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The Challenges of Brewing White Coffee


What is White Coffee?
White Coffee is under roasted coffee beans. 

If you are considering serving White Coffee, there will be a few equipment challenges to be aware of.  White Coffee is not like, well, coffee. Great tasting hot or cold, White Coffee has some characteristics that are nothing like traditionally roasted coffee. If you choose to brew your White Coffee with an espresso machine, you will need to carefully consider the equipment you use and take specific measures when brewing.


Some find White Coffee Offensive.
White coffee smells and tastes very different from conventionally roasted coffee beans. The flavor and aroma are distinct, and many find White Coffee to have a rancid smell or taste. The residue from White Coffee easily contaminates the espresso machine’s brewing group because it is difficult to rinse out. The result, for you and some customers, is a negative effect on your other roast(s). Traditional espresso group cleaners are developed to remove the oily residue from roasted coffee beans, however because White Coffee does not have the same attributes of traditionally roasted beans, group cleaners do not work as well. To maintain product quality, consider a smaller espresso machine dedicated solely to the brewing of this special menu item. If this is not possible, committing a single group of your espresso machine is another strategy you should consider. Be cautious though as White Coffee can be damaging to espresso machine parts. 

White Coffee should not be brewed with an automatic espresso machine.
White Coffee tends to have a deteriorating effect on metals as well as other espresso machine parts. A coffee or espresso grinder does not work because White Coffee easily damages burrs, so for convenience, White Coffee is pre-ground using a spice grinder. Technicians have noted that it pits brass. It is never advisable to use White Coffee with an automatic (super-automatic or fully-automatic) espresso machine. An obvious reason is cross contamination, but White Coffee also easily adheres to silicon tubing, causing blockages. The espresso machine’s brew unit experiences uncommon strain caused by the additional expansion of the coffee. For automatic expresso machines with plastic brewing pistons, the pistons fail much faster if exposed to white coffee. 


Here are a few additional tips for baristas working with White Coffee

  • Do not over-fill your brew basket. White Coffee swells and expands a lot. It has even been known to split brew baskets.
  • Be attentive when removing your port-a-filter. As your White Coffee swells, it loosens and at the same time takes a hold (grips) your group screen. If not careful, the screen, screw and diffuser can be easily twisted off when the port-a-filter is removed, all ending up somewhere in your trash bin.
  • Remember to keep screens tight and make sure there are no gaps. It is easy for White Coffee to find its way into group chambers, and valves. Taking care with your screen will help prevent valves from being stuck open or drain ports from being clogged.


Although White Coffee is not for everyone, for those who do appreciate its flavor will be grateful that you've included it on your menu.  By developing best practices and taking precautions, you'll save yourself frustration and money, and you'll be a huge hit in your community.

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