of White Roast Coffee

White roast coffee, due to its minimal roasting process, offers a unique flavor profile that starkly contrasts from its more traditionally roasted counterparts. It is often described as having a mild, somewhat nutty flavor, akin to peanuts or cereal, which distinguishes it from the more familiar taste of darker roasts. Due to the reduced roasting time, the coffee's natural sugars do not caramelize, eliminating any bitterness and instead leaning into a slightly sour or tart flavor.

Additionally, the white roast can retain more of the coffee bean's original characteristics, leading to subtle notes that can range from floral to fruity depending on the specific type of bean used. This brew also tends to be more acidic, owing to its higher levels of chlorogenic acid preserved by the lighter roast. Among Jordanian Bedouins, this coffee is usually prepared by boiling it for extended periods with an array of warming spices like cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon, and consumed in small, unsweetened portions, much like espresso shots. Overall, white roast coffee presents a unique, light, and complex flavor profile that offers a different kind of coffee drinking experience.

Our Picks In Detail

White Coffee - Poverty Bay Coffee Co

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4.1 out of 5 • Buy it for $29 at Amazon • Price last checked Jul 25, 2023

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4.1 out of 5 • No price available, check stock on Amazon • Price last checked Jul 25, 2023

White Coffee - Poverty Bay Coffee CoWhite Coffee - Poverty Bay Coffee Co

Features

This White Coffee delivers a unique and smooth flavor. Roasted by the renowned Poverty Bay Coffee Co, this white coffee blend promises quality with every sip. Unlike typical dark roasts, white coffee has a lighter, more nuanced taste while maintaining the caffeinated kick coffee-lovers seek.

Pros

  • Refreshing and unique flavor
  • High caffeine content
  • Quality ensured by reputed Poverty Bay Coffee Co

Cons

Caffe Appassionato Ground White Bianco

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3.9 out of 5 • Buy it for $25 at Amazon • Price last checked Jul 25, 2023

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3.9 out of 5 • No price available, check stock on Amazon • Price last checked Jul 25, 2023

Caffe Appassionato Ground White BiancoCaffe Appassionato Ground White Bianco

Features

Caffe Appassionato, based in Seattle, has been roasting exquisite coffees since 1990. Their white coffee beans, unique due to shorter roast times, are denser than traditionally roasted ones. A special grinder is used to ensure consistency, enhancing both flavor and caffeine content.

Pros

  • Roasted using small-batch method for quality control
  • Unique, dense white coffee beans maximizes flavor
  • Special grinding process enhances caffeine content
  • Product of award-winning Seattle-based company

Cons

White Coffee K-cups

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2 out of 5 • Buy it for $22 at Etsy • Price last checked Jul 25, 2023

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2 out of 5 • No price available, check stock on Etsy • Price last checked Jul 25, 2023

White Coffee K-cupsWhite Coffee K-cups

Features

White coffee K-Cups are filled with 15g of coffee grounds, providing a highly caffeinated cup of coffee. This variety of coffee is uniquely lighter in color and boasts a higher caffeine content compared to regular black coffee. It carries a soft, nutty flavor, with a hint of green tea. The K-cups are available in a box containing 2 dozen cups.

Pros

  • High caffeine content
  • Mild, nutty flavor
  • Value pack: 2 dozen per box

Cons

Pairing Suggestions

White coffee, as understood in the U.S. context—being under-roasted—has a distinct flavor profile, which is often described as nutty or having cereal-like flavors with a hint of sourness. The following food pairings might help to complement these characteristics:

  • Nut-Based Pastries: Given the nutty notes often found in white coffee, pastries or baked goods that feature nuts, like almond croissants or walnut bread, could complement the coffee nicely.
  • Lightly Spiced Foods: Foods with a hint of spice, such as cinnamon rolls or ginger cookies, can bring out the nuanced flavors of white coffee.
  • Fruits: Tart fruits, such as blueberries, cranberries, or apples, can provide a nice contrast to the sourness of white coffee. A blueberry muffin or an apple tart could be excellent options.
  • Cheese: Mild cheeses, such as gouda or mozzarella, can pair well with the subtle, nutty flavors of white coffee.
  • Savory Biscuits: Savory biscuits or scones can work well with the slightly sour, nutty flavor profile of white coffee.

Experimentation with this coffee reveals that a particularly delightful Western adaptation of this coffee comes in the form of a cardamom and rose latte. This lightly roasted coffee also pairs excellently in a dirty chai. This type of coffee enjoys significant popularity in Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia and its neighboring countries. Rather than being brewed as espresso, it is typically boiled in water and often served with herbs like cloves.

Healthy snacks

White Roast vs Gold Roast Coffee

Gold-roasted coffee is another specialty roast gaining popularity due to its intense caffeine levels without the bitterness and acidity of traditional roasts.

Gold roast falls between the white and light stages on the roasting spectrum, where the beans roast slightly longer to achieve a temperature of 345°F and take on a golden brown color. Both roast levels offer a unique tasting profile, making them ideal for specialty coffee beans.

Like the white roast coffee, the gold roast is a healthier option as the roasting process produces more caffeine and antioxidant levels with less acidity.

On the other hand, white roast has a light and nutty taste and is more acidic than gold roast due to its short roasting time. Thus, white roasts often come as espresso-based drinks or with additional flavors to balance the astringency.

White Coffee Beans

White Coffee Has Two Different Meaning

In the United States, white coffee is coffee beans that have been under-roasted until they're still white or yellowish. The practice of roasting coffee this way is believed to have originated in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon and Washington are two states particularly associated with white coffee, with various coffee shops in those states offering it on their menus. This roast style has spread to other parts of the country over time, though it remains less common than more traditional roasts.

In the East, white coffee originates from Ipoh, a city in Malaysia, and is a popular drink in the country. The method involves roasting coffee beans in margarine and then brewing the result. This gives the coffee a lighter color than traditional black coffee, hence the name. Sugar, condensed milk, or evaporated milk is often added to the brewed coffee, giving it a distinctively creamy and sweet taste.

So, the term "white coffee" can mean different things depending on the cultural and geographical context. The Malaysian version is quite different from what might be served in a coffee shop in the United States, for example.

Conclusion

White roast coffee, with its unique flavor profile and higher caffeine content, is carving out its own niche within the rich tapestry of coffee culture. Originating from the Pacific Northwest in the United States, this style of roasting coffee beans is starting to appeal to a broader audience, particularly among those who appreciate the subtlety of its taste, the health benefits it offers, and the unique caffeine kick it provides.

This "new kid on the block" is part of a wider trend in the specialty coffee industry, where diverse flavors and roasting techniques are being explored and appreciated by discerning coffee lovers around the world. It's not only about the caffeine anymore, but also about the myriad of flavors, the distinctive roasting processes, and the nuanced tasting experiences that these bring.

Author

Amélie has a dual Bachelor of Biological Sciences and Literature. She wrote a Master's Thesis on the importance of blending scientific knowledge with the arts to create a healthier culture. She also has a Bachelor of Education and has been teaching Biology and Language Arts since 2016. She is happily addicted to coffee and constantly learning.

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