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A bag of single-origin coffee and a canister of Folgers from the supermarket have one thing in common: they’re roasted. Green coffee, which is simply coffee that hasn’t yet been roasted, has a completely different flavor and chemical composition. It’s also becoming more and more popular, with a market that’s expected to grow by just more than four percent annually through 2030.
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There are two things one can do with green coffee: brew it as-is or roast it before brewing. The former is said to have some potential health benefits, while the latter is the next logical step in coffee geekery, as roasting beans at home presents a whole new slew of variables to manipulate in search of the perfect cup.
Whether it’s used as a raw material for at-home roasting experimentation or an addition to a wellness routine, green coffee signifies an investment in self-improvement. Those who buy green coffee might not be trying to say that they’re superior to everyone else, but they are striving to be superior to the version of themselves who only knew coffee in its roasted form. That’s something to be celebrated.
What the Experts Say
One thing that’s clear from speaking to experts is that green coffee does not taste like, well, roasted coffee. According to Jennifer Pallian, a registered dietitian and trained barista, it has a “distinct vegetal and grassy taste with a lighter body and acidity than roasted coffee.” Joel Squires, head roaster at Generous Coffee, calls the taste “bitter and grassy.”
The conversation around the purported benefits of green coffee centers on chlorogenic acid, which is a major component of coffee — particularly green coffee, since chlorogenic acid levels decrease during the roasting process. Some recent clinical research studies have mentioned a decrease in the risk of a variety of diseases following chlorogenic acid consumption. “It’s a compound with potential antioxidant properties,” explains Pallian. “Research has suggested it may have health benefits such as weight loss and improved glycemic control.” However, drawing any firm conclusions about the health benefits of green coffee requires more research.
Fresh Roasted Coffee Unroasted Organic Sampler
Green coffee is something that should be approached with a certain attitude of exploration. That’s why this four-pack of beans from each of the four major coffee-growing regions is a good place to start. Having a pound each of four different beans means it’s possible to experiment with roasting the same beans at different times — and at different temperatures — in addition to comparing the taste of beans from different parts of the world.
BEST FOR BREWING RAW
Health Embassy Ground Green Coffee
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Those who want a more traditional way to consume unroasted coffee should opt for this ground option from Health Embassy. Many green coffees come with a warning not to consume them raw, but Health Embassy provides specific instructions for how much coffee and water to use and how long to steep it.
BEST FOR HOME ROASTING
Lily’s Coffee Unroasted Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Beans
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Those familiar with the roasting process should invest in high-quality, single-origin beans like these from Abaya Woreda in the celebrated Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia. Once roasted and brewed, expect floral notes, as well as notes of raspberry and peach, out of a cup of this coffee.
BEST POWDERED SUPPLEMENT
Micro Ingredients Pure Green Coffee Extract
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Morning smoothies are a great way to consume fruits and veggies efficiently, but they’re even better as vehicles for supplements to start the day. This powdered green coffee extract has natural caffeine and lots of chlorogenic acid — the ingredient that sets green coffee apart. As an alternative to smoothies, the brand suggests adding it to seltzer with grapefruit syrup.
Nature’s Craft Pure Green Coffee Bean Extract
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The easiest way to try green coffee for its potential health benefits, if not for the taste, is with these vegetable capsules, each of which contains 800 milligrams of green coffee bean extract. A pill a day contains more than enough caffeine and chlorogenic acid.
Frequently Asked Questions About Green Coffee
What is green coffee?
Green coffee is unroasted coffee, which is why it’s sometimes called raw coffee.
What are the health benefits of green coffee?
The short answer is that we aren’t exactly sure, but ingredients in green coffee — particularly chlorogenic acid, which is present in much higher quantities in unroasted coffee — have been shown to have certain positive effects. “The biological activity mechanism of chlorogenic acid has been studied and provides evidence for its neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties,” adds dietician and barista Jennifer Paillan.
Does green coffee taste good?
This is a matter of personal preference, of course, but according to our experts, it has a unique vegetal and grassy taste.
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