Black Coffee vs White Coffee – What Is The Difference?

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This article will point out the distinctions between black coffee vs. white coffee in terms of the roasting process, how they taste, caffeine content, and more.

Technically, the main difference between these two coffee varieties is how they were roasted. Different temperatures and roasting duration result in different characteristics of white and dark coffee.

What Is Black Coffee?

It is a general misconception that black coffee is the liquid that comes from adding water to ground coffee beans without any additives added. 

It’s more about the roasts than the brew itself. Black coffee is technically roasted at a high temperature for a long period to achieve dark, shiny shells and a more intense, charcoal-like taste. 

These coffee beans have been carefully roasted to reduce acidity while also improving the roast character. There will be less bitter aftertaste, and the coffee will be more well-balanced.

While white coffee is popular for its amazing compatibility with additives like milk and sugar, black coffee lets you taste the actual thing and stands out on its own.

What Is White Coffee?

While you may believe that white coffee is just coffee mixed with milk, this is not the case. White coffee refers to the type of beans used in the brewing process and how they were prepared. It is a milder roast than regular coffee. 

It has a pale, white color and a nutty flavor due to being roasted halfway through the process. Its flavor is less acidic and harsh since it is gently roasted, although it might have a sour undertone.

The optimal temperature for roasting white coffee is 325 degrees Fahrenheit. When thoroughly brewed, it creates a beige, creamy-colored beverage. 

Brewing Process

Black Coffee

There are several methods for brewing black roasts, but two of the most common are using the drip technique and a French press.

Drip Technique

Ground coffee is placed in a paper filter placed above a glass container to produce black coffee using the drip technique. After that, you pour hot water into the filter containing the ground coffee and wait for the coffee extracts, and drip into the container below it.

The benefit of making coffee with the drip technique is that it is simple and affordable. However, controlling the strength of the coffee might be more challenging since it is only impossible to adjust the pace of the extraction by adjusting the grind size. It’s hard to control the pace at which the water extracts the coffee grounds.

French Press

The advantage of making coffee in a french press is that you have more control over the strength of the coffee. 

The traditional French Press is renowned for producing consistent, filled black coffee. The pro tips below will help you make the best brew using a French Press:

  • Darker roasts necessitate a lower and colder water temperature. The brew will easily over-extract and taste harsh if the water is too hot.
  • Water at a higher temperature is required for lighter roasts. Because light roasts are denser, they require more heat to extract their flavors.
  • Slow and steady is the way to go! Allow 45 to 1 minute for plunging at all times. Too quick of a plunge will result in a grainy cup.
  • A few stirs of the brew just before plunging minimizes sourness in lighter to medium roasts.
  • When using darker roasts, do not stir before plunging since this coffee has a minimal sourness, and this will bring out over-extracted charcoal flavors.

White Coffee

There are a few things to keep in mind while brewing white roast. First, ensure you’re using authentic white beans. True white roast is generally not easy on your grinder. 

Due to the short roasting duration, the beans are harder to grind than their black peers. It is advisable to use the pre-ground alternative from a trustable supplier so you won’t risk damaging your grinder.

The most popular brewing style for white coffee is espresso. A high espresso coffee maker is ideal for extracting its mild flavor. Otherwise, regular methods like using a pour-over or filter coffee maker will make the brew taste rather weak.

Black Coffee Vs. White Coffee: What Are The Main Differences?

Roasting Temperatures

In comparison to black coffee, white coffee is roasted at a lower temperature. Because of this, some people call it “half-baked”. White coffee is typically roasted at a temperature of approximately 325 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, black coffee undergoes a roasting stage at 450 to 480 degrees Fahrenheit.

Acidity

Anyone who has had a cup of black coffee knows how acidic it is. But have you ever wondered why? The answer lies in the roast.

Similar to caffeine, the longer the coffee beans are roasted, the less acidic they get. Extended roasting periods and higher temperatures also break down the oil inside the beans. The oil is partly responsible for the acidity level of the coffee.

The oil is not broken down as much in white coffee due to the shorter roasting duration. For that reason, white coffee is less acidic and retains more of its chlorogenic acid – a potent antioxidant.

Chlorogenic acid has numerous health advantages. It lowers the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes and aids in weight reduction. White coffee is gentle on the stomach and beneficial to your health.

Read more: Does heating cold brew coffee make it acidic?

Caffeine Content

The longer the beans sit in the roaster, the more caffeine they lose. For roasting white coffee, low heat and a short roasting duration are preferable, meaning that the beans can retain the majority of their caffeine. On the other hand, black coffee has been subjected to high heat for a longer period, so it has lower caffeine content.

Taste

There are no additives used in the roasting of white coffee, ensuring the sugar of the beans is not scorched. You can enjoy the quality of the genuine beans with minimal acidity by using low temperatures, shorter roast periods, and no chemicals.

However, this is not something that everyone desires. Some coffee drinkers like the distinct nuances that black coffee has to offer. For newcomers, black coffee may not be the best option since the taste might be quite powerful and overwhelming.

While white coffee has a distinct flavor profile, its black counterparts feature a wide range of distinct flavors. White coffee typically has a nutty flavor with mild bitterness and noticeable acidity. 

The roasting procedure for white coffee beans is what gives the coffee its distinct flavor. For starters, unlike black beans roasted at higher temperatures, the bean’s inherent sugars are not caramelized. 

It means that white beans have no bitter aftertaste. The coffee also has a strong acidic taste since there’s no evaporation of organic acids from the beans.

Aroma

The oils and other chemicals inside the beans create coffee aromas. The scent of white coffee is smooth, natural, and rich, and it will leave you wanting more.

On the other hand, black coffee has more bitterness in the taste that might occasionally manifest itself in the air. Some individuals like the stronger aroma of black coffee, while others prefer the lighter scent of its white counterpart.

Calories

Many people are concerned about their weight, and keeping track of daily intake of calories can assist in weight reduction. That’s why many coffee lovers want to know how many calories their coffee contains. The good news is: coffee is virtually calorie-free! 

While white coffee doesn’t have many calories, it usually goes hand in hand with plenty of sugar, milk, and creamers. 

Although these extra products enhance the taste and balance out the acidity, they increase the calories you consume. You probably want to cut out these additives from your brew; however, white coffee does not perform well on its own. 

If losing weight is your goal, you could cut down on the amount of milk or sugar, or you can switch to pure black coffee for the amazing taste.

Is White Coffee Healthier Than Black Coffee?

Because of its low roasting temperature, many coffee manufacturers always praise white roast coffee as a health elixir. Light roasting, according to proponents, results in a higher concentration of chlorogenic acid.

It’s an antioxidant molecule that protects against cardiovascular disease and reduces inflammation. This information is accurate, but not to the point where switching from black coffee is worthwhile if you don’t love the beverage.

Conclusion

That’s all about our black coffee vs. white coffee comparison. In a nutshell, black coffee is any coffee that has been roasted for an extended period and produces a dark-colored brew. White coffee undergoes a different roasting process and delivers a light-colored brew.

Unlike black coffee, which you can use for making any coffee brew, white coffee is ideal for preparing espresso drinks.

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Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California, Berkeley. And then, I finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). ugvermont.com is a website that I dedicate my whole heart to sharing all knowledge related to coffee. Read more