Instant Coffee vs Instant Espresso: What You Need To Know

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When I was at a hotel in Italy, I came across the best instant coffee I have ever had.

I hoarded the packets each day so I could stock up for when I was back home in the states.

Since then, I have never minded opting for instant coffee if I didn’t have access to my coffee machine.

As a coffee lover, I was surprised to find out that up until recently, I had never heard of instant espresso.

To me, it sounds like a term that would be a bit controversial among coffee lovers.

Today we will be covering the major differences between instant coffee and instant espresso as well as how they are made, what they can be used for and some expert recommendations. 

Welcome to today’s lesson on the differences and similarities between instant coffee and instant espresso.

If you’re looking for a particular section, just click on it below to jump there 🙂

Table of Contents:

Quick Take: The Major Differences Between Instant Espresso and Instant Coffee

How Instant & Powdered Coffees Are Made

Drawbacks & Benefits of Each Method

The Versatility of Instant Espresso

Benefits Of Instant Or Powdered coffees

Brewing Instructions & Tips

Recommended Espresso Powders On The Market

Recommended Instant Coffees On The Market

Conclusion: Key Takeaways For Instant Coffee & Instant Espresso

Quick Take: The Major Differences Between Instant Espresso and Instant Coffee

Like fresh coffee and shots of espresso, instant coffee and instant espresso have many differences.

If you’re in a bit of a rush, here is brief rundown of some key differences and similarities between the two.

Flavor Profile

No surprise here! The flavor profile of instant espresso tends to be a lot more complex than that of instant coffee.

Instant espresso will have a bolder and more intense flavor, with more chocolate and fruit notes than instant coffee.

This is primarily due to the type of beans used and how much the beans are roasted before brewing.

Instant coffee, while still having a strong coffee flavor, might leave a few sour notes or bitter flavor in your mouth after drinking.

Bean Type

The majority of instant coffee uses Robusta coffee beans.

These are the go-to as the trees produce more coffee fruit but tend to be considered lower quality as they lack the flavor profile and sugar content that you’ll find in Arabica beans.

Instant espresso on the other hand uses Arabica beans primarily.

These are the beans of choice as they provide a more complex flavor profile than Robusta beans, helping mimic the flavor profile of an actual espresso shot.

Roast Levels

While beans used for instant coffee are typically roasted more to a medium roast (410-460F), beans used for instant espresso tend to be roasted very dark (460-480F) to unlock that intensely concentrated flavor espresso beans normally produce.

Grind Level

While you will find instant coffee as a powder and in the form of coffee crystals, you will pretty much only find instant espresso in a very fine powder form.

Uses and Versatility

While you may assume that instant espresso is used for making lattes and more at home, it is primarily used in cooking!

Similar to adding salt to caramel, the addition of espresso powder in baking and different spice rubs elevates the flavor of whatever you’re cooking, without making the dish taste like coffee.

This being said, you can absolutely use instant espresso for your favorite coffee drink, just make sure you’re using a brand that isn’t just for baking.

We suggest two of the best espresso powders for drinking at the end of this article!

Instant coffee on the other hand is used more often to create a quick cup of coffee.

Caffeine Content

Because caffeine content can vary so much based on the brand producing the coffee, it is hard to definitively say which will have more caffeine.

However, because instant espresso is created using a much more concentrated form of coffee, you can expect it to have a bit more caffeine than a cup of instant coffee.

As a general base range, instant espresso is thought to contain about 60-100mg of caffeine per serving while instant coffee contains around 63 mg of caffeine on average.

Overall, these two contain an amount of caffeine comparable to your regular cup of coffee which sits at around 80-110 mg of caffeine.

Shelf Life

Both instant coffee and instant espresso have a much longer shelf life than fresh coffee, lasting 1-2 years after the best-by date or even longer when kept in optimal conditions!

How Instant & Powdered Coffees Are Made

The process of turning a green coffee bean into a powder that you can mix water into and all of a sudden have a semi-decent cup of coffee, is not a small one!

There are two main ways that you can make instant coffee or instant espresso.

One of the most popular instant coffee suppliers, Nescafe, uses both of these methods depending on which type of instant coffee they are producing.

Nescafe Original uses a spray-drying method while Nescafe Gold uses a freeze-drying method.

The first two steps of this production process are very similar, while the third step is where the processes split apart.

Step 1: Delivery and Roasting

After the green coffee beans are delivered, they are cleaned and taken to be roasted.

While Eleven Coffees states that Nescafe roasts their coffee to around a medium roast, the beans that are used for espresso powder are typically roasted to a darker level to enhance the flavor profile of the resulting coffee.

Step 2: Batch Extracting & Concentrating

The roasted beans are sent to the grinder, where the ground coffee beans are then transferred into a large container to undergo extraction a.k.a the brewing process.

Unlike a normal brewing process, this process yields a very highly concentrated coffee liquid.

In some smaller roasteries like Black & White coffee in North Carolina, their coffee concentrate is created by using an espresso machine instead of a batch style of extraction.

This creates some of the most concentrated coffee possible.

Roast Kat created an in depth video documenting their instant coffee making process that you can watch here

Step 3: Drying & Processing

This step is where the two methods split apart:

After you obtain your concentrated coffee liquid, you can take two different routes.

Route #1: Spray Drying Method

For the spray drying method, this coffee concentrate is moved to a very hot and dry chamber, where it is sprayed directly into the air.

Because of the area’s toasty environment, all of the liquid in the coffee concentrate evaporates off, leaving you with fine coffee powder that falls to the collection area on the ground.

This is the dehydrated ground coffee that is packed up for you to enjoy.

Route #2: Freeze Drying Method

For the freeze-drying method, the concentrated coffee is heated further to evaporate off more of the liquid, turning it into an intense coffee extract.

Once this thicker, more concentrated extract is created, it is moved along a conveyor belt into a -50C room where it is freeze dried into thin sheets.

After the sheets are frozen solid (which is quite quickly in some cases), it is then passed through a machine that breaks up the sheets into granules.

These granules are then passed into a vacuum chamber for the air to be removed and then into a heated drying chamber where any remaining ice from the previous processes is melted off and removed.

What is left is the dry fine powder or crystals that will be packaged up along the line.

Step 4: Packaging

Naturally after the instant coffee or espresso is made, it will be sent along the assembly line to be packaged.

Drawbacks & Benefits of Each Method

Spray Drying:

While this method may be good for producing large quantities of instant coffee, this method causes the coffee to lose a lot of the aromas and flavor when the liquid is sprayed into the air to dry.

Freeze Drying:

This method is most commonly used in the industry as both the flavor and aroma of the coffee are kept relatively well in the process.

However, the process of freeze drying tends to be more expensive than that of spray drying.

The Versatility of Instant Espresso

To start, instant espresso is known by many different names, including:

  • Espresso powder
  • Espresso baking powder
  • Instant espresso powder

While one (a.k.a me 🙂 ) might assume the primary use of instant espresso is to make a good cup of coffee in the morning, it is more commonly found in the kitchen for cooking and baking.

The purpose of using espresso powder in the kitchen isn’t to create a coffee-flavored dish but to enhance and elevate the flavors already present, similar to adding sea salt to caramel.

This ingredient can intensify the chocolate flavor in brownies and add depth to savory dishes like barbecue and chili.

Author Laura Manzano also points out that you can use some of these powders to create just enough liquid coffee for a recipe, avoiding the need to brew a full pot and wasting the rest.

Tasty Foods published a fantastic article detailing various ways to use espresso powder in foods, including some surprising applications like salad dressing.

I highly recommend checking it out here!

Benefits of Instant or Powdered Coffees

Whether you’re on the go or just away from a coffee maker, there are several benefits to using instant or powdered coffees.

Extended Shelf Life

When using fresh coffee, you need to keep an eye on how old the beans or grounds are.

Exposure to oxygen over an extended period of time can cause the beans to lose their flavor and create a less than idea tasting cup of coffee.

With instant coffee or espresso, you have a shelf-life potential of YEARS. This can be the perfect option for someone who just has a cup of coffee every once in a while

Ease of Use

Another major appeal of these two powdered coffees is the ease of use.

All you need to do is add liquid to use these dried coffees, making them great for travel and camping trips.

Versatility

This benefit applies mainly to powdered and instant espresso.

Not only does it have a super long shelf life, but you can choose to make a morning coffee with it or throw it into your favorite food to make it even better.

Who doesn’t like a good 2 for 1 deal??

Brewing Instructions & Tips

As someone who has added way too much instant coffee into my drink before, I highly recommend following the instructions on the package before brewing.

In the case of instant espresso, this may be 1tsp per 2oz of water to create an instant shot of espresso, or for instant coffee, 1-2tsp per 8oz or coffee cup of water.

Procaffinator Fun Fact: You don’t need to use hot water to dissolve instant coffee granules- you just need to use a liquid (!!!!)

I am a bit ashamed that I didn’t know this, but you don’t need to use a hot liquid to dissolve your instant coffee.

This makes it even easier to make your favorite iced coffee drinks from instant coffee if you choose.

In fact, it is recommended to use cold water to dissolve the substance as it contains an ingredient called amylum.

Amylum is a substance that “hardens when it makes contact with hot water, making it harder to stir and dissolve”.

So, if you’ve ever struggled with dissolving your instant coffee without it clumping, this might be why!

Once you have fully mixed in your instant coffee of choice, feel free to add whatever else you would like to make your favorite drink!

As far as adding espresso powder to your baked goods or other foods, make sure to follow the recipe for best results.

Recommended Espresso Powders On The Market

If you’re looking to give instant espresso a try, either to drink or to cook with, here are some of the top recommended brands by Americas Test KitchenSpruce Eats, and more.

King Arthur Espresso Powder

This certified kosher espresso powder is one of the best on the market with over 9,000 5-star reviews on Amazon.

A bonus to this company is that there are a number of great recipes you can try out on their website.

You can buy it here on Amazon for $10 or from their website here.

Note: This espresso powder is used for baking only, not drinking.

Illy Clasico

Voted best overall espresso powder by CoffeeAffection, this espresso powder is one you use for drinking not baking.

You’ll get some of those great chocolate flavors from the Arabica beans used, making it a great option for someone who is on the go frequently.

Grab it here from Amazon for $11

Civilized Coffee Co. Espresso Powder

Voted by Americas Test Kitchen as the best choice for espresso powder overall.

While you may not want to try and make a latte with this one, the company recommends adding it to morning smoothies for a bit of a caffeine kick!

you can grab this one here on amazon for $8.50 or off their website, which also offers free US shipping!

Nescafe Gold Espresso

This instant espresso may not be winning any awards, but it was added to this list as it was the one of the only instant espressos I found in my local supermarket.

At a cost of $8 for a 3.5oz, this espresso powder makes it on the list for being an accessible, affordable and convenient option.

Best Instant Coffee On The Market

There are a lot of instant coffees out there but both Spruce Eats and Serious Eats have put together fantastic lists of their favorite instant coffees.

Below are a few of the most recommended, but feel free to check out both lists in the links above 🙂

Intelligentsia Instant Coffee House Blend

Voted best overall by Spruce Eats, this instant coffee is known its bold brown sugar flavors.

Unlike some instant coffees, it also comes in packets. A box of 5 single use packets will set you back around $12

You can grab it from their website here!

Mount Hagen – Organic & Fairtrade Instant Coffee

I was able to find this one in my local grocery store which is always exciting.

It is highly rated among Spruce Eats but will put you back around $15 which is getting a biiit pricey for my taste.

However, the high ratings absolutely hold up as I think this has become one of my favorite instant coffees to date.

Grab two jars of it from Amazon for $24 here!

Swift Decaf Colombian Instant Coffee

Good decaf coffee in general can be hard to find, so finding a good decaf instant coffee isn’t a walk in the park either.

Serious Eats notes fruity flavors in this one like cherry and grape. In this box you will get a pack of 6 sachets for $12.

Check out this product and more on Swift’s website here!

Trung Nguyen G7 Instant Coffee w/ Cream & Sugar

This last one is a bit different, having both cream and sugar added into the instant coffee mix.

Trung Nguyen produces some of the best Vietnamese coffee out there, so it is no surpise that this was voted as one of Wired’s favorite instant coffees.

This coffee sells for around $8.50 for 20 single serve packets on Amazon. Get it here!

Conclusion: Key Takeaways for Instant Coffee & Instant Espresso

Overall, instant coffee and instant espresso share a number of similarities and differences.

While both can be made either through spray drying or freeze-drying process, instant espresso is made from darker roasted Arabica coffee beans to capture the complex flavor profile of a fresh espresso shot.

These beans may give the instant espresso some fruitier and chocolate flavor notes as opposed to Robusta beans.

Additionally, the instant espresso concentrate that comes from the brewing process may undergo further heating to create an even more concentrated flavor. 

This is to ensure that the instant espresso delivers that rich and bold espresso flavor when combined with hot water.

On the other hand, Robusta beans are primarily used for instant coffee as they are lower quality but also grown more frequently than Arabica beans.

This produces a strong coffee flavor but also has more notes of bitterness or sourness to the cup of coffee. These beans are typically roasted to a medium level before the coffee concentrate is created.

You will find people enjoying instant coffee in the morning while instant espresso or espresso powder is commonly used in baking and cooking to enhance other ingredients flavor profiles.

Most commonly, it is used in combination with chocolate desserts to create a next level fudgy or chocolate taste.

If you haven’t tried instant espresso yet, I absolutely recommend some of the options we listed above! It’s an easy way to switch up from your on-the-go instant coffee if you need something new.


What Is Blooming Your Coffee? (and should you do it?)

Welcome To The World Of Coffee Blooming!

If you’ve never heard of Coffee Blooming before, welcome to the club! 🙂

While I thoroughly enjoy a cup of coffee, I wouldn’t consider myself a coffee enthusiast who try new techniques every week to try and find the best way to make my morning cup of coffee.

While I fully applaud those people, I just don’t have the equipment or time in the mornings to do so!

While I’ve developed a preference for what I like to drink, I’ll also pretty much drink anything with caffeine in it (desperate times call for desperate measures amirite)

I initially learned about coffee blooming a few months back, and while I have been practicing the process as part of my morning coffee routine, it’s always good to know why you’re doing something.

So if you’re new to the coffee blooming world like me, stay tuned to learn what the blooming process is, why its done, and a few other related items along the way!

Quick Take: What Is Coffee Blooming and What Is a Coffee Bloom?

Coffee Blooming:  Coffee blooming is a process in which you take a small amount of hot water and pour it over the coffee grounds that you are planning on using for your coffee.

The initial introduction of water to the grounds before brewing helps gas release from the grounds.

This gas would otherwise cause an uneven extraction of the coffee. The amount of gas released can depend on several things including roast level and the age of the beans.

The blooming process is thought to bring a richer and fuller flavor to the cup of coffee due to creating a more even extraction process by degassing the grounds before brewing.

While this method is most commonly done for pour-over coffee, you can bloom your coffee grounds for any method, including espresso!

Coffee Bloom: When the term coffee bloom is used, it refers to the state of the coffee grounds post-blooming. Typically, they are a bit fluffy or puffed up looking, as a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2) has just escaped the grounds.

The Science Behind Coffee Blooming: The Interaction of Gasses & Water 

To understand how coffee blooming works more in-depth, there are a few basic things you should know about the coffee roasting process.

Quick Coffee Roasting Basics

1. Roasted coffee beans get their color, aroma, and taste from a reaction that occurs during the roasting process called the Mailliard reaction.

2. This reaction, which occurs during roasting for all beans happens between the carbohydrates and sugars in the green beans and produces CO2 and other gases as a byproduct. 

3. Some of these trapped gases escape during the roasting process (hence the cracks on coffee beans), but CO2 especially, stays in the coffee beans and will slowly release from the beans as they age in a process called degassing.

4. The presence of CO2 in ground coffee prevents hot water from fully infiltrating the coffee groundspotentially leading to under-extracted and more acidic-tasting coffee.

Many people prefer to not have an under-extracted cup of coffee, and this is where blooming your coffee grounds before comes in!

As I just mentioned, the issue with having CO2 gas remain in your coffee grounds (this is unavoidable btw) is that the water cannot fully get into the coffee grounds to extract the maximum amount of flavor. The gas basically blocks the water’s path into the coffee ground.

To deal with this, you pour a small amount of hot water onto the grounds before brewing. The grounds should be fully soaked and covered in water, but not drowned!

When you do this, you allow the remaining CO2 in the grounds to escape, as the water pushes it out of the way, creating space for the water to move into the coffee grounds for a beautifully extracted cup of coffee.

When this gas escapes, you might be able to see the grounds bloom visibly. The grounds may look puffier, or even fluffy after the bloom is done. After this point, you can continue to add the rest of the water to your pour-over as normal and wait until your cup of coffee is complete.

Here is a before and after shot of when I bloomed my coffee today.

Coffee grounds BEFORE blooming

Coffee grounds AFTER blooming

While these photos may not be able to fully capture the texture changes of the coffee grounds, if you look along the edges of the grounds in the after photo, you may be able to spot where some of the gas bubbles have popped.

Here are a few extra things to keep in mind when it comes to the relationship between CO2 and coffee beans

1Right after roasting, CO2 levels in the beans are the highest. 

Although it may seem like a good idea to brew with super fresh beans, it’s better to give the beans about a week after the roast date so they can degas properly before you use them.

If you buy your coffee beans in pre-packaged bags, you might notice a one-way valve on the front of the bag.

This allows the gasses being released to escape the bag without exposing the beans to more oxygen and air.

2. Carbon dioxide gas leaves ground beans quicker than whole beans.

You may have heard before that you want to grind your coffee right before you want to brew it.

This is due to the surface area being drastically increased when the coffee is ground, giving the CO2 way more chances to escape and leave your coffee stale if it sits for too long.

3. You can use the CO2 levels as a way of telling if your coffee is stale or getting a bit old.

Now, I’m not recommending you go buy sensors to measure your coffee bean’s CO2 levels.

However, if you decide to give coffee blooming a try and notice that no bubbles are coming out of your coffee grounds at all, your coffee may be getting a bit old.

4. The amount of CO2 that the bean contains can change based on the type of roast!

Since CO2 and the roasting process go hand in hand, it’s no surprise that there are different levels of gas in a light, medium, and dark roast.

As dark roasts are roasted for a longer time, there is more time for the gas to escape, leading to a less gassy roast.

How to Bloom Your Coffee Grounds Properly

I covered this a bit in the last section (oops) but we will cover it a bit more in-depth here!

The cut-and-dry, love it and leave it, way to bloom your coffee grounds is as follows:

Step 1: Set up your pour-over as you normally would i.e. filter set up, coffee grounds in, and ready to rumble

Step 2: Take the hot water you intend to brew with and pour a small amount in a circular motion over the coffee grounds until they are adequately saturated. Feel free to give it a swirl as well to make sure the water has gotten to every ground.

Note: You should be using the same water to bloom as you will brew with. A hot water temperature is crucial for blooming. 

While I eyeball the amount of water I use, it is recommended that you use twice the weight in water as the weight in coffee grounds (a solid 2:1 ratio)

Timewise you should wait around 30 seconds (or more if you please) to let the bloom fully occur.

Ideally, you should see some (or a lot) of bubbles come up to the surface here. These are the gasses escaping! You may also see the grounds puff or foam up.

Congratulations, you just bloomed your coffee grounds!! 🙂

If you don’t see any bubbles during this period, don’t fret! The beans may have already fully degassed before you used them or the coffee you are using is a bit on the older side.

Step 3: Begin your brewing process as you normally would. Hopefully, the bloom you just created has released the majority of the gasses in the grounds and now your coffee will properly extract!

While this method is most commonly used for pour-over coffee, it definitely can be used for other methods as well. I was shocked to find out you can bloom espresso but indeed you can! The steps will just be a bit different.

Blooming for French Press

If you’re a fan of the French press and want to give this a try, it’s pretty simple as well! Once your grounds are in the brew chamber, add enough hot water to fully saturate the grounds.

Give the mixture a good stir and then leave it to sit for around 20-30 seconds. This creates your bloom and then you can proceed as normal!

Blooming for Espresso 

Surprisingly, you actually can bloom the coffee grounds you’re using for espresso as well. This is formally known as “pre-infusion”.

While some machines may have the option to do it for you, if you want to try it manually it is a bit more tedious than the other methods.

You want to measure out around 10mL of hot water beforehand.

Once your grounds have been placed and tamped into the portafilter (see image below), you want to slowly and evenly pour the water onto the grounds, making sure every part of the puck is covered.

After this is done, attach the portafilter to the espresso head you want to use. After about 7 seconds, start pulling your espresso shot like normal!

Blooming for Drip Coffee/Classic Coffee Makers

If you’re rolling with your Mr. Coffee, no worries!

To bloom your grounds in preparation for drip coffee, simply add enough hot water to the basket where your grounds are, so the coffee is again, fully saturated, and let it sit for just over a minute or 60-90 seconds.

Does Grind Size Matter When Blooming Coffee?

Different brewing methods require you to grind your coffee to different sizes.

A good example of this is espresso vs French press.

Espresso beans need to be ground very finely to allow the espresso shot to pull correctly. On the other hand, if you were to use a finer grind for the French press, you would end up with loads of grounds in your cup of coffee.

While I don’t believe the grind size matters when it comes to the blooming process, you will experience different flavor profiles with different grind sizes.

The finer the coffee is ground, you’re likely to have a coffee that is stronger and more intense due to the water interacting with more surface area.

If you’re using a coarse grind like for French Press, the extraction process will take a bit longer and you’ll end up with a less intense but still balanced cup of coffee.

Does Blooming Your Coffee Actually Make a Difference?

Does blooming your coffee grounds before brewing actually change the way the coffee tastes? While the answer technically is yes, I truly think it depends on who you talk to.

In theory, when you allow time for the CO2 and other gasses to escape during the bloom, you’re setting up your grounds to be more evenly extracted, instead of under-extracted.

While under-extracted coffee may be more acidic, sour, and lack a “full mouth feeling”, a perfectly extracted cup of coffee should balance bitterness and acidity while having a full but not heavy body.

With that being saidI think this is one of those cases where if you are a proper coffee connoisseur, yes, you will probably be able to notice the difference in the flavor and texture of your coffee when it is brewed with or without a bloom.

If you don’t focus deeply on the flavor profiles of the coffee you drink typically, I’m not sure if you will notice a massive difference.

With that in mind, there is still no harm in blooming your coffee. I would not consider myself to be a coffee extraordinaire, but I still bloom my morning coffee out of habit.  Plus, it makes me feel kind of fancy, which is never bad.

Conclusion: What is Coffee Blooming?

You don’t have to be a coffee expert to step up you’re at-home coffee-making game!

Coffee blooming is a process that many people do before brewing their favorite cup of coffee. The purpose of blooming is to release all of the carbon dioxide and other gasses that exist in the coffee grounds so that hot water can adequately extract the coffee’s flavor during brewing.

During the roasting process, carbon dioxide and other gasses are created through an important reaction called the Mailliard reaction. This reaction is crucial in coffee roasting as it creates the beautiful coffee taste, color, and aroma that we all love.

The production of gasses are a result of the Mailliard reaction and thus are very important when it comes to roasting coffee. These gasses may leave the beans over time through a process called degassing, but typically some remain.

If there are too many gasses left in the grounds before brewing, the water isn’t able to fully infiltrate the grounds, leading to an under-extracted cup of coffee.

Under-extracted coffee tends to taste a bit thinner than your normal cup, and you may have a sour taste in your mouth after drinking.

The good thing about blooming coffee grounds? It’s extremely easy, straightforward to do, and can be done with practically any brewing method.

For using any type of pour-over method, all you need to do is prepare the pour-over coffee like you normally would.

It is best to use fresh coffee grounds rather than pre-ground but no worries if that is all you have!

Once your grounds are in place, you can eyeball the amount of water you want to add (this is what I do) or you can use twice as much water (in grams) as you used coffee. Regardless, the grounds should be fully saturated and submerged, but there should not be enough water where the brewing process will start.

Once you have saturated all of the grounds, feel free to give it a swirl, and then let the grounds sit for around a half minute or so.

If the grounds start blooming, you’ll most likely see some bubbles rise to the surface and the grounds might even look fluffy! After this point feel free to add the remaining water you’ve heated up and continue to brew your coffee like normal.

As I mentioned before, blooming your grounds is a simple way to try and elevate your at-home coffee making.

While I do believe mostly avid coffee drinkers who focus on the taste of the coffee will notice a major difference between a bloomed and non-bloomed cup of coffee, it can never hurt to try and create that more extracted cup of jo!

So there you have it. Blooming can be something you try out the next time you’re craving a cup of coffee. Take some time to enjoy it and see if you can notice the difference!

If you’re a fan of Blooming or have given it a go before and noticed a difference, drop a comment below, I’d love to hear about your experience!


Affogato vs Espresso: Traditional, Starbucks, and More

Millions of coffee lovers everyday enjoy the bitter, complex flavor of espresso. The simple drink is a perfect way to get a caffeine boost while on the go.

The majority of coffee drinks we love use espresso as the base. Lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites and more are all popular espresso drink options.

While these are all popular drink choices of coffee connoisseurs, there is one post-meal drink that combines both the delicious flavors of espresso and the sweetness of a Italian dessert, gelato.

Today were covering the history and more of the iconic Italian dessert, the affogato as well as some espresso basics.

You’ll find out about the traditional take on this drink as well as the popular Starbucks rendition, some alternative options and more.

Affogato vs Espresso: Traditional, Starbucks, and More

Espresso: A Coffee Essential

A shot of espresso is the standard on the go drink for many people, especially in Italy where (surprise!) the drink originated.

While the style of the espresso machine has changed since 1884, the time of its invention, the drink has stayed a staple throughout time.

This shot of intense flavor is created by pushing hot water at a high pressure through tightly packed, finely-ground coffee.

When done correctly, the result is a highly concentrated shot of coffee that has consist of three distinct parts: crema, body, and heart.

Crema

This is probably one of parts espresso is best known for.

It is the creamy golden layer that sits directly on top of a perfectly pulled shot of hot espresso. The crema helps create a more visually appealing drink and is delicious.

Body

The Body of an espresso shot is a bit more complex then the crema or heart. This portion actually consists of three different components: Soluble solids, soluble gasses and insoluble solids.

Without going into too much detail, these are all different things that result when water is pushed through the ground coffee.

The soluble solids give you the taste of the actual espresso, the soluble gases the lovely coffee smell, and the insoluble solids are things such as the oil that comes from the beans that helps along the smell, taste, and mouthfeel of the shot.

Heart

This portion of the espresso shot is found at the very bottom of the glass.

The heart is much thicker than the rest of the liquid as it was the first water pushed through the espresso and thus sits at the bottom of the glass.

This part is also responsible for most of the acidity you taste in a shot of espresso.

Affogato al caffè: A Classic Italian dessert

Now is time to dive into the main star of today’s post, the affogato. This is both a dessert but also a style of espresso shot, referred to as affogato style.

This balanced Italian dessert is thought to have originated in Italy, but when and where is a point of confusion.

There are a few theories floating around currently, the first being that this delicious dessert originated back in the 1600’s thanks to a Franciscan friar named Angelico who decided to mix a bit of espresso with a bit of vanilla ice cream.

Another suggests that affogato originated in Naples, Italy, but was created or at least strongly influenced by the French.

It has also been suggested that while it was around before the mid 1900’s, it was in the 1950’s when the dessert really started to get popular. This is thought to have been due to ice cream also becoming increasingly popular after WW2.

While we may not know where or when this dessert truly came to be, we do know that it is absolutely incredible when made well.

Creating a traditional Italian affogato

One of the beautiful things about an affogato is that it’s simple.

However, because there are only two ingredients, you need to make sure they are high quality and created well if you want that authentic taste. (if you’re making this in your kitchen as a midnight snack it might not matter as much)

As we discussed already, the two main components of an affogato are the espresso shot and the vanilla gelato.

The Espresso

You really want to try and pull a shot of espresso that has a good crema and captures that complex, intense flavor that espresso is known for.

One of the best parts of an affogato is the balance of the espresso flavor with the creaminess of the gelato. Additionally, it is recommended to stick to a single shot of espresso (30-40 mL) per one scoop of gelato.

Although affogato is the Italian word meaning “drowned”, you don’t want to completely drown your gelato so much in espresso that you throw off the flavor ratio.

The Gelato

When in doubt, go to the source! Recipes From Italy states that if you want to keep it traditional, the best gelato to use is either “gelato alla crema” or “Fior di latte gelato”.

Fior di Latte gelato specifically is considered a very pure gelato as it doesn’t contain eggs or anything else beyond milk, sugar, and heavy cream (yum!).

Pro Tip: It is highly recommended to make sure your gelato is quite frozen before using it! This way, your scoop of vanilla gelato wont won’t completely melt when you add the fresh espresso.

Alternative Options: Straying away from Traditional Affogato

Like any dish, there is a traditional and non-traditional way to make it. Maybe you don’t have an espresso machine or are not a fan of vanilla gelato. Whatever reason you have, there’s no shame in creating your own version of an affogato.

Alternatives to using espresso

According to Spruce Eatsthere are definitely some good alternatives for espresso when it comes to making an affogato. What makes an affogato great, is the balance between the bold and strong espresso flavors and the smooth creaminess of the gelato.

Using a French press, moka pot, or pour over are all great ways to recreate this strong coffee flavor without an espresso machine.

Additionally, using a darker roast of coffee beans will help accomplish this flavor as they tend to make coffee that is bolder, stronger and less acidic in taste.

Alternatives to Vanilla Gelato

Depending on where you’re searching for an affogato, you’ll find more often than not, that it is being served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream instead of gelato.

Adding a scoop of ice cream is definitely common and still gives you that creamy/bitter combination that you might want with an affogato.

If you’re straying away from the vanilla flavor all together, there are a few flavors that work better than others when adding espresso.

Some of the popular options are either dark or milk chocolate and hazelnut. While some people recommend against using coffee ice cream, if you want a extra kick of coffee flavor, feel free to give this a go!

Adding a Boozy Finish

As affogato is often offered as a dessert, adding a bit of booze is not uncommon. Similar to the alternative gelato or ice cream flavors, adding hazelnut liqueurs like Frangelico, a shot of amaretto, or a bit of rum are all great options to enhance the flavors.

Lowering the Caffeine Content: Decaf Options

Like any other coffee drink, you can always make a shot of decaf espresso to go with your affogato. Caffeine affects everyone differently and just because you might not want as much caffeine as an espresso shot gives you, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this delicious dessert!

The only difference you may notice with a decaf shot of espresso is a milder flavor profile. This is due to the decaffeination process and how the shot itself pulls.

A shot of espresso contains around 80 mg of caffeine.

Where to Find an Affogato

As this is a traditionally Italian dessert and coffee drink, you should be able to find it easily in many Italian restaurants. Fine dining or higher end restaurants who sell espresso also typically offer affogato as an after-dinner drink option.

In my experience in the United States, I don’t find many coffee shops offer ice cream options so I wouldn’t assume that your favorite stop would offer an affogato-style shot, but it never hurts to check! If you travel to Italy or Europe this likely will not be the same case!

Starbucks' Take on the Affagato: The Frappuccino

The coffee conglomerate has been known to take traditional coffee drinks and spin them into some of the most iconic drinks on the market.

If you’ve ever worked in a coffee shop before, you are probably familiar with having to ask people if they would like a traditional macchiato or a “Starbucks” version when they order.

This case is no different. As we all know, Starbucks isn’t exactly serving up traditional affogatos in the drive through, but they do sell hundreds and hundreds of Frappuccinos a day.

A Frappuccino is a flavored frozen blended drink that was invented by Starbucks market director Andrew Frank in 1992. It was launched in stores a few years later in 1994.]

To date, Starbucks offers over 30 different flavors of the Frappuccino and in 2011 the popular blended drink accounted for 20% of the total sales.

While the Frappuccino may not actually contain ice cream, the balance of sweet and bold flavors are still very present, though most likely on the sweeter side of things.

In a classic Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino you’ll find similar ingredients to what makes up ice cream: Ice, milk and whipped cream.

Espresso is also added similar to an affogato along with coffee Frappuccino syrup to give it an extra punch. Any other flavorings like caramel sauce or vanilla bean powder are also added in as needed.

Obviously if you have a taste for a classic affogato, a Frappuccino is probably not at all what you’re looking for. But it has undeniably changed the blended drinks market since its late 90’s launch.

Summary: Affogato vs. Espresso

Although the title of this article is “Affogato VS. Espresso” that really isn’t the case.

While they are two separate drinks to be enjoyed, one is more of a dessert that cannot traditionally exist without the other.

While espresso is, and always will be, the essential in so many coffee drinks, it can be enjoyed on its own and in many other ways.

A good shot of espresso will have three crucial parts: a good smooth crema, great body, and good heart found at the bottom of the shot, providing acidity and mouthfeel.

Affogato on the other hand, is a style of the espresso shot, poured over gelato or ice cream.

Ideally, around 30-40 mL or one shot of espresso will be used for every one cup of gelato or ice cream used.

Although the word affogato in Italian translates to “drown”, you don’t want to have too much espresso in your affogato.

One of the best things about an affogato is when the hot espresso joins the gelato, slightly melting it. This creates a beautiful combination of the different flavors, temperatures, and textures.

The popular dessert has been enjoyed for decades and has even been adapted by Starbucks and transformed into one of their most popular blended drinks, the Frappuccino.

Although inspired by the Italian dessert, the Frappuccino is only similar as the ingreidents used are similar to those in gelato or ice cream.

Starbucks has offered around 30 different flavors of frappuccinos since its birth in 1994.

If you ever come across an affogato while in a cafe in Italy or just a nice restaurant elsewhere, I highly recommend giving it a go.

While it may not be the best option for someone who loves sweeter drinks, it’s the perfect way to get an extra bit of caffeine after a meal.


Cortado vs. Latte: Which Is Best Drink For You?

Espresso. The intense coffee shot that is the basis for the majority of caffeinated drinks we enjoy. Whether you are adding it to a cup of brewed coffee to make a red-eye or grabbing a classic latte, there is a way for everyone to enjoy a shot of espresso.

With there being more than 20 espresso-based drinks on the market, it can definitely be helpful to know the difference between your options so you can order your drink knowing you’ll enjoy it.

Today we are diving into the differences between one of the most standard espresso drinks, a latte, and one of the potentially lesser-known but still delicious ones, a cortado.

We will briefly dive into the origin of the two drinks and the basic makeup of both. Along with that, we will talk about the key differences between the two and which drink may be the best fit for you!

Diving Into the Cortado & the Latte: The Basics, Differences and More

The Basics of Coffee: The Golden Ratio

When it comes to comparing espresso-based drinks, one of the most important things to keep in mind is “ratio” of the drink. While most espresso-based drinks have the same ingredients, espresso and steamed milk, they all contain different ratios of these ingredients, causing them to have different flavor profiles.

A good example of how this ratio works is a cappuccino, one of the more foam forward coffee drinks out there. Traditionally, a cappuccino will have equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and foam on top, creating a ratio of 1:1:1.

This ratio helps show how strong or weak tasting a drink may be. The smaller the ratio of espresso to milk, the stronger coffee flavor the drink will have.

This ratio sets the base line for how these drinks taste and how they are created and assembled.

Diving into a Spanish Drink:  The Cortado

Originating in Spain back in the early 1700’s, the cortado is a Spanish coffee drink likely created as a way to minimize the bitter or strong taste of an espresso shot.

According to Barista Magazine, the strong coffee drink was “named for the Spanish verb “cortar,” which means to cut” likely referring to the “watering down” of the espresso flavor with milk.

In the cafes I have worked at as a barista, the cortado has often been referred to as a smaller version of a latte. While this may not be the most technical way to describe the drink, it’s not exactly wrong.

What makes a cortado a cortado, and not just a strong latte, is the ratio of the ingredients. Unlike a latte, a traditional cortado consists of equal parts espresso and steamed milk.

You should expect this 1:1 ratio to total around 120ml or 4 ounces.

I have also read that some consider a cortado to be half of this size, consisting of only 30ml of espresso (one shot) and 30ml of steamed milk.

As you are steaming milk, a cortado will have some foam to it, but it should be much less then that of a latte (though you still can get some of that beautiful latte art on top if done well! )

The cortado is the perfect drink for someone who still wants to taste the espresso but doesn’t want to sip on a shot of it straight.

The Italian Original: The Caffè Latte

Tracing the origin of the latte or caffè latte, is a bit muddier than you may expect.

While there is an overall consensus that the popular drink started in Italy, as most of these delicious coffee drinks do, some believe it stemmed from the French drink “cafe au lait”, meaning coffee with milk, sometime in the 17th century. 

It is then thought that the name “cafe latte” was given to the drink later on in the 1900’s, in America, where it became the Starbucks phenomenon we know today.

Since the explosion in the late 1900’s, the Latte or caffè latte has been proven to be one of the most popular drinks you can order at a cafe, with 38% of Americans stating the Latte is their go to drink.

While you can add any flavoring you, please, as most people do, the latte consists of the “big three” coffee ingredients:

1. Espresso

2. Steamed Milk

3. Micro foam (created from the milk steaming process)

When done correctly, a latte will contain around an inch or so, of smooth foam on the top of the drink, depending on the size you order.

This amount of foam is a middle ground between the amount of micro foam found on top of a cappuccino (a lot of foam) and a flat white (pretty much no foam).

Another characteristic feature of a latte is that you can choose the size as you please.

This characteristic may seem obvious, but as with some espresso drinks, such as the traditional cortado or flat white, they tend only come in one size.

However with a latte, there is no limit on the number on the number of shots or flavors you can add.

Overall, the latte is considered a relatively weak coffee drink as much of the espresso flavor is washed away by the quanity of milk added.

According to  James Hoffman, a coffee expert, the average ratio of espresso to milk in a latte falls around 1:4 or 1:6.

This is a much larger ratio compared to the cortado’s 1:1 ratio that we talked about before.

Travel Tip: If you find yourself in Italy and craving a latte, be sure to order a “cafe latte”. If you just order a “latte” the chances, are you will receive a large glass of milk as latte is the Italian word for milk!

The Key Differences Between a Cortado and a Latte

Now that we’ve covered the basics of both the latte and the cortado, let’s talk about what actually makes them different.

Like I’ve said in the previous sections, the ratio of milk, espresso, and foam, is the main difference between a latte and a cortado.

A latte or caffè latte, is considered a milk heavy drink, with the espresso being diluted at a ratio between 1:4 and 1:6.  This is a major difference between the cortado’s 1:1 espresso to steamed milk ratio.

Beyond the ratio of ingredients, the next key difference is the flavor profiles of each drink.

Because of the ratio of ingredients used, the latte is a pretty weak coffee drink, meaning you won’t taste too much of that espresso because of all of the milk added.

A cortado on the other hand, you will have very strong espresso flavor that has been slightly diluted by the 30-60ml of milk added.

These flavor differences are even more noticeable when you start adding syrups or other flavors to lattes.

While adding your favorite syrup to your latte is delicious, it’s quite uncommon to add any syrups to a cortado.

If you are really looking to sweeten up your cortado, only honey or a bit of sugar is typically added.

Lastly, we will talk quickly about the type of glasses the drinks are served in.

Traditionally, a cortado is served in a Gibraltar glass (below), or a glass that has a wider top than bottom. Having this wider top of the glass is thought to give you the best ratio of espresso to milk when you’re enjoying the drink.

A perfect example of a Gibraltar glass

Lattes on the other hand are less commonly served in a specific glass, especially in the United States. I believe this is mainly because the size is not specified for the drink most of the time.

It is definitely worth noting that as an American, I think many coffee shops are more relaxed when it comes to serving a coffee in the correct glass compared to other countries.

A Close Relative: The Piccolo Latte

While were here, I will also talk very briefly about a drink that is a hybrid version of a cortado and a latte.

This is a small espresso drink, similar to the cortado, called the piccolo latte (piccolo meaning small in Italian).

This latte has very similar flavor profiles to the cortado as it is very espresso forward, but with a higher espresso to milk ratio, like the latte.

In a piccolo, a single ristretto shot is mixed with two or three times the amount of steamed milk.

If you haven’t heard of a ristretto shot before, don’t worry! A ristretto is simply a shot of espresso that has been “pulled” for shorter period of time.

When this happens, less water has gone through the espresso shot, creating a bolder espresso flavor.

This drink is concentrated espresso shot is combined with two or three parts milk (creating a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio) to produce the piccolo latte, a popular choice for inhabitants of Australia, where the drink originated.

A Cortado or A Latte? Which Is Right For You?

Thankfully, deciding which of these drinks is right for you is pretty straight forward as they’re very different. Here are some questions to ask yourself to see which you may prefer:

“Do I like the taste of espresso?”

If this answer is a no, definitely skip the cortado and go with a latte!

If you’re looking for a bit of sweetness or extra flavor in your drink, again, it might be better to go with a latte and add a shot of whatever flavor syrup suits your fancy.

Cortados are typically for those who love espresso the way it comes, just a bit less intense than usual.

One great similarity about these two popular coffee drinks is that if they typically contain the same caffeine content (depending on the size of latte you order).

A double shot of espresso will typically contain around 120-150 mg of caffeine. As long as you have two shots of espresso in your latte, the only difference is the higher quantity of milk.

Summary: This History and Differences of a Cortado & a Latte

Both the cortado and the latte have captivated a wide range of coffee lovers.

While the latte or caffè latte is a traditional Italian drink, it has been transformed over the years into an extremely customizable beverage, found in almost all coffee shops on the market.

While the size and amount of espresso shots used in the drink may vary based on personal preference, the ratio of espresso to milk sits at around 1:4 or 1:6, making the latte a weaker coffee drink.

The cortado on the other hand is almost the complete opposite. Born out of Spain in the 1700’s, a traditional cortado consists of a double shot of espresso and an equal amount of steamed milk.

While you can alter this and only have a single shot of espresso, the most important component is that the ratio of espresso to milk stays the same, 1:1.

If you enjoy the bitter and complex flavor of espresso, a cortado may be perfect for you as the small amount of milk beautifully dilutes the espresso flavor ever so slightly.

On the other hand, if you want the caffeine kick but not the intense flavor, a drink containing a much higher ratio of milk to espresso may be the way to go.

If you’re like me and are quite indecisive, you can have the best of both worlds by ordering a double shot small latte.

Ordering a smaller drink with 2-parts espresso will bring down that high espresso to milk ratio we normally see in a latte. However, you will still have enough milk in your drink to have the delicious milky coffee flavor profile of a latte.


Can You Drink Coffee With A Retainer In? (Invisalign & More)

Retainers exist for a number of different reasons, whether it’s keeping your teeth in place after braces or slowly creating your new smile with Invisalign.

Since they play such a large role in shaping and maintaining your new smile, it is very important to take proper care of them (and your teeth!) to make sure you get your money’s worth.  

With the average time your retainer should be worn after having braces clocking in at 22 hrs a day, it’s inevitable to want to enjoy a coffee or other beverage while wearing one.

While it is good practice to always remove your retainer before eating and drinking anything besides plain water, sometimes that’s just not an option! 

So, today we are delving into retainer basics, how to properly clean and maintain one so you can have good oral hygiene , and answering one of the most common questions….

Can you drink coffee with a retainer in? 

women at dentist appointment, retainer

Table Of Contents (Just click on the section you want to read!)

Diving into retainer basics

Potential impacts of coffee on your retainer

The staining potential of coffee

The impact of a hot coffee 

The impact of high acidity and sugar

Reducing the impact coffee has on your retainer

So, you drank coffee with your retainer in… now what?

Conclusion: Can you drink coffee with your retainer in?

 

Let’s Dive into Retainer Basics

Firstly, lets learn a bit more about retainer basics, such as what they’re made of and so on. 

There are three main types of retainers on the market right now:

#1 The Hawley Retainer

green Hawley permanent retainer

The Hawley Retainer is going to be your go-to classic removeable retainer.

Made out of acrylic and metal and perfectly molded to your fit your post braces teeth, this is one of the most common retainers out there.

One of the benefits of this retainer is you can choose what color you want it to be, or even put a pattern on it.

I even had mine customized with the logo of my high school!

#2: Clear Retainers / Clear Braces

Clear retainers have quickly become one of the most common removable retainers out there. these ones act both as a retainer but also can an alignment tool.

While you probably most likely know this type of retainer as part of the Invisalign treatment program but there are actually two types of retainers that fall into this this category. 

Both Essix retainers and Vivera (Invisalign) retainers are made out of clear, durable, thermoplastic that has been named “Smart Track”.

They are molded to the user’s teeth perfectly and when maintained well, are almost invisible.

The main difference between the two is the thickness of the retainer.

Essix retainers are actually 30% thinner than Vivera retainers, leading to them warping and distorting much easier than the Invisalign trays. 

#3 Permanent or fixed retainers

The last common type of retainer on the market is a permanent or fixed retainer.

These are made of metal and some type of bonding material that fits the metal wire to the teeth.

You’ll typically find these behind attached to the back of your bottom teeth or behind your top teeth. 

While you most likely still need to wear a removable retainer after having braces, having a permanent retainer substantially minimizes the amount of tooth movement over time.

The only major downside to these permanent retainers is that they can be very difficult to keep clean.

Food particles commonly get stuck in between the teeth under the wire and are difficult to properly get out.

Potential Impacts Coffee May Have on Retainers 

While you can drink water and other drinks while having your retainer in, drinking coffee, especially hot coffee, poses a few different risks for your retainer.

1. The Staining Potential of Coffee

One of the biggest concerns with drinking coffee while having a retainer in is the staining potential.

Similar to red wine, coffee has the ability to stain a variety of materials such as linens, plastics and even our teeth.

This staining property comes from the tannins found in coffee.

When these are present, the color compounds in coffee (aka the brown color) has the ability to stick to things, leading to stained teeth and potentially a stained retainer.

While we have some ways to get stains out of our teeth such as teeth whitening, it can be a bit more difficult to get the coffee stains out of plastic materials. 

Plastic materials tend to be much more porous and thus really absorb that lovely brown coffee color.

While it may not be a huge deal that your colored removable retainer picks up a bit of coffee stain, it may be a bit more noticeable for those using Invisalign retainers as they’re completely clear.

With the whole point being that the retainer is “invisible”, you don’t want to turn them yellow!

 

2. The Impact of a Hot Coffee

The second main concern when drinking coffee with a retainer in is how the heat from the coffee might affect the materials the retainer is made of.

Experts state an ideal cup of hot coffee will be served at a temperature between 180 and 185 F.

From my barista experience, we steamed milk to around 140 F, so we will say the average coffee temperature ranges from 140-180 F. 

When it comes to both Hawley retainers and clear (Essix & Vivera) aligners, the melting point for the plastics used sits around 300-320 degrees Fahrenheit.

Again, for average cup of coffee, you’ll be hitting around 140-180 degrees Fahrenheit, so around halfway to the plastics’ melting point.

Although the heat from your coffee will not melt the material, it can definitely weaken the plastic material leading to deformation, which would unfortunately defeat the point of your retainer! 

Also remember the Essix retainers are much thinner than the similar Invisalign aligners, so having hot drinks with this retainer may cause deformation quicker than the alternatives.

 

3. The Impact of High Acidity & Sugar

The last factor to take into consideration is the high acidity and potentially high sugar content of your morning coffee.

While we talked about how tannins can cause staining on your teeth and retainer, we haven’t talked about how the sugar/acid combination can affect your retainer and oral health.

Coffee is considered a pretty acidic drink, sitting at about a 4.85-5.1 on the pH scale.

This isn’t surprising as coffee beans actually contain nine different acids.

Chlorogenic acid is the most prevalent followed by quinic, citric, acetic, lactic, malic, phosphoric, linoleic, and palmitic acids.

These acids tend to come out more in the flavor profiles of lighter roast coffees as the beans aren’t in the roaster long enough to burn off these acids.

While the acidic nature of the delicious drink may not have an immediate effect on your retainer, overtime without proper cleaning, the exposure to the high acids can eat away at the plastic and acrylic materials. 

The impact of sugar on the other hand, mainly poses a problem for your pearly whites.

Sugary drinks are known to cause tooth decay if the teeth are not properly taken care of.

This risk is only increased when wearing a retainer that traps the sugary drink right next to your teeth for a long period of time. 

Additionally, when your retainer is also exposed to sugar, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. 

This can not only make the retainer harder to clean and maintain, but also can lead to bad breath and overall bad dental health.

 

How to Reduce the Potential Problems from Drinking Coffee with a Retainer In

Now, if you absolutely need to have a coffee with your retainer in, don’t worry!

There are a few fixes to help minimize the risks of damaging or discoloring your retainer. 

1. Choose a darker roast coffee

We briefly talked about this earlier, but light roast coffee tends to carry a much stronger acidic profile than dark roast coffee.

For a reference, a lighter roast coffee may have a pH closer to 4.85 while a darker roast will be around 5.1 on the pH scale.

This is due to the amount of time they’re roasted for but also the temperature that the beans are roasted at. 

Since dark roast coffee is roasted for a longer period of time at a higher temperature, a lot of the acids in the coffee beans are broken down. 

2. Drink a cold brew coffee instead of a hot coffee

This quick swap has 2x the benefits.

Not only does switching to cold coffee help prevent warping and distortion of the retainer itself, but cold brew coffee is actually 66% less acidic than a normal hot coffee. 

3. Use a plastic or metal straw to drink from

When you use a straw, the majority of the liquid you’re drinking bypasses your teeth and thus your retainer.

This can help prevent any liquid from getting trapped between your teeth and retainers. 

 

So you drank coffee with your retainer in…now what?

Drinking something you’re not supposed to while having a retainer in isn’t a good idea, but it’s definitely not the end of the world!

Since the main concern when it comes to drinking coffee with a retainer in is staining, the next steps are to give it (and your teeth) a nice deep clean.

Cleaning Clear Retainers

Surprisingly, using toothpaste is actually not recommended for cleaning your clear retainers due to 

abrasive material in the toothpaste can leave microabrasions on your retainers and give them a cloudy appearance

Instead, soaking them in cold water (do not use hot water!! this can deform them quickly) with a cleaning tablet specifically for retainers or dentures.

If you want to be extra careful, you can use an approved cleaner, like WhiteFoam. This is a cleaner that was made for clear retainers specifically.   

It is also recommended against using mouthwash or any colored cleaners on these as keeping the clear look is the most important thing. 

Cleaning Hawley Retainers

Thankfully, it is a bit easier to keep your Hawley retainers clean.

Since these removable retainers are made of hard plastic and wire, all you really need to do is soak them in cold water and give them a good brush to keep clean.

Similar to clear retainers, you can add in a retainer cleaning tablet to the water to give them an even deeper clean. 

Note: It is recommended to not soak them for more than 15 minutes. 

Cleaning Your Permanent Retainer

Since your permanent retainer is well… permanent, you’re going to drink coffee with it in at some point (unless you decide to quit completely).

Thankfully since it’s hidden behind your teeth, appearance doesn’t matter at all.

But it is still important to keep up your dental hygiene especially with this type of retainer.

It can be very difficult to floss between your teeth since the wire is in the way, which can lead to bad oral hygiene as food particles and sugars are much more likely to stay trapped between your teeth.

Using a flossing needle is the way to go as it provides an easy way to get floss in between your teeth to keep your smile gorgeous!

 

Conclusion: Can You Drink Coffee With Your Retainer in?

Especially in the winter, it may be tempting to enjoy a hot coffee, or even a hot chocolate while you have your retainer in.

However, it is definitely recommended to not have any hot liquids or any coffee while your retainer is in. 

There are three main reasons for the concern of drinking coffee with a retainer in:

1. Staining / Discoloration of the retainer

2. Warping / Deformation 

3. Damage to the retainer from acids / sugars in your favorite beverage

Staining & discoloration is by far the biggest concern when it comes to drinking coffee.

This is mainly because coffee contains tannins, which cause the brown coffee color to stain and hang onto a lot of different materials (including teeth!).

As clear plastic retainers have become increasingly popular in the last few years, having a stained or cloudy retainer would defeat the purpose of them completely.

The best way to combat potential retainer staining and general wear is by getting into a good cleaning routine. 

While it is easy to clean a Hawley (hard removable retainer) by soaking it in cold water and giving it a gentle brush, Invisalign wearers have it a bit harder.

The process of cleaning Invisalign retainers or an Essix retainer proves a bit more complicated as you are unable to brush them.

It is recommended to use a retainer cleaning tablet when soaking them in water and to avoid using a colored cleaners (such as mouthwash) or even toothpaste as it could create tiny scratches on the plastic leading to a cloudier look. 

If you absolutely need to have a coffee and can’t take your retainer out, try an opt for an iced coffee!

This way you are eliminating the risk of melting or deforming your retainer.

Additionally, you can swap your normal coffee for a cold brew or a darker roast to help bring that pesky acidity level down.

Since braces are definitely considered an expensive orthodontic treatment, it’s important to keep your teeth set in their new positions!

Wearing and taking care of your retainer helps this process along and ultimately, you’ll save money if you take care of your retainer and new teeth from the beginning!


7 Cuisinart Single Serve Coffee Maker Problems Solved!

The iconic Keurig machine completely changed the coffee industry when they invented k-cups and single serve brewers back in 1998.

While intended to be used in offices, I think we can all agree, these single serve coffee machines have taken over college dorms, households and everywhere in between.

While Keurig put their home brewers on the market in 2004, Cuisinart was quick to follow and by 2005, Cuisinart created their own single serve coffee makers.

They now offer six different single serve brewers in total, with some even having the options to grind your own coffee beans, where the grounds go directly into a reusable k-cup.

This particular brewer, the DGB-2 Series, has even been listed as the best single-serve coffee maker with a grinder attached by Good Housekeeping.

This guide mainly applies to many of these single serve coffee makers (such as the Cuisinart SS-15) but does not cover ones such as the DGB-2 series we widely.

Problems are unfortunately unavoidable when it comes to owning a more mechanical product like a coffee machine but doesn’t mean they can’t be easily fixed so you can get back to spending some quality time with a cup of good coffee.

Today, we’ll delve into seven of the most common problems with Cuisinart single-serve coffee makers, along with potential solutions if you come across any of these issues!

7 Common Problems with Cuisinart's Single Serve Coffee Makers

Problem #1: My Cuisinart coffee maker won't turn on / Power Issues 

Cause #1: The machine isn’t plugged in

Yes, it sounds silly but we have all been there!

Either we forget to plug the machine in or someone else accidentally unplugged it. This is an easy and quick potential fix to the problem.

Cause #2: The power source isn’t working

The best way to test if the power outlet you are using is bad, is to plug in something you 100% know will work.  My go to is my phone charger since I use it every day.

If the outlet is not working correctly, try resetting the correct switch on your circuit breaker to see if that helps.

Cause #3: The power cord or internal circuit board is damaged

The last potential cause for your Cuisinart coffee maker not turning on is that the power cord attached to it, or a separate internal component may be damaged.

To check the cord itself, unplug the machine and look for any wires that might be poking out of the cord. Any cracked areas of the cord could also be signs of damage.

If you don’t see any damage on the outside of the cord, the issue may be internal. At this stage, I would recommend calling the Cuisinart Customer Service line to get the machine serviced.

Problem #2: There are coffee grounds in your cup

If you find your k-cup’s exploding or if there are a lot of coffee grounds making their way into your cup, there are two potential causes for this.

Cause #1: The pod has been incorrectly placed

When you’re placing a K-Cup or coffee pod into the holder, make sure it is fully clicked into place, and that the arrow on the coffee pod holder lines up perfectly with the arrow on the machine itself.

Cause #2: The piercing & exit needles are clogged

The second potential cause for this issue is that the piercing & exit needles (the needles that go into the k-cups) have grounds in them and have gotten clogged.

This can lead to water not being able to correctly flow through the needles and thus a pressure buildup causing the cup to “explode”.

These blocked needles can actually cause quite a few common problems for these single serve coffee makers so we’ve created a section dedicated to cleaning them.

 Click here to jump to the section!

Problem #3: My coffee maker is only brewing a partial cup of coffee

Cause #1: The “add water” indicator is on / there is a lack of water in the reservoir

It’s an easy fix for this one! Be sure to double check the water level in the reservoir and fill it accordingly. Cuisinart recommends adding at least 11oz to the container if water is needed.

Cause #2: The piercing needles need to be cleaned

Again, clogged piercing needles can cause many problems. If you’re coffee machine isn’t brewing a full cup, it may be time to give the needles a clean.

Click here to jump to the section with a detailed description and video on how to clean these needles.

Cause #3: The capsule holder & funnel needs to be cleaned

If you have ever used your single serve machine, you are definitely familiar with the brewing chamber or capsule holder area!

This is just the section of your coffee machine where your coffee pod sits.

To clean this section of your single serve coffee maker is really similar to cleaning the needles!

To start, lift the handle on the coffee maker to open. Grab the top of the holder and pull it out of the section.

Once you have the holder out, you can remove the funnel off the bottom fo the holder by twisting it off. Once you do this you will see one of the piecing needles which you can clean using the method above.

Both of these parts, the capsule holder and funnel are top rack dishwasher safe, so feel free to pop those in on a low temperature to clean.

Once taken everything out as well, you can clean the piercing needle that is located in the brewing chamber if you want to be thorough.

Again, feel free to use the method & videos above to help!

Cause #4: The machine needs descaling

Scale in a coffee machine occurs when a variety of minerals found in water (mainly tap) start to build up in the machine and on the components.

 It’s important to descale your machine to ensure that it runs correctly.

Cuisinart single serve coffee makers do have sensors that will notify you via the screen when the machine needs to be descaled.

However, they also recommend doing it every 3-6 months or as often as you need even if the “descale” display does not come up.

Click here to jump to our section on how to properly descale your Cuisinart single serve coffee machine.

Problem #4: My brewing temperatures are inconsistent

Inconsistent brewing temperatures are typically caused by issues with the boiler or heating element within the coffee machine.

If scale, or minerals from the water, builds up on this heating element, the boiler may not heat correctly.

This temperature variation is not only annoying but can also affect how your coffee tastes since it isn’t being brewed properly.

Solution:

Like our last problem, the solution here is to give your machine a nice clean via descaling.

Click here to jump to the section on descaling your machine!

Problem #5: My Cuisinart isn't dispensing any water or coffee

Cause #1:  The piercing needles are clogged 

If your machine isn’t properly dispensing your drink, the piercing needles may be clogged and therefor water cannot get through.

Again, this is a common problem so click here to jump to the section on how to clean these needles properly!

Cause #2: The water reservoir isn’t filled correctly

If your water reservoir doesn’t contain enough water, the machine won’t dispense your coffee!

 Double check by filling your reservoir to the max fill line or having at least 11 oz of water in the container.

Cause #3: The machine is acting up 

Sometimes you just need to give your machine the ol’ reboot.

Unplug your machine and leave it off for at least thirty seconds or longer. Once enough time has passed, plug it back in, turn it back on and try again.

Problem #6: There is a leak coming from the water tank / reservoir

Cause: The O-Ring needs cleaning or replacing

O-Rings are a type of seal found commonly in equipment or machinery.  In the case of your coffee machine, they help prevent leaks and also keeps the pressure regulated.

In your single serve coffee maker, there is most likely one at the connection point of the water reservoir and the machine, as well as in the brew basket.

If the O-Ring is dirty or broken, it doesn’t seal water in correctly, which can cause water leakage from the bottom of the reservoir.

Cuisinart put out a video breaking down the best way to go about it here!

Problem #7: There is a leak coming from the dispenser or brew head

Cause: The piercing needles are blocked 

If your machine keeps leaking after you’ve brewed a coffee, the piecing needles may be blocked. with coffee grounds or other things!

Click here to jump to the section on how to clean these needles properly.

Problem #8: There is constant mineral or scale build up in my machine

Cause: Using mineral rich tap water

If you find yourself constantly having the same problems such as scale buildup in your coffee machine, it may be time to look at the type of water you’re using.

Unfiltered tap water is considered “hard water”. It contains a number of minerals and other particles that can cause scale build up in your machine and water hose.

By using filtered or “soft water” to brew your coffee, you can minimize the amount of scale build up. In turn, you may not need your Cuisinart machine as much!

An extra bonus to using filtered water is that it makes a much better cup of coffee, as you don’t have all the extra minerals interfering with that flavor coffee lovers enjoy.

Maintenance Tips & Tricks for a Cuisinart Single-Serve Brewer

Cleaning clogged piercing needles:

While this solution requires slightly more effort, it is still very easy to do.

First start by taking the k-cup holder out from the coffee machine.

Once this is completed you should be able to twist it apart, leaving you with an upper and lower half.

Then, take a paper clip and straighten part of it out. Insert the paper clip into the upper needle and twist to remove and grounds or grime.

Then, repeat this step with the bottom needle.

Once both needles are cleaned, piece back the k-cup holder and reinsert into the machine.

Are you visual learner? Here is a video from Cuisinart themselves showing the process.

Before brewing another cup of coffee, run a cycle or two using a vinegar water mix to ensure the needles and machine are clean completely.

Descaling Solution

Although Descaling may sound complicated, it’s actually easy and only involves you adding a bit of vinegar to the water reservoir system and brewing like normal.

Follow these steps to de-scale your unit:

1. Empty the reservoir

2. Disable the AUTO OFF and OFF TIME features

3. Making sure there is no capsule in the brewing chamber, fill the reservoir with 20 oz. of white vinegar, plus 40 oz. of water

4. Place a large mug on the drip tray. Press and hold the HOT WATER and RINSE buttons to start the de-scale process. Discard contents of mug.

5. Repeat Step 4 until ADD WATER is displayed on the control panel.

6. Rinse the water reservoir thoroughly and fill with fresh water.

7. Run another Hot Water cycle (see page 11). Discard contents of large mug.

8. Repeat hot water process until ADD WATER is displayed on the control panel.

9. You may need to perform additional Hot Water cycles if you detect any residual vinegar taste. Note: If DE-SCALE is still displayed on the control panel after completing the procedure, repeat the de-scaling procedure above. Maintenance: Any oth

Cuisinart states in their own troubleshooting guide that if you have de-scaled your machine twice already and the issue persists, contact customer their service team. 1-800-726-0190

Use filtered water

While it may seem a bit fancy to only use filtered water in your coffee machine, there are real benefits to it!

Firstly, you’ll most likely have to clean your machine less often. Scale buildup is one of the biggest issues when it comes to having a coffee machine. Tap water contains so many minerals that build up on various parts of the machine, causing it to not work as well as we might want.

Filtered water often has substantially less of these minerals, often leading to less scale buildup and overall, a cleaner machine,

Beyond cleanliness, the lack of minerals in filtered water leads tooa  clenaer and better tasting cup of cofee being brewed.

Pro Tip: The SS-10 actualyl comes with a charcoal water filter attachment in it. Having this filter helps prevent scale and other gunk from getting into the internal parts and water lines of your favorite machine.

Routine inspection of machine components

The best way to take care of your machine is to do proper maintenance or regular cleaning on it 9or at least semi-regularly!)

This way you can catch a potential problem before it gets bad.

There are simple ways to do this, either by setting a time every month to descale your machine, or just giving the capsule holder a good rinse every now and then.

Cuisinart put out a video on how to properly clean your single-serve brewer to help ensure you can have it for as long as possible!

Brewing with a reusable filter cup (reusable k-cup)

If you have one of the handy refillable pods at home with you, that’s fantastic! The process to brewing a fresh coffee is pretty much the same as if you were using a normal k-cup. All you need to do is pop out that brewing capsule that you would normally place your k-cup in, and replace it with your resuable one.

note: when you’re filling your reusable k-cup with coffee grounds, be sure not to fill it above the max line and leave it loose or untamped.

When to Seek Professional Help

Sometimes you can try everything, and the problem still won’t go away. When this happens, it’s best to leave it to the professionals and call customer support for help.

There are a few instances when Cuisinart actually suggests this, rather than keep trying to solve the issue. One of these instances is if you have descaled the machine properly twice and the descale alert will not go away.

The good thing is, most, if not all, of Cuisinart machines come with a 3-year limited time warranty. This warranty takes place from the date of purchase IF you have proof. If you haven’t kept your receipt since you’ve bought it, it will go from the day the product was manufactured.

If you’re interested in getting your product serviced. you can call the toll-free Cuisinart number at 1-800-726-0190. Note this is only for the US & Canada (and with exceptions for California)

Lastly, all warranty information (and also more cleaning guides!) should be in the manual that came with your coffee brewer. If you’ve thrown yours out (like I do!) they actually have all of them, even the discontinued ones, on the website!

Just click here to access it! 

If this add water indicator doesn’t turn off after the water is added, there may be a different issue and it’s recommended to call the customer service line.

Conclusion

Cuisinart machines are fantastic and have found their way into so many homes around the world. Maintenace problems are expected as with most machines, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world!

We covered a lot of information today for the 7 most common issues when it comes to Cuisinart single serve brewers, but the two main causes for these issues across the board was the piercing needles needing to be cleaned or the machine might need a good descale.

Thankfully both of these are easy to fix and it definitely helps that Cuisinart has put together a number of great videos to help you through the process.

You can find both of these videos below this summary as well as a general cleaning video here.

If you keep having problems with your Cuisinart or these solutions don’t fix your problem, you most likely have a 3-year warranty on your machine.

Cuisinart has a toll-free customer service number for US and Canada customers to help get a service started!

And lastly, remember, the best way to take care of your single-serve brewer is to clean it more often than not!


How Long Is Your Starbucks Iced Coffee Good For?

Ever since the birth of Starbucks in 1971, the coffee company’s popularity has skyrocketed.

In 2023 alone, Starbucks amassed a net revenue of $29.46 billion dollars.

Growing along with the company, Iced coffee popularity has significantly increased over the last few years.

The United States iced coffee market alone is valued at a whopping $47.4 Billion.

From Mochas to Frappuccino’s, some of Starbuck’s most popular drinks have made their way into our favorite supermarkets.

These ready to go cold espresso drinks are fantastic if you’re in a rush, but like everything else, they have a limit on how long they stay good for.

Today we’re going to talk about some of the best cold drinks to try from Starbucks and how long you can hang onto them before they go bad.

Are you in a rush? Here’s a quick summary of the important details to save you some time:

Average shelf life of Starbucks bottled coffees: 9 months

Time to drink after opening less than 3 days (if refrigerated)

Made To Order Drinks: 24 Hours

When in doubt: make sure the drink passes a smell, look & taste test before drinking

How Long Is Starbucks Iced Coffee Good For?

It’s crazy to think that Starbucks has been around for almost 50 years now.

Since the 70’s the company has put out some iconic beverages (hello pink drink) and their cold drink line has proved to be a crowd favorite.

TikTok videos and other social media posts have also played a major part in the growth of iced drinks over the years.

Cold foam, a popular fluffy topping that is added to many iced drinks, has become Starbuck’s number one customization.

If you’ve always been a hot coffee drinker like me, you may not know where to start when it comes to trying one of the hundreds iced coffees out there.

Thankfully two great websites, Parade and Tasting Table, have put together a list of their favorite Starbucks drinks, both bottled and freshly made.

Top 5 Bottled Coffees:

  1. Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew

  2. Caramel Frappuccino

  3. Espresso and Cream

  4. White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino

  5. Mocha Frappuccino

Top 5 Store-Made Iced Coffees:

  1. Iced Vanilla Latte

  2. Nitro Cold Brew

  3. Caramel Frappuccino

  4. Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew

  5. Iced White Chocolate Mocha

Common Ingredients In Starbuck's Iced Coffees

Ever since the birth of Starbucks in 1971, the coffee company’s popularity has skyrocketed.

In 2023 alone, Starbucks amassed a net revenue of $29.46 billion dollars.

Growing along with the company, Iced coffee popularity has significantly increased over the last few years.

The United States iced coffee market alone is valued at a whopping $47.4 Billion.

From Mochas to Frappuccino’s, some of Starbuck’s most popular drinks have made their way into our favorite supermarkets.

These ready to go cold espresso drinks are fantastic if you’re in a rush, but like everything else, they have a limit on how long they stay good for.

Today we’re going to talk about some of the best cold drinks to try from Starbucks and how long you can hang onto them before they go bad.

Are you in a rush? Here’s a quick summary of the important details to save you some time:

How Long Is Starbucks Iced Coffee Good For?

It’s crazy to think that Starbucks has been around for almost 50 years now.

Since the 70’s the company has put out some iconic beverages (hello pink drink) and their cold drink line has proved to be a crowd favorite.

TikTok videos and other social media posts have also played a major part in the growth of iced drinks over the years.

Cold foam, a popular fluffy topping that is added to many iced drinks, has become Starbuck’s number one customization.

If you’ve always been a hot coffee drinker like me, you may not know where to start when it comes to trying one of the hundreds iced coffees out there.

Thankfully two great websites, Parade and Tasting Table, have put together a list of their favorite Starbucks drinks, both bottled and freshly made.

Top 5 Bottled Coffees:

  1. Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew

  2. Caramel Frappuccino

  3. Espresso and Cream

  4. White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino

  5. Mocha Frappuccino

Top 5 Store-Made Iced Coffees:

  1. Iced Vanilla Latte

  2. Nitro Cold Brew

  3. Caramel Frappuccino

  4. Vanilla Sweet Cream Nitro Cold Brew

  5. Iced White Chocolate Mocha

Common Ingredients In Starbuck's Iced Coffees

When it comes to buying an iced coffee at Starbucks, the ingredient list is pretty straight forward!

If you’re ordering an iced latte or similar drink, you will have a coffee or espresso base (made of coffee and water), milk, and any classic syrup used in the drink.

If you’re ordering a more traditional iced coffee like an iced americano, your drink will just consist of the espresso or coffee base and ice!

Surprisingly, the bottled drink ingredients were very similar to a freshly made iced coffee.

While I struggled a lot to find an ingredient list for these bottled drinks, I finally came across a mocha Frappuccino on the Walmart online store.

The ingredients for the Mocha Frapp as are follows:

  1. Brewed Starbucks coffee (coffee & water)

  2. Reduced fat milk

  3. Sugar

  4. Cocoa

  5. Pectin (helps flavor release, mouthfeel & viscosity)

  6. Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C, used as an antioxidant)

This short ingredient list is great for a few reasons. Firstly, the drink is not absolutely loaded with preservatives.

 Second, we can see that it’s actually made with real milk, not milk powder, which gives the drink a better taste in my opinion.

Nutrition Tip! Some of these bottled coffees have a higher sugar count than you might expect. A bottled Mocha Frapp contains more sugar than a can of coke! (around 43 grams of sugar) 

Bottled Coffee Shelf Life: The Main Factors That Affects The Shelf Life of Starbucks Coffee

There are a few main factors that will affect the shelf life of pretty much anything, including bottled coffees.

Factor #1: Oxygen exposure

If you’ve ever left a food out unwrapped and it goes stale, you know how oxygen can affect the things we eat and drink.

The color, flavor, nutritional value and overall quality of the item can decline when exposed to oxygen. 

This is why antioxidant ingredients (like ascorbic acid) are added to foods and drinks to help extend their lifetime.

Factor #2: Processing Techniques

How the item is processed plays probably the biggest role in the shelf life as the processing technique is what kills all the harmful bacteria and microbes that may be in the food or drink.

One of the more popular forms of processing that you’ve probably heard of is pasteurization, which so many things we love undergo.

Milk, eggs, juice and alcohol are all drinks that may undergo the pasteurization process.

For those not familiar with the processing technique, pasteurization is a process when the item is heated at extremely high temperatures for a very short period of time.

This intense but short period of heat kills of bad bacteria while keeping the quality of the product the same.

There are two different types of pasteurization that apply to coffee: high heat and ultra-high heat (UHT)

Ultra-high heat (UHT) processing is when “the product is heated between 280° to 300° F for only 2 – 6 seconds to sterilize the liquid.” 

Depending on what type of brewing process was used (brewing with hot vs. cold water), it will need to undergo one or the other.

Coffee that goes through a hot brew process (a.k.a hot water is used) has a low PH and therefor has to go through higher heat or ultra-high heat pasteurization.

Cold brew coffee has a different PH, so while it still needs to go through pasteurization, it doesn’t have to be at super high temperatures.

After this process is completed, you are left with a delicious coffee drink that doesn’t have to be refrigerated until opening and has a much longer shelf life.

Factor #3: Packaging

Packaging is important for one main reason, sun & UV exposure.

Sunlight and UV rays can increase how fast an item degrades, hence why many companies recommend their product is stored in a cool or dry place.

If you purchase an item that comes in clear cups or see-through packaging, it may degrade quicker than one in a darker or opaque packaging.

How Long Will My Starbucks Iced Coffee Last Before Going Bad?

Bottled & Canned Starbucks Coffee:

Now to the important information! As we just discussed, drinks that undergo UHT & pasteurization don’t need to be refrigerated and tend to last a long time.

Certain products, like long life milk. can have an almost indefinite shelf life.

The majority of Starbucks bottled drinks that undergo pasteurization allow them a shelf life of around 9 months in unopened.

If you have your doubts on if the drink is still good, check the printed expiration date on the bottle!

If the drink is past expired, it may be unsafe to drink, and potentially has lost some of its delicious flavor.

Note: This lifespan of around 9 months is drastically cut down once you open the drink.

You immediately introduce bacterial growth as well as oxygen to the drink. Once opened, you have around 3 days to enjoy your drink (if you keep it refrigerated)

Fresh or Made to Order Drinks:

Like any other product that made to order, the lifespan isn’t that long.

Unlike bottled coffees, the drink is immediately exposed to oxygen and heat. This instantly allows more bacteria to start forming in your coffee.

Your best bet for keeping the drink safe from unhealthy amounts of bacteria, is to refrigerate it until you’re ready to enjoy it again.

Overall, the lifetime of these drinks is much more play it by ear.

Depending on the weather and how long you’ve had it at room temperature for, the lifespan of your coffee can change. I personally wouldn’t leave it in the fridge longer than a day.

With fresh drinks, there are a few things to consider as the flavor might change the longer you keep it.

1. Melting Ice

Unfortunately, the ice in your drink is bound to melt eventually.

When this happens, your coffee will become watered down and potentially lose that delicious, iced coffee flavor we all love.

An easy fix for this is making coffee ice cubes at home or holding off on the extra ice.

You can swap out the normal ice for these and instead of being left with a watery coffee, you’ll get an extra coffee burst when they melt.

2. Fridge Storage

Another factor to consider is what you have in your fridge.

If you decide to store your drink in the fridge overnight, it may absorb some of the flavors from other foods nearby.

This may not have a huge impact on the flavor, but trust me, you don’t want to have even a slightly onion flavored coffee.

A great way to avoid any unfortunate flavor transfers is to put the drink into an airtight container for storage. That way you keep can keep the coffee flavors in and onion flavors out!

3. The Brewing Process

When a coffee is made using hot water, or made using an espresso base, you’ll want to enjoy it sooner than later as the flavor may change the more it cools.

When a coffee is cold brewed or made with cold water over a long period of time (12-24 hours) it creates a smoother flavor that is less likely to change over time.

How To Tell If Your Coffee (or drink!) Has Gone Bad

Please don’t make the mistake of drinking an expired coffee… it’s not pleasant and can be dangerous!

Three things to look for if you worried your drink may have gone bad:

  1. The Color and/or Look 

    Your drink should never change color unless you add something to it!

    Especially with drinks containing milk, it may have gone off if the texture, consistency, or color has changed.

    A drink color will typically change if bacteria or mold has been growing, which can lead to food poisoning and other unpleasant symptoms.

    This is easy to see if the drink is a lighter color, but with a black or dark colored coffee, a color change into a darker black color may be a warning sign.

    Lastly, if a coffee, iced or hot, has been sitting for a while, the coffee oils may rise to the surface.

    If you’ve ever seen an almost translucent rainbow color on top of your drink before, this is coffee oils!

  2. The Smell 

    When bacteria and other nasties are growing, the smell of a drink can change.

    A sour smell is almost always an indication that the item is no longer good to drink.

  3. The Taste 

    If the drink passes the color and smell test, you might want to give it a small taste if you’re still skeptical.

    While the taste may change when the ice melts in your drink, it shouldn’t taste sour or too different.

Alternative Uses for Stale or Gone-off Iced Coffee

If you’re hesitant to toss your drink out entirely, there are a few things you can reuse it for!

1. Water your plants

Coffee contains so many nutrients, like Nitrogen, that can be great for plant growth,

Coffee is a pretty acidic drink, and while there are some acid-loving plants out there like Hydrangeas, not all plants will love the highly acidic drink.

It is recommended to dilute the old coffee with a bit of water to ensure you don’t harm your beautiful plants!

2. Add it to your compost!

Again, coffee contains a lot of great nutrients and can help speed up the decomposition process! Adding your leftover coffee to your compost pile is a perfect way to give back to the environment.

Summary: How Long is My Starbucks Iced Coffee Good For?

There are so many factors that can influence how long a drink is good for.

Thankfully, Starbucks has kept it simple with only a few ingredients going into both their store made and bottled cold coffees:

Thanks to using high temperature and ultra-high temperature (UHT) pasteurization, the bottled coffees are expected to have a shelf life of around 9 months.

Keep in mind, once you decide to open the bottled, the life span drops to around 3 days if you refrigerate it correctly.

Freshly made drinks have a much shorter lifespan, around 24 hours, which is expected as they’re exposed to the elements straight away!

The biggest concerns with freshly made drinks is how the flavor may change if you decide to refrigerate them.

Beyond the ice melting, your drink may absorb some of the other flavors in the fridge if it’s not stored in an airtight container.

You may be left with a nasty onion-y taste in your coffee if they’re close to each other!

Lastly, if you’ve left your drink in the fridge a  bit longer than you wanted, there are three things to look for to see if it’s gone bad are:

1. Any color or Texture Changes

When bacteria and mold grow, it can cause color and texture changes in the drink itself.

If the drink becomes curdled or turned a darker or strange color, it’s probably time to toss it

2. Smell

If the drink in question smells different than normal, such as sour or just “off” its probably a sign that it has spoiled.

Drinks that have been exposed to air naturally lose some of their good smell over time, but a total change in smell is definitely a sign of it going bad.

3. Taste

when in doubt, you can always give it a tiny taste. Use your best judgement here and if you have doubts throw it away!

If you dont want to waste your drink, adding the stale coffee to your composter is a great way to reuse the leftover iced coffee! 🙂


Thai Vs. Vietnamese Coffee: History, Beans, and More

Thai and Vietnamese coffee culture is one that is filled to the brim with history. These delicious coffees have slowly made their way across the world and have left people wanting more.

With the coffee industry in South East Asia being valued at a whopping $8.2 USD in 2023, it is only expected to grow with some Vietnamese coffee roaster even making their way into the specialty coffee industry.

While there are definitely some differences between the two countries coffee stories, there are also many similarities.

We cover a fair amount of content today, so if you’re in a pinch for some information, here is a quick summary of the differences and similarities between Thai and Vietnamese coffee.

Feel free to click on the main topic and jump to that section of the article for more information!

History: Thai coffee production started around the 1960’s while Vietnam’s started around 1890

Beans: Both mainly grow and use robusta beans

Brewing: Vietnam uses a Phin filter while Thailand uses a sock filter

Milk: Sweetened condensed milk is commonly used in both countries’ coffees

Roasting methods: Dark roasted coffee is most common in both countries

Other topics discussed: Flavor ProfilesWhere To BuyBrew At Home, Overall Summary

Thai Vs. Vietnamese Coffee: History, Beans, and More

Origin & History Of Thai Coffee

Coffee culture in Thailand started way later than you may think, only truly beginning in the 1960’s.

The king, Bhumibol Adulyadej, wanted to move the country towards a more beneficial (and legal) way to make money. At the time, their main source of income was through opium crops.

This movement was named The Royal Projects and got Thailand started on their iconic Robusta coffee production.

While the industry may not have started until the 60’s, coffee started being enjoyed in Thailand after being introduced by Dutch traders in the 19th century.

Unfortunately, the coffee beans were primarily grown in Indonesia and were pretty poor quality at the time.

Because of this people commonly added sugar or butter to help mask the bitter taste of the drink.

This sugary coffee drink was named, O’yua, (hot black coffee) and essentially is the precursor to the now popular, O’liang, (iced black coffee).

Commonly Ordered Thai Coffee Drinks

There are 5 main types of coffee drinks that you can find in Thailand.

The names are self-explanatory when translated as the world in the Thai correlates to how the coffee is made.

For instance, Gafae = coffee and Yen = iced, therefore Gafae Yen is iced coffee.

  • Gafae Yen: Thai iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk
  • Gafae Ron: Thai hot coffee w/ condensed milk

  • O’liang: Black & iced coffee

  • O’yua: Black & hot coffee

  • O’liang Yok Law: O’liang coffee with evaporated milk added

Origin & History Of Vietnamese Coffee

Unlike Thailand, Vietnam’s coffee culture started substantially earlier.

Vietnam was a part of French Indochina up until 1954 and therefore the beginning of their coffee journey was strongly influenced by the French.

An Arabica coffee plant was first introduced to the country by a French catholic priest in the 1850’s.  By the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the coffee industry had started the grow.

This is almost 60 years before Thailand even started growing their coffee plants!

The coffee production continued to grow until a large production plant was created in 1950 to start properly producing and exporting Vietnamese coffee.

By 1999, Vietnam became the second biggest supplier of coffee in the world, and today they produce around 40% of the worlds Robusta coffee beans.

Commonly Ordered Coffee in Vietnam

Listed below are four commonly ordered types of coffee in Vietnam.

Already you can see one of the differences between Thai and Vietnamese coffee, the type of milk used.

While Thai coffee primarily uses condensed milk or evaporated milk, topping your coffee with a creamy egg mixture or coconut milk is not uncommon in Vietnam.

  • Ca phe nau: Vietnamese iced coffee

  • Ca phe sua: Vietnamese hot coffee

  • Ca phe truang: Egg coffee

  • Sua cha ca phe: Yogurt coffee

  • Ca phe cot dua: Coconut Coffee

Coffee Beans Used in Vietnamese and Thai Coffee

Both Vietnam and Thailand largely produce and export the same type of coffee bean, Robusta.

if you are not familiar with the difference between Robusta and Arabica coffee beans, here’s a quick recap:

There are two types of coffee beans that are used in the industry, Arabica and Robusta.

If you normally drink coffee, you are most likely drinking a roast made from Arabica beans as it accounts for between 60-70% of the coffee we drink.

To put it simply, Arabica beans tend to be the preferred choice as they create a sweeter and less bitter flavor than Robusta beans.

However, robusta beans are still grown around the world and are commonly the beans used in instant coffee. 

Now, although Robusta beans account for less than half of the world’s coffee supply, there are some major benefits to growing this bean over Arabica.

Enviornmental Influences

Robusta coffee trees tend to thrive in lower altitudes, between 0 and 800m above sea level. Ideally, the trees will also be grown in a tropical climates with distinct wet and dry seasons.

If we look at Vietnam, the central highlands were the first location for coffee to be grown in the country.

This area has the perfect environment for robusta beans to thrive as opposed to Arabica trees, which prefer a much higher elevation.

You can find Arabica bean production in Vietnam today, but it will be located in the more mountainous areas.

If you look at the maps of both countries below, you can see a distinct difference in where Robusta beans (red pin) and Arabica beans (blue pin) are grown.

Some of the main regions in each country where coffee is grown is as follows:

Robusta

Vietnam: Dak Lak, Gia Lai, Dak Nong, Lam Dong, Kon Tum

Thailand: Ranong, Chumphon, Surat Thani, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat

Arabica

Vietnam: Da Lat, Dien Bien, Nghe An, Son La, Quang Tri

Thailand: Mae Hong Son, Chaing Mai, Chaing Rai, Lampang, Tak

Durability of the Plant

Farmers tend to find that growing Robusta trees is much easier than growing Arabica trees.

This is due to the genetic makeup of the tree itself. Robusta trees are more resilient to disease, insects and tend to produce more fruit than Arabica trees.

All in all, growing robusta trees tend to be less work for those growing them.

Both countries started to produce Arabica beans in the late 90’s and early 2000’s but on a much smaller scale.

Today, Vietnam’s coffee production comes to about 90% Robusta beans and 10% Arabica beans.

How Are Vietnamese and Thai Coffee Beans Roasted?

Both Vietnamese and Thailand traditionally create dark roast coffee beans. This means the beans spend a longer time in the roaster.

This roast time can range from 15 minutes to even an hour.

Traditionally, Vietnamese coffee is roasted using a drum style method over an open fire. The beans are roasted in an oil-y combination of sugar, cocoa and vanilla to give the beans the unique flavor they are known for.

In Thailand, a traditional roasting technique is to first roast the beans as normal. This could be using a drum style method like Vietnam, or another method.

The roasted beans will then be roasted again after adding other ingredients such as brown rice, soy beans, or cardamom.

Similar to Vietnamese coffee, sugar will be added at the end to add a coat of caramelization to the beans. Brown sugar is typically used for this step of the process.

Vietnamese & Thai Coffee: The Different Brewing Processes

We’ve talked about how Thai and Vietnamese coffee is known for their strong and robust flavor profiles.

This is in part because of the dark roast robusta beans used but also the brewing method.

Traditionally, both types of coffee are brewed using a slow drip method that takes around 5 minutes to make a cup of coffee.

Because of how long the water takes to go through the coffee grounds with this method, the flavors of the beans are intensified even further.

The main difference in the brewing methods between the countries comes down to the type of filter used.

The Phin Filter

A traditional Phin filter

This Vietnamese filter consists of 4 different parts:

  • A brew chamber

  • A filter plate

  • A lid to trap heat

  • A gravity press filter

You first place the metal filter plate on top of whatever glass you would like to use, followed by the brew chamber.

You then add the amount of the ground coffee beans you would like to use, followed by the gravity press filter.

After this, top it up with hot water and leave the lid on for it to brew. This method of brewing is slow, and around 5-6 minutes in total.

Again, this slow dripping method creates a more intense and flavorful tasting cup of coffee that will wake you up immediately!

If you would like to try this method at home, this is a recommended Phin filter to use.

The Sock Filter

A modern take on the traditional sock filter

The traditional Thai brewing method consists of a sock filter. Which, you guessed it, is a filter that looks like a sock.

The sock filter is attached to a ring and a metal handle. To use it, you place the coffee grounds within the sock filter and placed the filter on top of your favorite cup.

Similar to the Vietnamese method, you will pour the water into the filter and let the coffee slowly drip the cup.

This method is again, considered a slow brew method, giving a lovely strong flavor to the cup of coffee.

If you would like to try this method at home, this is a recommended sock filter to use.

Milk Used In Vietnamese & Thai Coffee

As we discussed earlier, both Thai and Vietnamese coffee offer very strong and bold flavors, especially when slow brewed.

Because of this strong and often bitter taste the coffee has, sweeteners and milk are often added to elevate the flavors and reduce the bitterness.

There are few different types of milk that are used in both countries:

  • Sweetened condensed milk

Sweetened condensed milk was introduced to Vietnam by the French back in the late 1800’s.

Remember when we talked about the influence the French had in Vietnam’s coffee culture? The addition of sweetened condensed milk was a major part of it.

While they were initially looking for normal milk to use, dairy was not common in the country and therefore had to be imported from Europe.

Since the normal milk would spoil on the trip, they chose sweetened condensed milk instead as it would survive the long journey overseas.

Sweetened condensed milk is also used in Thai coffee.

Back before O’liang was a common drink, the locals added butter and sugar to their O’yua coffee to hide the bitter and burnt taste.

  • Coconut Milk

A popular addition in Vietnamese coffee is coconut milk. It can be used on its own to make sure the coffee is dairy free or add it to the condensed milk to add another layer of flavors.

  • Evaporated Milk

You may find evaporated milk in some Thai coffees such as Gafae Ron and O’liang Yok law.

This thicker version of milk adds an additional nutty flavor and creaminess to the coffee.

The Unique Flavor profiles of Vietnamese & Thai Coffee

Both Thai and Vietnamese coffee have unique flavor profiles that keep people coming back for more.

Many intense flavors come from the roasting methods.

Take Vietnamese coffee for example, when it is roasted in sugar, cocoa, and vanilla, some of these flavors appear in the final brewed product.

When Thai coffee, is made, the Robusta beans are mixed with a number of other ingredients such as corn, soybeans, and sesame seeds.  This adds another layer of flavors to the bean itself, so the coffee is sure to pack a flavor punch.

Another factor that influences the flavor profile is the type of coffee bean used

As we talked about before, Robusta beans are the most common to find in both of these countries.

Robusta beans tend to provide a more nutty, chocolatey, and bitter coffee flavor.

If you opt towards Arabica beans instead, you might have a sweeter, smoother and more acidic coffee.

Lastly, both traditional coffees are considered relatively sweet due to the addition of sweetened condensed milk.

Thai style coffee also has sugar added in pretty much every drink, even if you order an “O’yua” which is considered a black hot coffee.

The use of Robusta beans helps balance out some of the sweetness with the bold flavor the beans provide but if you don’t like your coffee as sweet, feel free to add less sweetened condensed milk or take it out all together!

The Caffeine Content In Thai & Vietnamese Coffee

Both Thai coffee and Vietnamese coffee are made using Robusta beans and are brewed using a slow drip method.

Because of these two factors,, the caffeine content tends to be slightly higher than a cup of coffee that uses arabica beans.

There will be around 100-120 mg of caffeine in a standard cup of Thai or Vietnamese coffee, this is compared to the around 95mg of caffeine you will find in a normal 8oz cup of coffee.

Where To Buy Vietnamese and Thai Coffee Beans

Are you convinced you want to give Vietnamese or Thai coffee a try?

As both Vietnamese and Thai coffee have become extremely popular in the last few decades, you can find both types of coffees quite easily.

If you want to try making your own Vietnamese coffee at home, these companies are a great place to start!

Just click the heading to be re-directed to the company site.

Nguygen Coffee Supply

Nyguen coffee is a specialty coffee roaster that sources their beans from the central highlands of Vietnam.

They offer a few different types of coffee beans that allow you to choose what you want based off the flavor profile you’re looking for!

Some of their popular blends are:

  • Moxy Blend: A 100% Arabica blend with a fruity and sweet flavor profile
  • Loyalty Blend: A nutty and smooth flavor profile
  • Truegrit Blend: A blend of 100% Robusta beans and double the caffeine as the Moxy blend!

O’liang Powder Mix

Even if you’re not planning on making O’liang at home, this is a Robusta bean powder that is widely recommended for making Thai coffee.

You’ll find some of the extra ingredients we talked about earlier (corn and soybeans) mixed into this blend. 

Making Vietnamese & Thai coffee at home

Now, I personally have not made Vietnamese or Thai coffee at home, yet!

So, instead of giving you step by step instructions on how to make the most authentic cup, I will leave you with two videos I think would be fantastic guides to making one of these coffees at home!

Pailin does a fantastic job of taking you through 4 delicous Thai coffee recipes in this video. I also recommend checking out her channel if you love Thai food!

This video on Vietnamese coffee is created by the owner of Nyugen Coffee Supply, Sahra, so I promise you are in good hands!

Summary: The Differences & Similarities Between Thai and Vietnamese Coffee

The coffee industry has influenced Thailand and Vietnam so much over the last few decades.

Both countries have grown to become major suppliers of coffee with Vietnam producing 40% of the robusta beans in the world.

Due to the climate in both countries, Robusta is the main bean that has been produced in both countries.

While Arabica beans are now produced in both, the Robusta bean has led to the bold and bitter flavors both coffees are known for. 

The first difference you might find between the two coffees, happens when the beans are roasted.

Although both countries commonly produce dark roasted beans, both countries add different ingredients, such as vanilla, sesame seeds, or cardamon to elevate the flavor.

Finally, while you will find both countries use condensed milk in their coffees and have sweeter coffee drinks, they are brewed using different filters.

While Vietnam uses a Phin filter, you’ll find in Thailand they use a sock filter. But even though they are different filters, they are both slow drip methods, creating that strong cup of coffee we all love!

Overall, both countries produce a coffee that is absolutely delicious and loved around the world. If you have a chance to try one of the two, I highly recommend it!

FAQ

What is egg coffee?

Egg coffee is a popular type of Vietnamese coffee that combines delicious robusta beans, brewed with the traditional Vietnamese coffee filter, the Phin filter, with a cream made from egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk.

Nguyen Coffee has put out a fantastic video on how to make the perfect egg coffee at home. You can watch it here!

Does Drinking Vietnamese Or Thai Coffee Break A Fast?

Typically, fasting involves not eating any food or drinking anything that contains calories for a certain period of time.

Although consuming black coffee does not break a fast, drinking coffee with milk, or in this case, sweetened condensed milk, would break a fast due to the number of calories in the condensed milk.

Do You Need A Phin Filter To Make Vietnamese Coffee?

The slow drip nature of the Phin filter creates the strong intense flavor Vietnamese coffee is known for.

If you don’t have a Phin filter but still want to make a more traditional tasting Vietnamese coffee, there are some alternatives.

You can use a French press with a high coffee to water ratio to try and bring through that strong flavor that Vietnamese coffee is known for.

You can also try using espresso as a base for the coffee, as it also has a very strong flavor.

In order to try and get that authentic Vietnamese coffee flavor, try using 100% robusta beans from Vietnam!

As always, thank you for reading today’s article! Have you tried Vietnamese or Thai Coffee before? Drop a comment to share your experience!

 

You may also enjoy these other articles on the Procaffinator website.

Do you love cafes? Follow the Procaffinator Instagram to see cafes all around the world!

Have a great rest of your day and keep on procaffinating! 🙂


Can You Bring Coffee On A Plane? (US, CAN & AUS)

Picture this.

You go on a fantastic vacation and find the best coffee you’ve ever had.

You decide to buy some to take back home with you and the next thing you know…. it’s getting thrown out by airport security.

How deflating would that be??

To avoid this hypothetical situation from ever happening, today we are covering everything you need to know about bringing coffee and other coffee products on a plane!

Note: This guide touches primarily on the customs rules in the USA, Canada, and Australia.

To be 100% sure what products back into your own country, I recommend giving the airline you’re flying with a call.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through a link on this page, I may get a small commission from the product, at no extra cost to you!

Can You Bring Coffee On A Plane?

With how strict TSA (transportation security administration) and customs can be, it is quite surprising to learn just how much you can bring with you on a plane.

We will be covering a variety of different coffee items, even coffee machines, and more!

Keep in mind, the final decision on if you can bring an item onto the plane lies with the TSA officer.

Roasted Coffee Beans - declare these!

USA

Yes, you are allowed to bring roasted coffee beans both in checked baggage and in your carry-on baggage when traveling into the USA.

As of now, there are no limits to the amount of roasted coffee beans you can bring in

Canada

Yes, you can bring roasted coffee beans into Canada without issue.

Unlike the United States, there is a limit to the amount you may bring in.

The maximum amount of roasted coffee you can bring into Canada is 20kg per person.

Australia

Similar to Canada there are limits are the amount of roast coffee you can bring in Australia.

You are allowed to bring in 10 kg of roasted coffee per person through customs into Australia.

Note: the rules are different if you plan on bringing in Civet coffee into Australia and will be discussed further in a section below.

Ground Coffee - declare these!

USA

Similar to the roasted beans, there is no limit to the amount of ground coffee you can bring into the USA. This applies to both your hand luggage and checked luggage.

Canada

Yes, you are allowed to bring ground coffee, up to 20 kg per person, into Canada without having any issues.

Australia

Ground coffee is allowed into Australia in quantities up to 10 kg per person.

Similar to roasted beans, if you plan on bringing in ground civet coffee, specific rules apply which are discussed below.

Note: If you do decide to bring more than 12 oz of ground coffee with you in your carry-on bags, the grounds may go through additional screening per TSA rules.

This extra screening is due to the coffee being considered a powdered substance.

Green (unroasted) Coffee Beans - absolutely need to declare

Green coffee beans are technically unprocessed and therefore may contain agricultural hazards such as quarantine pests.

Due to the potential risk to native plants, these rules are a bit more restrictive.

Fact: A quarantine pest is a pest that is regulated at the federal, provincial or municipal level, to prevent its introduction or additional spread.

USA

Again, green coffee beans are allowed in both your carry on and checked luggage when entering the USA. However, there are a few more restrictions in place as the beans are unprocessed and may contain “quarantine pests”.

If you plan on traveling to or through Hawaii or Puerto Rico, you are NOT allowed to bring green coffee beans with you, in your checked or carry-on luggage.

Lastly, the beans are likely to be tested for quarantine pests and potentially could be “seized or destroyed” if any are found on the beans.

Canada

Although there was no mention of green coffee beans on the Inspection Canada website, multiple other articles state that similar to other countries, the beans will go through additional screening.

If quarantine pests are found during the screening, the product will be destroyed or exported.

Australia

You are allowed to bring green coffee beans into Australia in quantities up to 5kg or less according to a statement put out by the Internation coffee Expo.

The beans must also have be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate.

If the beans are inspected and found to not meet the import conditions they will be exported or destroyed.

Whole Coffee Berries (aka, coffee cherries)- Absolutely need to declare

Coffee cherries on a plant

USA

Similar to green coffee beans, whole coffee berries are considered unprocessed.

Unfortunately, you are not allowed to bring these coffee cherries into any U.S. port of entry as the coffee cherries contain a pulp that “presents an exotic fruit-fly risk”

Canada

There was no mention of coffee cherries on the Canadian customs website.

If you plan on bringing coffee cherries back to Canada, talk to your chosen airline before your arrival.

Australia

There was no mention of coffee cherries on the Australian customs website.

If you plan on bringing coffee cherries back to Australia, talk to your chosen airline before your arrival.

Bringing Civet & Lupi Kuwak Coffee Into Australia

An asian civet cat

For those who haven’t heard of Civet or Lupi Kuwak coffee before, this is a type of coffee that is made by using coffee cherries that have been digested by an asian palm civet cat.

Essentially, the animal is fed the coffee cherries which then are processed in the digestive tract and later pooped out.

The digested beans are then washed, roasted and turned into this famously expensive coffee.

If you plan on bringing back this Civet coffee from any of your travels into Australia, the following limitations apply:

  • the beans, or the beans from which the product is made, have been roasted
  • the product is commercially prepared and packaged
  • the product is imported in an amount up to 1 kilogram
  • the product is for the personal consumption of the person wishing to import it

Similar to unprocessed coffee beans, the Civet coffee will be inspected upon arrival into Australia.

If there are any issues with the product causing it not to meet import conditions, it will be destroyed or exported.

Coffee Pods, Instant Coffee, K cups and More

Coffee pods, k-cups, coffee powder or anything similar are widely considered solids or powders by the airline industry since they contain ground coffee.

Due of this, there are not any limitations on bringing them into the USA, Canada, or Australia.

If you plan on bringing the pods in your carry on, they will be treated as powders and will only be inspected if you have more that 350 grams or 12oz of product with you.

Again, to be sure, feel free to call the airline you’re flying with to double check.

Declaring Coffee: General Rules

Coffee is a product that you absolutely need to declare with customs, especially if bringing in unprocessed products like the green coffee beans and coffee cherries.

Since some of the products can pose agricultural threats to the country you’re bringing them into, customs officers or TSA agents need to thoroughly check the product before you enter.

If you fail to declare a product and are caught, you can potentially be fined up to $1,000 in the USA for a first-time offense.

If you’re unsure if you should be declaring a product, it is best to declare it just in case, or talk to one of the customs workers.

General Airline Guidelines for Coffee Lovers

Here are some basic rules to keep in mind when traveling with coffee or your favorite coffee products to keep them from being taken by a TSA officer.

TSA’s 3-1-1 rule

I’m sure this one comes at not surprise for anyone who has traveled before!

Liquids are not permitted in a carry on unless they are at or under 3.4oz or 100ml.

There are certain exceptions to this rule (for instance I bring my contact solution with me) but liquid coffee and general drinks are not one of them.

Additionally, the container the liquid is in has to be the regulated size as well.

This means you can’t bring 3oz of your favorite coffee drink in a 12 oz coffee mug.

Rules for powdered substances

If you plan on bringing K-cups, ground coffee, or any other powdered substance with you onboard, try to keep the amount under 350 grams or 12oz.

If you bring more than this amount, the item may be additionally screened.

Organization is key!

Due to not knowing if TSA will need a closer look at what you’ve packed, it is best to keep your bag organized and have the items that may be inspected in an easily accessible area.

Can You Bring Starbucks on a Plane?

This question is dependent on when you actually buy your cup of coffee.

Due to the TSA 3-1-1 rule, if you purchase your coffee before going through security, you will likely have to throw it out.

However, if you visit the Starbucks in your terminal before boarding the plane, you should be all set to bring it on with you.

This may change if you’re catching international flights.

For instance, I was not allowed to bring a bottle of water I bought in the terminal on my flight to Australia, but any rules should be made clear by gate agents before boarding.

Bonus: Looking for a great travel mug as a student? Check out our list of stores you can shop at to get the best discount!

Can You Bring Iced Coffee on a plane with your carry-on luggage?

Similar to bringing Starbucks or other liquids on a plane, unless your iced coffee is under 3 fluid oz, you will have to through it out when you go through security.

The alternative is purchasing an iced coffee from one of the coffee shops inside the airport or at one of the other service stations.

Can You Bring a Coffee Grinder or Coffee Making Equipment on a Plane?

Surprisingly, you actually can bring the majority of your coffee equipment with you on a plane!

The few exceptions to this mainly apply to coffee grinders due to the blades inside of them.

If you plan on bringing a coffee grinder with you on board, make sure it has removable blades.  Otherwise place it in your checked bag for safe keeping in the meantime.

Note: Many airlines will have a weight restriction on carryon bags before adding additional charges! Below is a breakdown of the general size and weight limit for hand luggage.

How to Pack Coffee for Air Travel

One of the best parts about bringing coffee home from different areas of the world are the different flavor profiles and aromas the beans will have.

With experts stating “coffee beans are best used between two to 14 days after roasting” there isn’t too much time to travel with your new coffee finds.

In order to keep the coffee beans as fresh as possible, there are a few things to consider:

  • exposure to air
  • exposure to sunlight
  • exposure to moisture

These are all factors that contribute to coffee beans going stale quickly.

To avoid these issues and keep your coffee fresher for longer, it is recommended to use an airtight and opaque container if possible.

To get an idea of what you should look for, some great coffee storage containers on the market currently are as follows:

Coffee Gator Stainless Steel Canister

Fellow Atmos Vacuum Coffee Canister

Of you don’t feel like purchasing anything fancy, don’t worry!

The bags many coffee roasters store their beans contain vents and other features that are meant to keep them fresh and flavorful for a while.

Many travelers put the bag into another resealable bag to stay on the safe side of things as well. Feel free to keep the bag in your carry-on or checked luggage.

Tip: It is recommended to buy whole coffee beans if possible. Ground beans are likely to lose their flavor quicker than the whole beans.

Summary: Can you bring coffee on a plane?

All-in-all, YES, you should be able to bring your favorite coffee on the plane with you or in your checked bag.

There may be quantity limits based on which country you will be entering, so it is best to check the relative customs site to avoid any disappointing situations with TSA or any customs officers.

It is especially important to follow guidelines when bringing in unprocessed coffee beans such as green coffee, coffee fruit or coffee cherries.

These items have the most restrictions in place as they can bring in quarantine pests that can cause damage to crops and other agriculture.

Additionally, coffee is considered one of the agricultural products you need to be declaring upon arrival in most countries.

If you are unsure if you should be declaring anything, it is best to declare it anyways to avoid any fines or other issues with security or customs.

Have you brought back coffee from your travels? Let us know in the comments!

You may also enjoy these other articles on the Procaffinator website.

Do you love cafes? Follow the Procaffinator Instagram to see cafes all around the world!

As always, thank you for reading, have a great rest of your day and keep on procaffinating!


Can You (and should you) Put Hot Coffee in a Red Solo Cup?

Red Solo Cup: the iconic plastic cup that has swept the nation over the years and has inspired one of Toby Keith’s most well known songs.

The burning question we will be answering today is for all of the college students, campers, or anyone else out there who is in a pinch for a coffee cup.

Can you put hot coffee (or any hot liquid) into a red solo cup??

The simple answer to this question is yes, of course you can pour your coffee into a plastic cup. No one is going to stop you. 

The real question is.. should you be doing it?

It is not unknown that there are some health concerns when you heat up certain types of plastic. So today were going to dive into the nitty gritty of the plastics world!

We will cover what these cups are made of, potential health issues, and some alternative options that may be better for you and the environment.

So, without any more introduction, here is the answer to the question…

Can you (or should you) put hot coffee in a red solo cup?

To kick off answering this question, we need to learn about the world of plastics. Which types are good to use, which to stay way from and when they start to melt.

The Seven Main Plastics

There are seven different categories of plastics that we mainly use. If you look on the bottom of your Tupperware or plastic coke bottle, you’ll probably see the recycling symbol with a number inside of it.

That number represents what type of plastic material the item is made out of and if you can recycle it.

The seven main plastic types are as follows.

  1. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
  2. High density polyethylene (HDPE)
  3. Polyvinyl chlorine (PVC)
  4. Low density polyethylene (LDPE)
  5. Polypropylene (PP)
  6. Polystyrene (PS)
  7. Bisphenol and others

The most commonly used plastic is plastic #1 or PET. Water bottles, Gatorade bottles and condiment bottles are made up of this type of plastic.

You will also find a number of cups being made from #4 (LDPE) or #6 (PS) plastics. These will be your typical plastic or Styrofoam cups.

Since each plastic has a different purpose, there are a few that are suitable to use for food and drink while some you should definitely stay away from.

What are red solo cups made of?

Solo Cup has a few different types of disposable cups on their website. These are the classic red plastic solo cup, a see-through colored version and a run of the mill plastic cup.

The clear cups are listed as being made with the #1 plastic (PET) that we just talked about while the red solo cups & see through colored cups are made with a #6 plastic, or polystyrene.

Both plastics are able to be recycled and are reported to be BPA free.

Bisphenol A or BPA’s are found in many plastic & metal items we use every day.

Over time, pronounced negative health effects such as hormone disruption and low vitamin D levels have been linked to BPA consumption.

Since then, it has been advised to stay away from BPA’s whenever possible.

Melting point of plastics

A very important things to keep in mind when it comes to plastics is their melting point.

When plastics are exposed to heat, they degrade faster leading to toxic chemicals leaching into the environment around them.

Plastic #1 (PET) has a melting point of 255 degrees Celsius (491 degrees Fahrenheit while plastic #6 (PS) has a melting point of 100-120 degrees Celsius (212 to 248 degrees Fahrenheit).

These temperatures may seem extremely high, but in reality, the boiling point of water falls at 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

Note: This temperature drops the higher above sea level you go.

So, if you find yourself in Colorado, the boiling point of water may be closer to 95 Celsius or 209 Fahrenheit due to the high elevation.

With coffee experts arguing that the ideal temperature for a cup of coffee is around 160 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit, the melting point of plastic #6 (and red solo cups) is not far off.

Potential health problems from using plastic cups

Plastic Leaching & Micro-Plastics

One of the main concerns when it comes to putting hot liquids in plastic cups is plastic leaching and microplastics (a term I’m sure you’re familiar with)

Both definitions are as follows:

Plastic leaching: when the chemicals from the plastic leak out into the surrounding environment.

Although plastic leaching is inevitable, it is known that heating plastics only increases the amount of leaching that occurs.

Microplastics: tiny plastic particles that result from both commercial product development and the breakdown of larger plastics

Microplastics on a fingertip

 

It may seem like microplastics would not be an issue when it comes to using plastic cups, however, a recent study testing the level of microplastics found in liquid before and after being in a plastic found:

the microplastic abundance in water reached 723–1,489 particles cup−1 after 5 min exposure and increased significantly with increasing residence time

Think you can drink your coffee before the plastic degrades?

Sudha Goel, an assistant professor from the Indian institute of technology, stated that 

In the 15 minutes it takes for (hot) coffee or tea to be consumed the microplastic layer on the cup degrades and releases 25,000 micron-sized particles into the hot beverage.

Essentially, this means that when using any plastic cup, especially with a hot drink, you will be most likely be consuming microplastics and any chemicals leaching from the plastic cup.

Chemicals Released

Many of the extremely harmful chemicals found in plastics are thankfully not used in food & drink items.

However, there are still many chemicals that are found our everyday plastic items.

Nonylphenol is a plastic found on the “chemicals of concern in plastics” produced by the Australian government back in 2021.

Unlike many of the other chemicals on the list that are found mainly in PVC, this chemical is found is Polystyrene or plastic #6.

If you remember from earlier in the article, this is the plastic that red solo cups are made out of.

Common chemicals that can be released as well are BPA’s and phthalates which can lead to other health concerns such as lower fertility rates.

Thankfully, as we discussed before, red solo cups are BPA free.

Side effects from ingested plastics

Obviously, plastics were never made to be ingested. So, the side effects that come with ingesting microplastics and chemicals from plastic cups cannot be great for us.

The Endrocine Soctiey states that the chemicals leached from plastics can contain “endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs)”.

These can harm the body’s hormone system leading to a variety of health issues such as cancer and diabetes.

These EDC’s can stay in the body for an extended period of time and cause cumulative effects over your lifetime.”

Environmental Impacts

The environmental impact of plastic cups brings us back to the microplastic argument.

Plastics are everywhere in our day to day lives. So much so that there is a garbage patch in the middle of the ocean that is filled with plastic we just can’t seem to get rid of.

Plastic cups can be fantastic because of how inexpensive and convenient they are. However, being a single use plastic item, their impact on the environment adds up quickly.

To put it in perspective a bit more, research found that in the United States back in 2020,  “219.73 million Americans used disposable cups and plates in 2020”

Even further, it was found that the entire world “produces around 350 million tonnes of plastic waste each year”.

If you multiply that by the 0.5% of plastic that ends up in the oceans, you get 17,500,000 tons of plastic still making their way in the ocean each year.

The locations of the great pacific garbage patch

The Coffee Experience

Taste Difference

Obviously one of the biggest factors into a good cup of coffee is the taste!

Have you ever used a cheap coffee machine and found it tasted slightly off?  Have you left a bottle of water in the car and when you tried it the taste was a bit funky?

This change in taste happens when plastic, especially when its heated, and starts to degrade. Therefor your quality of coffee might decrease if you decide to put it in a plastic cup.

Temperature Retention

Each material has different insulating properties, meaning each material can keep hot for different amounts of time.

Metal has a very high insulating property, hence why if you get a quality metal thermos, your drinks will stay long for ages.

This property is a one of the many downfalls of using plastic cups for hot beverages.

Although the plastic cup will keep your beverage hot, it only will do so for around 1-2 hours according to The Commons. 

This is a short amount of time compared to the better alternatives we are going to discusses further below.

Alternatives To Red Solo Cups

The good news is that there are so many other options for the type of cups you can use to avoid some of the negative health effects that come with plastic cups.

Some of the more popular options are as follows:

How to choose the right alternative cup

So, you want to make the switch! Congratulations! There are a few different factors to consider before investing in a new travel or reusable coffee mug.

1. Price point

Thankfully at this point in time there are so many reusable cups out there, you can find one at pretty much any price point.

I have found that the majority of reusable coffee cups are in the price range of $10-30 USD, with the higher quality items, like this Stanly, being at the upper end of this range.

A quality reuseable mug may seem like a big investment at first but trust me it pays for itself overtime.

An additional bonus is that many coffee shops offer discounts when you bring it your own cup, so you can save a bit of money on your morning coffee as well.

Tip: If you don’t want to splurge just yet, a popular choice (and one of my favorites) is this Contigo mug. It’s inexpensive and good quality for the price!

2. Durability

I have added this section purely because I am a major clutz and I’m sure a few of you out there are as well.

Some of the most popular takeaway cups on the market, like this Keep Cup, are made of glass or ceramic materials.

These materials are all fantastic alternatives to plastic as we discussed above, but depending on you as a person, some may be better than others!

As I mentioned above, I tend to be prone to breaking things, so having an extremely breakable travel mug is out of the question for me.

So, before you buy one, think about the likelihood of you dropping it or it getting damaged in your day-to-day life.

3. Heat retention

Obviously, this is one of the most important things. No one wants a cold cup of coffee!

I have had travel mugs that kept coffee hot for over 6 hours and some where you had an hour to drink it before it goes luke-warm.

If you want your coffee to stay hot for longer periods, think getting a travel mug in the higher price range.

These typically keep liquids hot for ages and you’ll never have to worry about cold coffee again.

4. Size & Bulkiness

Some companies specifically make their cups to fit cupholders in cars while some you’ll have no chance of getting it to sit in that cupholder.

The size and width of the bottom of the cup may be something to consider if you’re constantly in situations where you need to set it down but have limited space.

Many companies offer various sizes in each model of their mugs, so take a peek to see if your preferred brand has one that works for you!

Bonus: There are cup holder adapters now! Click here to check out a popular option.

Summary: Should you be putting hot coffee in a red solo cup (or any plastic cup)?

Like I mentioned in the beginning of this article, you can absolutely put hot coffee into a red solo cup or any plastic cup for that matter! No one is going to stop you.

Although there are a few benefits to using plastic cups such as convenience, there are some major negatives to putting hot liquids into plastic cups such as

  • health risks from plastic leaching and microplastics
  • environmental impacts
  • taste & quality changes

Because of these risks and negative impacts from using hot drinks in red solo cups, there are some better alternatives out there.

If you’re on a budget, try using solo paper cups.

You don’t have to spend a lot up front, but you still protect yourself from the potential chemical exposure from warm plastics.

Glass, stainless steel, and ceramic mugs travel mugs are also fantastic environmentally friendly alternatives, though the price may be a bit higher.

All in all, I would only recommend using red solo cups for cold beverages only as recommended by the company.

It may be a bit less convenient, but it may be worth it in the long run.

As always, thank you for reading today’s article! Do you have a favorite reusable mug? Tell us below in the comments!

 

You may also enjoy these other articles on the Procaffinator website.

Do you love cafes? Follow the Procaffinator Instagram to see cafes all around the world!

Have a great rest of your day and keep on procaffinating!


Sticky Blends: Add Some Spice to your Life

Sticky Blends is a small business based in Geraldton, WA that was born back in 2018 after the owner was inspired to share “her love for flavor with the community around her” 

The response to this inspiration was a line of drink pastes that would be not only delicious and easy to use but also free of additives and non-beneficial ingredients that we see a lot in our everyday foods.

Since starting with just two main drink pastes, Sticky Blends has successfully grown and now offer a fabulous selection of six different drink pastes in total.

  • Masala Chai (Vegan)
  • Turmeric (Vegan)
  • Chili Cocoa
  • Dandy Masala
  • Matcha
  • Beetroot

Sticky Blends: The Power of Spices

Throughout time, spices have been known to provide anti-inflammatory & heart healthy benefits to those who use them.

Common spices like ginger, cinnamon and turmeric, are some of the most well-known spices to have been used for medicinal purposes throughout time.

Sticky Blends drink paste is a perfect way to get a variety of spices into your body with no additional bad ingredients. 

Activating The Spices

One of the things I noticed when looking through the (short!) ingredient list, was that pepper has been added into the turmeric sticky blend.

This may not seem like a big deal, but just because you add turmeric to a drink, doesn’t mean your body is actually absorbing the spice (this is the issue with turmeric lattes!)

Alot of spices out there can be really good for your body, but they need to be “activated” in order for you to benefit from them. 

Turmeric, in this case, can be activated by a number of things, including pepper.

So, not only are you getting a healthy spice blend in each spoonful, but you are also actually getting to reap the benefits of the spices due to the other ingredients in the blends!

For full transparency and ease of access, you can find all of the ingredients for each item are listed on the Health & World Being website.

Ingredient Transparency

Each ingredient used in the drink pastes are certified organic with common ingredients being ground ginger, black tea, ground cinnamon, star anise and cardamom pods.

Beyond being organic, the two original drink pastes, Turmeric and Masala chai, are both additionally certified vegan products.

The pastes additionally stay low calorie and low in sugar with the Chili Cocoa drink paste boasting only 114 Kj (27 Cal) and around 5.6 g of natural sugars per 9 grams (about 1 serve) used.

Thoughts on the Chili Cocoa Drink Paste

I came across the Sticky Blends booth one morning at the Kalbarri Holiday markets.

As an avid chocolate lover, I decided to try the Chili Cocoa drink paste.

The paste itself is much thicker than I expected so the recommended boiling water is definitely needed when dissolving the paste into your drink of choice.

Alternatively, if you’re more of a cold drink lover, you can mix the drink paste into boiling water and then refrigerate it for later to use as you please!

I ended up using the paste in a few different ways:

  • Mexican Hot Chocolate
  • Mocha
  • Chili Cocoa Tea

I Initially added the drink paste to my coffee and was greeted with very bold chili flavors. After a bit of research, I found I had used twice as much drink paste as I was supposed to, which explained the spiciness. 

After properly following the instructions and only using 1/2 tsp per 8oz of milk/water, the chocolate and chili flavors were nicely balanced, providing a much “warmer” feeling drink.

Flavor Notes:

  • Strong chili
  • Mild chocolate
  • Hint of cinnamon (specifically in tea form)

This drink paste is absolutely delicious added to coffee, hot chocolate, or on its own. The cinnamon in the spice mix added a layer of warmth and comfort that would be perfect on a chilly night. 

If you want a bit more of the spice kick I initially experienced, try adding 1 tsp of the paste to your drink of choice.

Summary: My Recommendations & The Future of Sticky Blends

The Future of Sticky Blends

After speaking to the creator of Sticky Blends, the future looks bright for the company as they hope to keep expanding in the coming years.

Thankfully, this is not a case of, “you need to be located in western Australia to purchase this product!”

Sticky Blends does have an online store through the Health and World Being website. You can bulk buy or just pick one or two you want to try.

You can also follow the Sticky Blends Facebook page to find them at markets around the coral coast in WA just like I did.

My Recommendation

As someone who drinks tea occasionally but doesn’t dabble with strong spiced flavors, I was very impressed by the Chili Cocoa drink paste I tried.

I think the company has accomplished exactly what they had hoped by creating a delicious and clean product.

It was a step outside my coffee comfort zone but the most important thing for me is being able to add the benefits of the spices to my morning routine.

I would definitely recommend trying out the chili cocoa drink paste if you want to add an extra kick to your favorite drink or just love a warm drink on a cold night.

The serving size is an additional bonus as you can get around 200 servings from one jar of the paste, making it a great “bang-for-your-buck” 

As for the other drink pastes, I would recommend giving them a try as well as I have confidence that they will be great based off of my experience 🙂

Note: I’ll update this review if I have the chance to try more of the product line!

That’s all for today guys! As always, I hope you have a fantastic rest of your day and thank you for reading todays review. Happy Procaffinating!

Have you tried Sticky Blends before? Leave a comment to share your experience!


Black vs. White Coffee: Which is right for you?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the easiest way to avoid having a bad coffee is to know which one you will like.

The way to do this? Learning the basics of coffee. Like every other subject, coffee can be broken down into many smaller categories: such as roast type, espresso, drip coffee and so on.

I’m going to be completely honest and say that I initially thought white coffee was just another term to talk about lattes, flat whites & other milk drinks. but it is far from it!

Today we will be learning about the 3 main roast categories and specifically what white coffee is.

There will also be some common flavor notes for the main roasts on the market to help you decide which roast might be the best for you!

So, without further ado…

Black Vs. White Coffee: What's the difference?

Now, before we get into discussing anything, you need to learn about the process of roasting coffee beans. Hint: It’s the most important step in making coffee

Coffee Roasting & The Most Common Roasts

The coffee roasting process is one of the most important steps in creating a great tasting cup of coffee.

Without this process, the coffee beans would stay green (yes, green!) and would have no taste, smell, or pretty much any flavor profile.

The flavors & smell that coffee lovers adore, comes majorly from the roasting process.

The roasting process can be incredibly complex as it varies from roaster to roaster and essentially is a giant chemistry project to make great coffee.

So, to start, we are going to take a quick peek into the three main coffee roasts to see how they are roasted. This will set the baseline for talking about black and white coffee late on.

Do you already know about the coffee roasting process? Click here to skip learn about white coffee!

The Three "Pillar" Coffee Bean Roasts

 

The majority of coffee on the market will fall into three main roast categories: light roast, medium roast, and a darker roast.

There are many more types of coffee beans that fall into sub-categories of these three.

For instance, you will find your city or cinnamon roasts in the light roast category. But for the most part these are going to be your three most commonly seen roasts on the market.

 

 

The coffee roasting process only begins after the harvested beans are processed and dried. After this has been done, the green coffee beans will be placed in roaster.

The amount of time the beans are roasted depends solely on the type of roast the company is trying to achieve.

In general, the green beans are roasted anywhere from 356 to 482 degrees Fahrenheit over a period of 7 to 20 minutes. As you might expect, the longer the beans stay in the heater, the darker the roast it will be.

Note: Black coffee is defined as a dark roast or darker roasted bean.

During this roasting period, a chemical reaction, called the Maillard reaction, takes place between the sugars and amino acids in the unroasted coffee beans.

This reaction creates the delicious flavors we coffee drinkers know and love!

Note: If you want to learn about the nitty gritty of coffee roasting and more about the Maillard reaction, check out the following posts & videos!

Now, a very important point in this roasting process is called the first crack.

At around 385 F, a cracking noise will occur when a lot of the moisture inside the beans has evaporated and needs to escape. 

This first crack is important to roasters as the coffee beans have approached the stage of being a light roast once it happens.

The iconic groove you see on coffee beans is from the cracks during the roasting process!

 

Now, because the beans are roasted for different periods of time, the flavors vary from roast to roast. Acidity and bitterness are two major flavors that change with how long the beans are roasted.

Below is a breakdown of the flavor basics for each main roast.

P.S. this is a great way to see which type of coffee you may like! I personally hate acidic coffee so I almost never go for a light roast.

  • Light Roast Coffee: roasted at about 356-401 F for 5-7 minutes
    • least bitter
    • more “origin characteristics” (unique flavors from the area the coffee beans were grown)
  • Medium Roast: roasted at about 410-428 F for 8-10 minutes
    • a middle ground for acidity and bitterness!
    • bright flavor profiles
  • Dark Roast Coffee: roasted between 464-482 F for 12-15 minutes
    • most likely to have a strong bitter taste
    • many dark roasts taste similar as the origin characteristics are lost due to the high heat
    • Produces oily, black beans depending on how dark the roast is

What is white coffee & where did it come from?

White coffee beans

Now that we’ve covered the basics of roasting and the most popular roasts, what exactly is white coffee?

I was surprised to find out that white coffee isn’t a type of drink like a latte or flat white.

Instead, white coffee is a roast of coffee that is even lighter than a light roast coffee.

Like I said earlier, there are the three main roasts when it comes to coffee, but there are many coffees that fall within or outside of these roasts. White coffee is a great example of this!

This extremely lightly roasted coffee originated in the middle east in Yemen, back in the early 1900’s, and was initially combined with hawaji, a spice mix from Yemen.

Hawaji, made up of cardamon, turmeric, cinnamon and more, deepens the nutty flavors of the drink while adding an earthy component as well.

If you want to try out Hawaji for yourself, you can find a great recipe here!

White coffee is typically only roasted at low temperatures, between 300 and 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and only for 5 to 6 minutes.

Now, the beans do undergo some of the roasting process, hence the color change from green to white, but they are taken out of the roaster before that important first crack.

What does white coffee taste like?

Now, as we mentioned, the beans don’t undergo “first crack” with white coffee, so unlike your typical coffee beans, white coffee has a unique flavor profile that is much more consistent, and subtle.

White coffee has been known to be more acidic than other coffee roasts and also have a nutty flavor component to the roast as mentioned before.

Due to the short roasting process, this roast has almost no bitter aftertaste to it!

I personally have yet to try white coffee so these flavor notes are based off of other people’s experiences and research, but hopefully I will get my hands on some soon!

Although I have yet to come across white coffee in my day-to-day life, the better health benefits of white coffee and increased caffeine content have helped popularity grow over the years.

Let’s go back and talk about that important roasting process now. There are two more topics that come into play with the popularity of white coffee: caffeine content and chlorogenic acid.

Caffeine Content

Remember when I talked about how the first crack happens because of some liquids in the green coffee beans evaporate and need to escape?

The caffeine in the coffee beans makes up some of the liquid that evaporates as the beans are heated.

Therefore, when the beans undergo a shorter roasting time, the higher the caffeine content will be.

White beans will have a higher caffeine content as they are roasted at a much lower temperature for a short amount of time. Comparatively, black coffee beans are roasted at higher temperatures for longer. Thus, more caffeine evaporates, and you are left with less caffeine in your cup of coffee.

Now although there is a difference in the caffeine levels, it is not drastic.

According to Latte Love Brew, the difference in how much caffeine is in a normal espresso shot vs a white coffee espresso shot is only around 4mg of caffeine.

but hey! when you’re looking for a caffeine kick, an additional 4mg doesn’t hurt!

Chlorogenic Acid

While you may have not heard about this ingredient in coffee beans, you probably have heard of the term antioxidants.

Antioxidants are found in a variety of healthy foods that you and I probably try and eat on a normal bases, such as fruit, veggies, whole grains and so on.

The antioxidants found in these foods are known to help your body stay healthy by fighting off free radicals.

Free radicals, or unstable atoms can occur in the body from a variety of things such as smoking and alcohol and can cause damage to the healthy cells in your body over time.

Some health issues that have been linked to free radicals going rogue are:

So obviously making sure you have enough antioxidants in your diet is important!

Fortunately, chlorogenic acid is one among them, giving coffee an excellent source of antioxidants.

The chlorogenic acid content in coffee, like the caffeine content, drops as the beans are roasted. As a result, lighter roast coffee has more antioxidants.

This just means that white coffee and other light roasts, aid in weight loss and have more health advantages over darker roasts of coffee.

So, you want to try it... where can you find it?

While you can try to hunt it down in your local coffee shop or grocery store, your best bet for a guaranteed find will be buying it online or at a specialty roaster.

Now, since I haven’t tried white coffee myself, I unfortunately have none to recommend, but Brew Smartly has put together a great list of their 5 recommended white coffee beans for 2023 that you can read here.

If you don’t feel like reading another article, here is a summary of a few of their recommended beans!

Note: The unique roasting process makes white coffee beans much harder and dense than regular coffee beans. Because of this you will need to have a special coffee grinder if you purchase a non-grounded bag of beans. I came across this article that has a great step-by-step guide on how to brew the best white coffee at home.

Final thoughts on the differences between white and black coffee

The roasting process has so much influence over how the flavor of your cup of coffee will develop. The caffeine content, although slight, does change with the roasting process as well as the acidity and bitterness the beans will produce.

Below is a side by side comparison of the main differences between white and black coffee!

White coffee is an extremely light roast that undergoes substantially less time in the roaster than other roasts of beans, creating a distinct nutty flavor that many people love.

The additional antioxidants found in white coffee only adds to the appeal and this roast has been officially added onto my list of new coffee drinks to try!

I hope you give it a try if you come across it, and if you do, drop a comment below to share your experience!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read today’s post! If you want to learn a bit more about the world of coffee check out these related articles:

if you haven’t already, check out the Procaffinator Instagram here for cafe review & coffee content!

I hope you have a great rest of your day and keep on procaffinating! 🙂