Wednesday, January 18, 2012

White Coffee

After much curiosity and some reading on the internet, I finally decided to try some white coffee. What I learned before diving in is that white coffee is basically a very light roast. It is still comprised of arabica beans like any good coffee, but they are roasted barely beyond green, I don't believe even until the first crack. You see, green coffee beans have a sheath around them, and during the roast the beans expand in size until the sheath explodes, making a cracking sound, not unlike popcorn popping. If roasted for long enough, the beans will crack a second time as the beans themselves break apart.

With the roasting basics out of the way, it's time to talk about what's really important: how it brews. For starters, white coffee doesn't smell like traditional coffee, it has a mild aroma of peanut butter. After brewing, the peanut smell remains but it also has an earthy scent - kind of grassy. The shots are quite different than a traditional espresso shot too, a light caramel color with a high degree of transparency.

But how does it taste, you ask?  It should come as no surprise that along with a mild aroma and mild color, it also has a mild flavor. And like the aroma, it also has a nutty, earthy flavor. I would say similar to green tea with a hint of peanuts. Based on the caramel coloring, I decided to make my first drink a caramel macchiato. It turned out ok, but because of the mild flavor it lacked the rich fullness of traditional espresso roast. I also made a mocha and again, it was too mild. The benefit for those who want a good buzz but don't care for coffee is that white coffee has a higher caffeine content. Two drinks got me fairly wired. I could see it catching on with the folks who add copious amounts of flavored syrups and sugar to mask the coffee flavor. I don't think it will ever sway those who love the rich, deliciousness of dark roasted coffee, however.

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