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Green Coffee: What It Is, Taste, Health Benefits & Risks

Green Coffee: What It Is, Taste, Health Benefits & Risks

Clark
9 minute read

Green coffee refers to the pure form of coffee beans before they are roasted. Without heat applied, they are straight from the coffee pod to your pantry or supplement drawer.

Green coffee bean extract has become popular in the past decade as a dietary supplement and weight loss aid, but it’s also controversial. Here, we’ll break down the ways to consume green coffee, its potential benefits, and what to watch out for with green coffee supplements.

What is green coffee?

Green coffee is the completely unroasted, pure, and grassy-flavored bean produced inside the pods (or cherries) of a Coffea shrub. Each pod contains a pair of green coffee beans (or seeds). 

The taste and look is almost unrecognizable from the final product we know and love — even the browned color and signature crack on the coffee bean comes from the roasting process.

Long before they became the golden roasted joy that graces our mugs, these little green pods were thought to be unpalatable and useless.

However, the unroasted coffee beans still have a few uses. These beans are used in the Swiss Water process of creating decaffeinated coffee. Additionally, some people claim that the use of green coffee extract can act as a weight loss supplement. (More on that later.)

The roasting process breaks down many of the natural compounds found in unroasted green coffee beans, losing some health benefits and antioxidants like chlorogenic acid.

Most coffee beans you’ll encounter are Arabica beans, but the Robusta variety is also growing in popularity.

What is green coffee extract?Green coffee extract is a compound that has been removed from green coffee beans and contains many of its properties, such as high chlorogenic acid and caffeine content. 

Can you drink green coffee?

There’s a reason you won’t find green coffee on the menu at your favorite regular coffee shop — the (lack of) roasting process and taste are completely different from any other form on the market.

How does green coffee work? If you want to work with raw green coffee, you’ll first need to get your hands on a bag of green coffee beans. They will need to be soaked, simmered, and strained before you can drink a glass. There’s no piping hot brewing process like the one used for roasted coffee beans.

The taste of green coffee is completely unique as well. It’s often described as grassy and bitter, and its high acid content can potentially upset sensitive stomachs.

In short: Yes, you can drink green coffee. But that doesn’t mean you should. If you’re looking for a low-roast coffee with similar benefits and a much better taste, gold coffee is your answer.

Why do people take green coffee?Most people take green coffee as a weight loss supplement or to improve the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. However, research is still inconclusive as to how effective this supplement is.

Green Coffee vs. Gold Coffee

Green coffee is known for its potential health benefits far more than its taste. However, if you’re looking for higher concentrations of antioxidants and without the grassy taste, you have other options.

Gold coffee has several advantages over green coffee:

  • Lightly roasted for a smooth taste with no bitterness
  • High levels of the antioxidant chlorogenic acid for health benefits
  • Easy on the digestive tract
  • An increased amount of caffeine
  • Lower acid levels than green coffee
  • Delicious without additives

In short, gold coffee improves upon the taste of green coffee while maintaining its antioxidant benefits that darker roasts lose.

In addition, since its taste is much smoother and more balanced, gold coffee blends like Golden Milk don’t need extra cream or sugar that’s necessary to smooth out green coffee’s taste.

Gold coffee is an excellent alternative to the bitter taste of regular coffee.

How to Take Green Coffee

Unless you love the taste of grass (and if you do, get that checked out ASAP), you probably won’t want to sip on green coffee.

Green coffee can be purchased in 4 different forms:

  • Powdered 
  • Beverage
  • Capsule
  • Whole beans
  • Skincare

Most people prefer the capsule version due to the unique taste of green coffee. If you do choose to purchase and brew your own whole beans, fans recommend single origin sources from renowned coffee regions such as Guatemala, Ethiopia, and Kenya.

Is green coffee good for your skin? Green coffee may be good for your skin. Green coffee is rich in the antioxidant chlorogenic acid, which may reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fight free radicals. However, more research is still needed to see exactly how it affects your skin.

Potential Benefits of Green Coffee

Most people take green coffee as a health supplement. It made an appearance on the Dr. Oz show, touted as a weight loss supplement that could battle obesity. But does it work?

It’s important to note that the study cited on the show was later retracted after federal regulators discovered that key data had been altered, so it’s possible that there’s a placebo effect in play.

Keeping that in mind, there are some potential effects of green coffee that center around keeping the metabolism healthy. Green coffee bean extract’s properties may help with:

  • Metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of conditions including high blood pressure, fat accumulation around the midsection, high cholesterol, and elevated blood sugar. Studies point toward green coffee bean extract’s efficacy in treating metabolic syndrome by addressing several of these factors.
  • Weight loss.This is perhaps green coffee’s most famous potential benefit, but it’s also controversial. British scientist Igho Onakpoya found that many studies on green coffee extract for weight loss are inconclusive or poorly constructed over short durations and small sample sizes. He recommended more research to examine if the weight loss claims are legitimate. 
  • Type 2 diabetes.Evidence suggests that green coffee bean extract may help to regulate glucose, improving blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. 
  • Heart disease. Some studies have pointed to green coffee extract as an antihypertensive agent, potentially lowering blood pressure and improving the function of blood vessels. Additionally, the supplement shows promise for treating cholesterol levels. 

While there is some evidence that green coffee may work as an alternative medicine in some cases, many of its benefits seem to be overstated. 

Chlorogenic acid is also being studied for its effects on neurodegeneration. Researchers have an interest in how it could affect Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and cognitive decline. 

However, lighter roasts of coffee still contain higher levels of chlorogenic acid even after the roasting process, so it may be possible to get similar benefits without a supplement.

Recommended Dosage

From previous studies, it seems to be safe to take up to 480mg of green coffee supplements for up to 12 weeks at a time, but the results may vary from person to person.

A specific green coffee supplement, Svetol, has been taken safely at higher doses.

There is also insufficient evidence on how green coffee affects infants, which means that pregnant or breastfeeding mothers should avoid the supplement altogether.

Regardless of recommended dosages, talk to a healthcare professional about the dose that’s right for your individual needs, if any.

Risks of Taking Green Coffee

In the course of studying green coffee, the side effects have been a cause for concern.

Green coffee supplements have an extremely high dose of caffeine, which may interact with many different drugs. 

Some known or potential interactions of green coffee bean extract include:

  • Heart disease medication 
  • Adenosine, dipyridamole, and other medications used in heart tests
  • Estrogens
  • Lithium
  • Anticoagulant medications 
  • Verapamil 
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Stimulant drugs
  • Nicotine

These are only some of the many potential interactions of green coffee extract, so it’s crucial to discuss supplementation with your doctor.

Beyond these interactions, there are other potential risks of taking green coffee. 

For instance, animal studies have found daily intake of green coffee to deplete calcium and deplete bone health.

Overconsumption of caffeine has been linked to poor sleep quality,  and raised blood pressure. Increasing your caffeine intake with green coffee supplements may affect many areas of your health. Additionally, ingested caffeine can exacerbate mental illness in some patients. 

If you struggle with poor mental health, calcium depletion, sleep disturbances, or blood pressure issues, you should not take green coffee extract.

Are green coffee beans good for weight loss?Currently, there is no conclusive link between green coffee and weight loss. In fact, since its appearance on Dr. Oz, many experts have stated that green coffee does not significantly affect body weight. It’s safe to say that the jury’s still out on green coffee’s benefits for your waistline.

Looking for a healthier coffee? Go for gold.

If you’re looking to skip the cream and sugar and trim down your waistline, there’s an easier way. Gold coffee is lightly roasted to retain most of its antioxidants, caffeine, and has a smooth nutty flavor that’s easy on the taste buds.

With a variety of flavors and a lack of scandals, gold coffee is here to stay — and so are the antioxidants and low acid levels. Your healthier coffee experience awaits.

Sources

  1. Effects of green coffee extract supplementation on anthropometric indices, glycaemic control, blood pressure, lipid profile, insulin resistance and appetite in patients with the metabolic syndrome: a randomised clinical trial
  2. The use of green coffee extract as a weight loss supplement: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials
  3. The effects of green coffee extract supplementation on glycemic indices and lipid profile in adults: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of clinical trials
  4. Antihypertensive effect of green coffee bean extract on mildly hypertensive subjects
  5. Mediation of coffee-induced improvements in human vascular function by chlorogenic acids and its metabolites: Two randomized, controlled, crossover intervention trials 
  6. The effects of green coffee bean extract supplementation on lipid profile in humans: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials 
  7. The effect of daily intake of green coffee bean extract as compared to Agiolax® on the alveolar bone of albino rats
  8. The Safety of Ingested Caffeine: A Comprehensive Review 

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