If you’ve been to a supermarket recently, there’s no doubt you’ve seen the wide variety of flours available. These days, you can get your pick of wheat-free flours ranging from almond flour to cricket flour (yes, that kind of cricket!).
Now there’s a new one to try. Packed with nutrients, coffee flour is the newest gluten-free flour to hit the scene. Is it right for you?
What Is Coffee Flour?
So what is coffee flour? There are actually two types of coffee flour. The first is made from coffee cherries. Coffee plants produce fruits known as cherries, which are edible. Cherries contain the coffee beans you’re already familiar with. But once the beans are extracted, the rest of the cherry is discarded. Until now, that is. Now, the leftover cherries are being ground into flour. This is how CoffeeFlour™, a trademarked brand, is made.
The second type of coffee flour is probably closer to what you had in mind when hearing “coffee flour.” See, coffee beans have a ton of antioxidants in them, but the high-heat roasting process, which turns them into the beans you know and love, removes much of those benefits — we’re talking about half. (1)
To retain more of the good stuff, in this second method, coffee beans are roasted at about 300F instead of the usual 425–450F. This dries the beans out a bit, making them easier to turn into flour, while also sanitizing them and ridding them of a super bitter, coffee-y taste. (2) What’s left is par-baked coffee flour, perfect for including in your favorite recipes.
Though this kind of flour isn’t readily available yet, it’s likely on the way to shelves soon.
4 Benefits of Coffee Flour
Coffee flour definitely sounds cool, but is it actually beneficial? While you probably know about some of coffee nutrition facts, what about coffee flour? Here’s why you might want to add coffee flour to your pantry. (Please note, this is for cherry-made coffee flour).
1. It’s low in fat.
Cutting back on fat? Coffee flour has about half the fat as traditional flour. (3) But if you already stick to just gluten-free flours, it’s a welcome change as well. Most gluten-free flours tend to be high in fat because they’re made from seeds and nuts. Coffee flour is lower in fat than almond and coconut flours, the most widely used grain-free flours.
Of course, if you’re following a keto diet, low-fat flour isn’t a concern. But if you prefer getting your fats from other sources, like avocados or coconut oil, coffee flour is a nice alternative.
2. It’s packed with fiber.
One of the key selling points for coffee flour is that it’s packed with fiber. Just one tablespoon has 5.2 grams of fiber, including 1.8 grams of soluble fiber and 3.4 grams of insoluble fiber.
A high-fiber diet is what you want. Soluble fiber slows down digestion by attracting water. This is the kind of fiber that helps you lose weight, because it keeps food from digesting too quickly, helping you to feel full for longer. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, bulks up your stool, helping to keep you going to the bathroom regularly. Ideally, you want both types of fiber, and coffee flour brings it.
3. It’s more sustainable.
One of the cool parts about coffee flour is that it gives a second life to parts of the coffee plant that are normally discarded once the bean is removed. On average, 100 to 200 pounds of coffee cherries produce 20 to 40 pounds of beans. (4) That’s a significant amount of fruit that usually isn’t used.
4. It’s versatile.
While coffee flour can replace only between 10–20 percent of normal flour in recipes, it’s slightly nutty taste goes well with a lot of baked goods, like muffins, cakes, cookies and pastries. You can even add a tablespoon to your morning smoothie for a fiber boost and extra flavor.
What Diets Coffee Flour Works With
The good news is that coffee flour works with pretty much any diet. Vegan, Paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian — coffee flour fits into all these diets. Best of all, coffee flour is becoming more common and easy to find where you do your normal shopping. While CoffeeFlour™ is the original, other retailers are starting to carry their own versions. You can find coffee flour at places like Trader Joe’s and online at Amazon quite easily.
Despite its name, coffee flour won’t leave you buzzing; it’s got about as much caffeine as a piece of dark chocolate. That said, if you eat something with coffee flour and dark chocolate in it, you could be reaching cup-of-coffee levels, which isn’t something you want later in the day.
Most coffee flours aren’t organic, either. That’s important, because coffee crops are some of the most widely sprayed with pesticides in the world. (5) If you don’t drink organic coffee, this might not be such a big concern, but if you’re looking to move from pesticides and toward a more natural lifestyle, this could be a concern.
Finally, while coffee flour is nutritious, as I mentioned earlier, you can’t completely cut out other flours in your baking, so it’s not going to magically turn your chocolate chip cookies into a health food.
It will also likely take some experimenting to figure out how much coffee flour to include in recipes, and which ones the flour is best suited for; because it does add a slightly bitter, nutty taste, some treats will taste better with it than others. Coffee flour also turns your baked goods a darker color, which is something to keep in mind if you’re baking for a special occasion or are trying to achieve a particular look.
Overall, however, coffee flour can be a great way to boost the nutritional value of recipes without sacrificing too much on flavor. When cooking and baking, it’s all about having options, and coffee flour provides just one more gluten-free alternative to use when you’re baking.
- Coffee flour is a gluten-free alternative to other flours on the market.
- There are two types of coffee flour, though the one you’ll find in stores is made from coffee cherries. It uses the discarded part of the coffee plant that gets left behind when the beans are extracted.
- Coffee flour is much lower in fat than other flours, including gluten-free varieties like almond and coconut.
- It’s full of fiber and nutrients, and is sustainable, using parts of the coffee plant that would normally be discarded.
- Coffee flour has about as much caffeine as a bar of dark chocolate.
- It’s advised that you replace between 10 and 20 percent of your normal flour with coffee flour; too much more and you will wind up with a totally different food.