What is White Coffee?

What is White Coffee?

From cappuccinos to mocha, the essential morning cup of Joe can take on many forms. One type of coffee that is gaining popularity in recent times is white coffee. So what is white coffee?

It might be the latest trend, but white coffee has existed for many years. It originated in Yemen, a major coffee producer in the 1500s and 1600s. This guide will introduce you to white coffee, how it’s made, and how you can add a cup of it to your day.

How is White Coffee Different from Black Coffee?

You may think from the name that it has to do with the addition of whiteners like milk or cream. However, it is different from the flat white. The difference between white and black coffee lies in the roasting technique. White coffee is a very light roast, which is why it does not have the dark brown hue of regular black coffee.

White coffee beans are roasted at 325 F, much cooler than the 450 to 480 F temperature for standard roasts. Their roasting time is roughly half as long as for black coffee. This results in harder beans, which have to be ground with specialized grinders. Their color is never pure white, unlike what its name suggests, but rather beige.

How Does It Taste?


White coffee drinkers describe it as nutty, acidic, and only slightly bitter. To some, it is more like tea than coffee. For the first-time drinker, the taste can be a bold surprise. The lack of bitter aftertaste is because the sugars naturally present in the beans are not caramelized during the roasting process. Additionally, the organic chlorogenic acids in the beans do not evaporate, making the coffee more acidic. 

As with all coffees, the particular type of coffee bean has a strong influence on the resulting taste. Colombian and Brazilian beans, for example, produce more nutty flavors, while Indonesian beans have stronger aromas. 

How Do You Drink It?

White coffee is usually enjoyed without milk or cream. Some people add almond milk to go with the nutty flavors. For more sweetness, you can add white chocolate or caramel. If you are someone with heartburn or acid reflux, adding dairy would balance out the acidity of the coffee. 

In Yemen, white coffee was served with Hawaii, a spice mix, for a flavorful experience. Ginger and cardamom are key spices in this combination, mixed along with cinnamon or nutmeg for a dash of sweetness or with cumin, black pepper, and turmeric. Several coffee shops preserve this tradition to this day. In the end, the drinking style is up to personal preference.

What Are Some Types of White Coffee?

There are a few well-known types of white coffee. 

  • The Indonesian Kopi Putih White Coffee features lightly roasted beans. 
  • The Flat White Coffee is characterized by smooth-frothed milk and espresso. 
  • The Malaysian White Coffee diverges from the classic Yemen variety in terms of ingredients and length of preparation. It contains palm oil margarine and condensed milk, resulting in a sweet and creamy taste. 
  • The American variant of white coffee is more yellow than white. It is otherwise similar to the Yemeni type. 

How Do You Brew White Coffee?

By Free-Photos from Pixabay

As of currently, white coffee is mostly restricted to large urban areas and is not yet on the menus of many coffee shops. However, making white coffee at home is not too difficult a task.

The first step is to buy pre-ground white beans unless you have a specialized grinder strong enough to grind them. It is easier to find the beans online than in grocery stores. If you choose to grind them yourself, use a ratio of 1 teaspoon for 6-8 ounces of water. Put the beans in the hot water and brew for 5-7 minutes. To preserve their flavor, brewing them with an espresso machine, Moka pot, or Aeropress is the recommended method. Use fewer grounds because they will expand when brewed. After letting it sit for 1-2 minutes, the coffee is ready to be served. 

Does White Coffee Have More Caffeine Than Regular Coffee?

Coffee shops selling white coffee claim it has significantly more caffeine, up to 70% more than the traditional brown coffee. It is true that the shorter the roasting time, the more caffeine is preserved in the beans. However, the difference is much smaller than advertised, closer to 5%. 

Is White Coffee Better For You Than Black Coffee?

The low temperature of roast makes white coffee seem healthier than its black counterpart. Chlorogenic acid, which is present in greater quantities in white coffee, reduces inflammation and the risk of cardiovascular disease because it is an antioxidant. It also reduces the risk of diabetes and helps with weight loss. These benefits, though real, are small, and giving up regular black coffee for white coffee is not necessary if you are not a fan of the taste. 

What is White Coffee? – Final Thoughts

The different taste profile and roasting techniques make white coffee a new interesting way to get your daily fix of caffeine. As white coffee continues to become better known in the United States, it is worth a try, even for the die-hard black coffee drinker with a liking for the best coffee beans

Written by Elisa Sung

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