White coffee has joined other coffee roasts as the latest, lightest trend available to coffee drinkers. It’s a light coffee roast marketed as a higher dose of caffeine with a unique flavor profile.
White coffee isn’t necessarily a new invention, though, even if it’s recently gained popularity.
This roast has been around for at least 100 years, a gift to caffeine fans from the nation of Yemen. Here’s everything fans of lighter roasts need to know.
What is white coffee?
There’s nothing added to white coffee to define the roast. White coffee is simply a product of how the beans are roasted to create one of the gentler flavor profiles available.
What is the difference between regular coffee and white coffee? The difference between regular coffee and white coffee is in the shorter, lower temperature roasting process and nuttier, more mild flavor profile.
Why is it called white coffee? White coffee gets its name from how beans are roasted. It is called white coffee because of its signature “white” color. In most cases, it takes on more of a cream, off-white, or beige tone.
White coffee beans are roasted for a shorter time than darker roast styles and at much lower temperatures.
It’s also different from a flat white, a common beverage option at coffee shops. A flat white refers to espresso with microfoam, and this drink includes steamed milk.
White coffee is lighter in color than a blonde roast, but that color is natural, not from milk or foam. This roast style is similar to the more popular gold coffee, a smooth-tasting, low-acid option with 5 times the caffeine of a standard cup of coffee.
Roasting Process For White Coffee
Whether you’re using Arabica beans or a Robusta variety, white coffee starts as all the others: unroasted, green coffee beans. These beans haven’t been roasted yet and aren’t suitable for brewing coffee.
It can be challenging to roast white coffee beans. Roasting the beans for too long will result in a darker roast, producing a very different flavor profile.
White coffee beans are roasted between 300-325°F degrees, a roasting temperature that’s almost 100 degrees lower than medium or dark varieties. The beans are removed before the first crack — the point at which the beans start to pop open from the pressure of the roasting process.
Medium to dark roasts are pulled after the second crack. That second crack usually happens by 437°F. Anything roasting above that level means burnt coffee beans, a preference for no one.
White coffee beans pulled before that first crack are also harder than beans you’ll typically find at your favorite roaster. You need a special coffee grinder to grind the beans, so it may be best to find a bag from a specialty coffee shop with access to commercial grinders.
White coffee is roasted slightly less than gold coffee, which is also pulled before the first crack but reaches a slightly more roasted state. This gives gold coffee a more rounded flavor profile, but with a golden color and a more developed nutty undertone that fans love.
White Coffee’s Taste
White coffee has a unique flavor when served on its own. It’s important to note that in the U.S., it’s typically served as the base of an espresso beverage and not as a standalone drink.
What does white coffee taste like? White coffee tastes lighter and nuttier than a darker roast. There’s no caramelization in the flavor profile due to the low roasting temperature, so white coffee is typically less bitter than medium or dark roast coffee.
Some ground white coffee’s taste, like the level of bitterness, can depend on the quality and origin of the beans. Brazilian beans are typically milder than beans from African countries like Ethiopia, where they’re more savory.
Another factor in the taste of coffee is the preparation process. You’ll get a different result from a French press than from brewing it in a drip coffee maker.
Any coffee sweeteners or creamers will further adjust the flavor profile. Almond milk is a popular additive to complement the nutty flavor profile of white coffee.
One downside: White coffee can come across as more acidic than other roasts, though, a drawback for those seeking a gentler cup in their coffee alternative. It also is usually part of an espresso drink or full of additional flavors and creamers due to its highly acidic taste.
Instead of white coffee, many coffee drinkers prefer a gold coffee that they can drink without any stomach discomfort or that acidic taste. This roast keeps many of the flavors and benefits of a white roast, but with a naturally smooth taste.
Caffeine Levels In White Coffee
White coffee may be lighter in color, but that doesn’t mean it’s lighter on the caffeine content. All lighter roasts are naturally more caffeinated.
How does white coffee compare to regular coffee? Compared to regular coffee, white coffee has more caffeine per cup and a milder flavor profile.
A shorter roasting time at lower temperatures makes for a higher concentration of caffeine in that cup of coffee. It’s one reason white coffee is often enjoyed in espresso form, but you don’t necessarily need an espresso machine to indulge in a white coffee.
White coffee’s lower roasting temperature also means it has higher quantities of chlorogenic acid, a naturally occurring compound found in coffees and teas.
Chlorogenic acid is comparable to antioxidants that balance your metabolism and manage chronic conditions. It’s a big reason why coffee in moderation is a healthy choice and why some health-conscious consumers choose gold coffee or other lighter roasts.
For example, the gold roast coffee from Golden Ratio contains 50% more caffeine than a typical cup of black coffee. It also contains chlorogenic acid that can benefit your health.
White Coffee Around The World
White coffee’s preparation and taste can vary by location. The white coffee you see offered in the United States may not resemble the type of coffee drink you order abroad, and the whole bean coffee available in one country may not be available in another.
In fact, some white coffees aren’t even what we’d consider coffee at all. (Cue the suspenseful music.)
In Yemen, the birthplace of white coffee, most coffee lovers forgo creamer, milk, or sugars in favor of a spice mix called hawaij.
Hawaij is typically made from cumin, black pepper, turmeric, and cardamom. It gives the coffee a savory aftertaste, and you can save any leftovers for your next batch of soup.
If you enjoy flavored coffee without the additives, Golden Ratio gold coffee is your answer. Enjoy spices like turmeric and cardamom in its Golden Milk coffee pouches or the fragrant cinnamon and ginger found in our Chai Spiced Gold coffee pouches.
White coffee in the United States follows the Yemeni method closely, with the beans roasted at a low temperature before the first crack. Most coffee shops will offer it in espresso form.
If you’re not getting it at a specialty coffee shop from your favorite barista, you’re likely only going to find it pre-ground from a coffee company that specializes in these delicate roasts. Most assume you don’t have a commercial grinder at your home to grind your white coffee beans.
If you’re looking for a smoother tasting coffee that’s easy to prepare, our gold coffee comes in convenient pouches for brewing on the go.
White coffee in Indonesia is known as kopi putih, and the coffee beans are roasted for a short period of time at a lower temperature than regular coffee. A cup of white coffee in Indonesia will resemble the traditional form.
Malaysian white coffee is roasted with palm oil margarine and served up with sweetened condensed milk. It originated in Ipoh, the capital city of the state of Perak in Malaysia.
The flavor on the Malaysian version is a bit closer to a medium roast, as the palm oil process allows for caramelization that usually only happens at higher roasting temperatures.
Thanks to the condensed milk used in most cups, it’s much sweeter than a white coffee served up without any additives.
White Coffee Vs. Gold Coffee
Gold coffee boasts remarkable caffeine content, doesn’t stain teeth, and reduces stomach discomfort and bloating that can accompany traditional coffee.
Plus, unlike white coffee, you don’t need a barista to enjoy this taste.
Our coffee pouches are accessible right at home, and could even steep in a to-go mug or overnight as a cold brew. The possibilities are endless!
Compared to white coffee, our gold coffee is:
- Slightly more roasted
- More full-bodied in flavor
- Delicious on its own, without creams or sugars
Love light roast coffee? Us too.
If you’re not used to a higher acidity in coffee, white coffee can be harsh on your stomach. It’s higher on the acidity factor because of how it’s roasted, despite the nutty flavor you can expect from a white coffee.
It’s not your only option if you’re looking for a lighter roast, though.
Golden Ratio is a low-acid coffee that’s easier on your stomach while retaining the caffeine and flavor of a delicious cup of coffee.
Gold coffee is a delicious addition to your coffee routine. Try our variety packs to find your favorite.
- Chlorogenic acid (CGA): A pharmacological review and call for further research
- The effects of low doses of caffeine on human performance and mood
- Coffee consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: a dose-response meta-analysis
- Coffee and tea: perks for health and longevity?