What Is Green Coffee? The Possible Benefits & Risks
Most people are only familiar with roasted coffee beans, the most common type in the java world, and what we all use to make coffee. But before coffee beans are roasted and packaged, they are known as green coffee. Raw, unroasted coffee beans are (yes, you guessed it) green.
Raw coffee beans can be used to brew java, too. While the resulting brew doesn’t taste anything like that dark brown, rich cup of joe you’re used to drinking, a compound not found in roasted beans means green coffee may offer serious health credentials.
Recent research into the health benefits of green coffee beans is promising. Although more research is needed, the health community is buzzing about this latest find. So does green coffee live up to the hype?
To find out, let’s take a closer look at raw green coffee and green coffee extract:
What Is Green Coffee? A Green Coffee 101
Green coffee is raw, unroasted coffee beans. Those beans are harvested from cherries, the coffee plant’s small, red fruit. Once the fruit’s skin and parchment skin is removed, all that’s left is the green coffee bean.
Most coffee beans go on to be roasted, which gives them different flavors depending on the roasting method. In contrast, raw coffee beans are picked, cleaned, and processed, just not roasted.
One of the benefits of green coffee appears to be an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound known as chlorogenic acid, which is mostly depleted during the roasting process. Early research shows that chlorogenic acid may act as a weight loss aid and help lower blood pressure.
Green Coffee Versus Roasted Coffee Beans
While both green coffee and roasted coffee can be used to brew beverages, there aren’t many similarities between the two. Like regular roasted coffee, raw coffee can be purchased pre-ground or in whole bean form, however, that’s where the similarities stop:
Most of coffee’s flavor comes from the roasting process, but as raw coffee isn’t roasted, there’s a stark difference in flavors. Green coffee is said to taste more like green tea than java. Its flavor is milder and more acidic, while its color resembles amber, with maybe a tinge of green. If you’re expecting dark, rich flavors, you’ll be disappointed.
While green coffee beans and ground green coffee appear to be less expensive than the roasted version, the same is not necessarily true for green coffee extract. However, green coffee extract isn’t as expensive as other extracts marketed as health and weight loss supplements.
Brewing green coffee isn’t dissimilar to brewing the roasted version. You can purchase it pre-ground, grind your own beans, or even use whole raw coffee beans.
When using ground green coffee, you’ll need to steep the grounds in very hot water (but not boiling) for about 10 minutes, which is longer than regular roasted coffee steeps. Much like filtered coffee, you should drain your beverage before drinking.
If you want to use whole green coffee beans without grinding them, you can do that but it takes time. Soak the beans in water overnight. The next morning, heat your mixture of beans and water until it’s boiling, then let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Let it cool, strain it, then drink up.
Green Coffee Extract 101
Green coffee bean extract is the reason why so many people are interested in green coffee these days. As the name suggests, it’s the liquid extracted from green coffee beans. You may have already heard about it, as this same extract is used in the Swiss water decaffeination process, which you can read more about here.
You’ll find green coffee extract in powdered form and capsules, both of which are intended for use as health supplements. Proponents often add the powder to water, shakes, or smoothies.
Green coffee extract does contain caffeine, but the amount can vary dramatically, depending on the product or manufacturer. It could have more or less caffeine than regular coffee.
While it appears relatively safe, green coffee extract contains caffeine, and there are risks associated with consuming too much ‘boost juice.’ Some animal studies have also linked green coffee to negative effects on bone health.
There is currently no recommended optimal dose because there’s a lack of research.
Does Green Coffee Extract Help You Lose Weight?
Several small studies have shown that green coffee extract may help people lose weight, ward off certain medical conditions, and lower blood pressure. However, these studies were too small to establish any definitive links, and more research is needed.
Is Green Coffee Good for You?
Green coffee may offer additional health benefits courtesy of chlorogenic acid, a compound that is depleted during the roasting process. Early research suggests chlorogenic acid may function as a weight-loss tool and help lower blood pressure.
However, these claims are yet to be confirmed through additional research. In addition, dietary supplements in the United States are largely unregulated by government agencies, so it’s important to do your own research about the potential side effects of green coffee. Of course, you should also discuss any supplements with your doctor.
Green coffee is raw coffee. It is picked and the coffea fruit’s layers are removed to reveal the beans inside. Raw coffee is not roasted, which allows it to maintain high levels of chlorogenic acid, a compound that may help people lose weight and lower blood pressure.
What is green coffee bean extract good for? While raw coffee and green coffee extract have been promoted as having lots of health benefits, the jury is still out on whether that’s actually true.
It’s believed that raw coffee is relatively safe, although it does contain caffeine, so the risks of consuming too much caffeine remain the same. Do your own research and consider giving it a try!
What Is Green Coffee? FAQs
Is It Safe to Drink Green Coffee?
There’s been nothing so far to suggest that drinking green coffee is unsafe. It does contain caffeine, though, so use the same measures you would with regular roasted java to avoid consuming too much caffeine.
Does Green Coffee Taste Like Regular Coffee?
Green coffee does not taste remotely like regular coffee, it has a milder, more acidic flavor than the roasted version. Many people think it actually tastes more like green tea than regular coffee.
Are Green Coffee Beans Poisonous?
Raw green coffee beans are not poisonous, and you can safely brew coffee with these beans — just don’t expect the brew to taste like regular coffee.
Who Should Not Take Green Coffee?
People who are sensitive to caffeine should avoid raw coffee and green coffee extract as both are caffeinated. Consult with your doctor if you have other health issues, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding before adding green coffee to your diet.
Can You Buy Raw Coffee Beans?
Yes, you can buy raw coffee beans and grind them yourself. You can even brew coffee with whole raw beans and skip the grinding part. Check out the method for brewing whole raw beans above.
What Does Green Bean Coffee Extract Do?
Some studies suggest that green coffee extract may help people lose weight and lower their blood pressure, but more research is needed.
Do Green Coffee Beans Have Caffeine?
The caffeine levels in green coffee beans varies according to the type of coffee, whether it’s Robusta or Arabica, for instance, but green coffee beans do have caffeine.
What Are the Side Effects of Green Coffee?
Both raw coffee and green coffee extract appear to be harmless enough for human consumption, so in safe doses, the side effects are negligible and related to caffeine content.
That said, some research suggests that green coffee extract may cause bone density issues in animals, but this has not been confirmed through further trials.