What Is White Coffee - A Coffee Lovers Guide

What Is White Coffee? – A Coffee Lovers Guide

Last updated on January 22nd, 2024 at 13:09

Many coffee lovers are asking what is white coffee? It can be a beverage that is difficult to correctly define with there a fair bit of confusion as what it is depending on who you are talking to, – is it a flat white, a latte.

To us coffee lovers and coffee enthusiasts, a white coffee is a white roast, a coffee that has been roasted to a roast profile that is a little lighter than a blonde roast.

What is it? Where does it come from? How do you brew it? Keep reading to find out the answers to these questions!

What Is White Coffee?

White coffee is a very light roast of coffee beans that have taken green coffee beans and roasted them with the specific goal of producing a very notable nutty flavor and when using specialty grade coffee a very light roast like a white coffee will get all the nuances and unique flavors from the origin in your cup of coffee.

It is also often called a half roast by master roasters due to the significantly reduced roasting time of 5 min or 6 min when compared to the next roast level up, a blonde roast which requires 10 min to 15 minutes for roasting.

The roasting temperature is also different as White coffee is roasted at a reduced temperature of 325F (162C) while a blonde roast is roasted at 355F to 400F (180C to 205C).

Key Difference White Coffee Blonde Roast
Coffee Roasting Temp 325F (248C) 355F – 400F (180C to 205C)
Roasting Duration 5 to 6 mins 10 to 15 min
Acidity reduced acidity, also a reduced acidity coffee, but more acidic than white coffee
Taste Profile Floral, nutty, sweet and hay like. Fruity, tangy and slightly sour.
Caffeine Content 5.4% more than other beans.

Read: White coffee health benefits

White Coffee Origin

White coffee has its origins in exactly the same roasted beans as any other coffee bean, be it a blonde roast, a light roast, medium roast and even a fully roasted coffee taken to the darkest of dark roasts – they start off a green coffee beans, usually of the Arabica variety due to being more full of flavor than a robusta coffee bean.

They are roasted to a white roast level to produce a specific taste and flavor profile and are not to be mistaken with the unique Malaysian white coffee or Indonesian white coffee, also known as Kopi Puti or Koffee Puti locally. This is a type of coffee that is roasted with margarine and salt and when brewed mixed with sweetened condensed milk to produce a tasty, sweet white coffee.

The method of specifically roasting coffee to produce a half roast that is almost white from the original green coffee bean dates back to the 19th century in Yemen where it is enjoyed with a mix of herbs called Hawaiij, which is made up of cardamom, black pepper, cumin and turmeric.

The enjoyment and roasting of white beans with the specific purpose of coaxing out a nutty flavor dates to the late 1950s to early 1960s in America and became popular from around 2015 onwards.

What Is White Coffee
What Is White Coffee

White Coffee Vs Blonde Roast

White coffee and blonde roast often get confused and mistaken with each other. These are two distinctly different coffees that share many characteristics.

In all essence, a white coffee is a blonde roast that has only been roasted to the mid-point, the halfway point and at a slightly reduced temperature.

A coffee connoisseur will know the difference visually and by taste. Both, something I like from time to time, have a reduced degree of bitterness.

White Coffee Taste

When you brew white coffee it is not by any means a white color, strictly speaking. It looks like a very milky, super milky flat white coffee. If you have never tried it before, it will taste lighter and brighter than a regular coffee beverage.

There are not too many brands to choose from, which makes high quality white coffee beans more readily available.

It is a rare roast, and for this very reason it might be a struggle to find an experienced roaster that will make specialty grade white coffee beans – they might if you ask kindly and turn up with your own green beans.

The caramelization of the natural sugars that are in the coffee beans is eliminated due to the lower roasting temperature which leads to an elimination of the bitterness.

The low temperature of roasting and the short roasting time brings about a very distinctive nutty flavor that is very enjoyable.

Blonde Roast Taste

The brightness and acidity is a crucial part of a blonde roast and gives it a tangy taste like a strong fruit juice. This roast level is ideal for beans that are very flowery and floral in their tasting notes. Expect a coffee with a zesty flavor.

Like a white roast, a blonde roast is not sweet on its own, if you add milk to your beverage it will appear to be sweeter. This is the very reason that Starbucks blonde has a sweet taste – it is from the milk that is served with it.

White Coffee Benefits
A White Espresso

White Coffee Benefits

When you are looking at the white coffee benefits the most obvious one and the one that springs to my mind is the health benefits.

The low temperature and the short roasting time results in the beans maintaining their nutrients and antioxidants with less being lost in an evaporation process.

Having greater quantities of nutrients is obviously good for you as is having an abundance of antioxidants. White coffee has elevated levels of chlorogenic acid, which is a known potent antioxidant that is known to help reduce blood pressure, stimulate weight loss and reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease and diabetes.

Other antioxidants in white coffee include caffeic acid, n-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, trigonelline and melanoidins.

Some people would consider the increased caffeine level as being a benefit, but in reality and in terms of effect this is not something that you should look at or even consider as there is only 5.4% more caffeine.

It is not something that you will notice.

The most notable benefit that you will notice from the first sip is the unique and different taste that stands out from other types of coffee and roast profiles. It has a very nutty taste that is great on its own and goes well with creamers and milk of both dairy and non-dairy.

How Do You Drink White Coffee?

As odd or funny as it sounds, it is almost an oxymoron, white coffee is enjoyed black.


you read that right – white coffee is best enjoyed back, to say it is best enjoyed fresh, as it is and without milk or sugar added. When you enjoy it this way, you will get the best out of the nutty flavor and from there you can work with it and use different milks and sugars and make a great latte, mocha or other such coffees better than a regular coffee bean would produce.

It can be a very difficult bean to work with and brew up a great coffee, but you can do it. You will have to practice as you are unlikely to find this coffee at your local coffee shop. At Latte Love Brew, we encourage you to experiment in your quest to making a great white coffee. 

How To Brew White Coffee

Brewing white coffee can be quite awkward as you need to break some rules of regular brewing.

It takes a few attempts to get it right and some adjustments. One such example is when making an espresso, it takes work and a slightly stronger coffee to water ratio of 1:1.5.

You will typically need to use a typical 20 grams of finely ground coffee to pull a 1 oz (30 ml) shot.

Another “trick” or adjustment that you may need to make is to skip the tamping part and go direct to pulling your shot.

You will likely find that your first shot pulled is not so good; pull a second one with the same grounds, and you will notice that it tastes much better.

It is a very peculiar coffee to get right in an espresso machine.

You can get a great coffee from a moka pot when you start with water of 70C instead of using cold water. This minor change results in a slightly greater contact time with the water and the coffee grounds.

With a French press, find a means of insulating your French press as you will need to extend the brewing time to 7 min to 10 min. Keeping your water warm will aid extractions and, of course, help you to enjoy a nice hot coffee. Use the regular 1:12 ratio for your French press when making white coffee.

Pour over coffee, a great technique for brewing white coffee. I have found, based purely on how I enjoy the coffee, is to double brew, passing you brewed coffee over the grounds for a second time.

I noticed a richer flavor when using fresh ground for the second round of brewing, the difference was not that much better than repassing the water (brewed coffee) back over the grounds for a second time.

It is an enjoyable coffee, and one that you will have fun brewing and perfecting.

Frequently Asked Questions About What Is White Coffee

What’s The Difference Between White Coffee And Regular Coffee?

The main difference between white coffee and regular coffee is how it is roasted; the very reason, they are different! White coffee beans are roasted at a much lower temperature, 325F (162C) and are roasted for only 5 or 6 minutes.

The result of such a light roasting is white coffee beans that are even lighter roasted than blonde roast coffee. The very short roasting period is why a white roast is often called a half roast.

This roasting process creates a coffee that is higher in caffeine and healthier due to having a greater amount of nutrients and higher levels of antioxidants. The flavor profile is very different as it does not have an expected traditional coffee taste. It is very nutty and sweet, much more than other coffees that you have tried.

Is White Coffee Good For You?

Yes, white coffee is good for you as it is healthier than fully roasted coffee due to not losing nutrients or antioxidants during the roasting process. A white coffee bean produces a cup of coffee that is less acidic than fully roasted beans and is better for your stomach.

If acidity is an issue, you can reduce the acidity further by making a cold brewed coffee rather than a regular coffee.

Why Is It Called White Coffee?

As a coffee lover with an astute eye the most obvious reason for the name “white coffee” is the very pale and off-white, but not quite white, the chalky pasty similar to the white chocolate color of the beans.

To say it is a white bean is not 100% accurate, as you can guess by my color description.

The name also traces back to the literal translation of the name given to it by Chinese migrants who preferred white coffee beans over regular coffee.

Why Is White Coffee Expensive?

Basic economics of supply and demand determine that white coffee is more expensive than another coffee bean which is more readily available.

Due to white coffee beans not being at all that common or easy to find due to their rarity they are, understandably a little more expensive.

Does White Coffee Stain Teeth?

Yes, white coffee does stain your teeth but not as much as what black coffee does.

Is White Coffee Real Coffee?

Yes, white coffee is real coffee, it is coffee beans that have been roasted to a level that is lighter than blonde roast coffee. It is not to be mistaken with coffee with milk, a latte or flat white coffee – these are specific coffee beverages that can be made with any kind of coffee beans and is not in reference to the unique white coffee bean that produces a pronounced and prominent nutty flavor.

Final Thoughts – What Is White Coffee?

I hope I have served you well and answered the question what is white coffee perfectly well and covered all your pertaining questions. 

If I have missed anything out, or if you need any clarification, join our online coffee community on Facebook/Meta and ask us. 

Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or Derek@LatteLoveBrew.com, mentioning your name and location

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