When you hear the term ‘Green Coffee‘ anyone not up to speed on their coffee beverage may be slightly confused as to what this refers to.
While we’re big fans of ecologically-sound coffee, in this instance, green coffee doesn’t refer to organic coffee beans, or otherwise “green” as in eco friendly. What it is, simply, is unroasted or raw coffee beans. Various things can be done with green coffee beans:
- they can be roasted to make regular coffee
- they can be ground into a powder (packed into capsules) and taken as a nutritional supplement (more about its value in that regard later)
- they can be brewed and drunk as green coffee, similar in look to green tea; a shade of yellowish-green, and clear
- green beans can also be used to make green coffee extract
Remember when green tea surged into western popularity? It was purported to cure diseases, “detoxify” the body, and promote general good health. And initially, it was supposedly, or at least rumoured to be, caffeine-free. Then people started enduring interrupted sleep and the facts came to light. It was tea, loaded with caffeine, just densely as orange pekoe and black teas.
How to Make Green Coffee
So, how do you make green coffee? Green coffee is made in a similar way to green tea, but it comprises very hard beans, not leaves, so there is some additional preparation required. The raw green coffee beans are soaked overnight (as you would do with white, navy, or any dried vegetable beans (legumes)). Coffee experts then suggest you use the soaking water to boil the beans in, allow to steep for 10 minutes after reaching the boiling point, strain off the fluid and sip the green coffee. We suggest if you do drink it do so in moderation in respect for your body and sleep patterns.
Why Drink Green Coffee?
If you like the nutty, chocolaty richness of regular roasted coffee, you might not particularly enjoy a brew made with green coffee beans. It is more herbal in flavour and much milder to the taste (beware; the caffeine effects remain as strong). More like green tea in many ways.
Some coffee aficionados embrace the addition (not the replacement) of green coffee to their caffeine intake because they believe that roasting coffee beans damages, eliminates or reduces some of the natural elements of the bean. This has led to a series of claims regarding the health benefits of green coffee, just as it did with green tea during its height of popularity.
What Exactly are the Purported Benefits of Green Coffee?
While there is a litany of supposed health benefits from drinking brewed green coffee or ingesting the powered unroasted coffee beans, there are few if any empirical studies that justify or prove these claims. Still, three matters continue to grab the public’s attention and result in increased sales of green coffee (be that green coffee beans or green coffee bean powder), often attributed to one of nature’s natural antioxidants, chlorogenic acid, found in higher levels in the green coffee beans:
- weight loss
- lowering of blood pressure
- reduction of blood sugar, critical to diabetics
None of these has been proven by controlled medical study, but one thing is certain, the makers of green coffee supplements are riding the green coffee trend and helping to perpetuate what we will not label a myth (what is not proven is also not unproven). Recommended dosages are all over the map, and maximum “safe” dosages are inconsistent.
One well-promoted use is to “detoxify”, a current bit of trendy false jargon that tries to suggest our livers do not actually do that job already.
Crucial to the use of green coffee powder or drinking unroasted coffee beans is: this is by any definition coffee, loaded with caffeine and all its side-effects such as nervousness, stomach irritation, insomnia and the like. It is not caffeine-free or “herbal”.
As with any supplement that claims it can improve human health, it is always best to check with your family doctor before ingesting it.
One study done on green tea and coffee combined suggests that four cups of green tea plus two cups of coffee per day results in a 63% lower risk of death. We had to laugh about this one on two counts: You are in fact going to die at some point, so your risk of death, tea, coffee or water aside, is 100%. And with six cups of caffeine in your system, you’ll be alive and awake for days…
Choosing Your Green Coffee Beans
Like regular roasted coffee, green coffee is available in a range of flavours and strengths, but if you want to buy a bag of it, you’ll find only beans, not pre-ground green coffee, in the stores. These green coffee beans have a shelf life of up to one year. The resulting hot beverage (it is also served chilled) is refreshing and stimulating. Consumers of green coffee tend to drink it clear (“black”) with no milk or sugar.
Drinking hot or cold green coffee may be an acquired taste, and not to everyone’s liking, but drunk in moderation, replacing existing coffee consumption, not adding to it, is safe unless you drink as much coffee as TV host, David Letterman, who once said, “If it wasn’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever.” This is perhaps why he worked late-night television.
As you would with roasted coffee, choose your green coffee beans wisely, buy from free-trade merchants, check the source (working conditions, pesticides, etc.) and perhaps try roasting the green beans yourself for a committed coffee experience.
The Last Drop
So, enjoy your green coffee, but understand its realities in regards to being a cure-all and consisting of high-packed caffeine.