How Green Coffee Differs From Roasted Coffee

The coffee that we drink every day is not the coffee that is picked on the coffee farm. We are used to roasted coffee. Coffee roasting produces most of the coffee flavor and aroma that we are used to. How green coffee differs from roasted coffee is not just about flavor and aroma. It is about the health aspects of drinking coffee and the constituents in green that are lost when coffee is roasted. Where you may have heard about green coffee is likely in regard to weight loss programs or in advertisements by folks who sell health supplements. If you go to the grocery store to buy your coffee you will find roasted and virtually never any green coffee.

How to Find Green Coffee

Coffee is grown in the tropics. The only place in the USA where they grow coffee is in the islands of Hawaii. Hawaii is the southernmost state of the USA located at the same latitude as the northernmost coffee growing regions of Mexico or Cuba. If you live in the state of Hawaii you could drive up the mountains to a coffee farm and buy green coffee at the source. The vast majority of green coffee that goes beyond the farm is that which is shipped to roasters across the world. A very tiny amount of green coffee is purchased by those who intend to market it as such and that rarely includes your local grocery store. It might be possible to buy some green coffee at your local coffee shop as they typically roast enough each day to make coffee for their customers. However, their profit comes from selling the roasted and brewed coffee end product and not from wholesaling green coffee.

Green Coffee Beans Before and After Removal of Husk
Green Coffee Beans Before and After Removal of Husk

What Is Green Coffee?

When coffee ripens and is ready to pick it is typically red or even yellow. That is the color of the cherry, the fruit that surrounds the coffee seed or bean. When coffee is processed on the farm the first thing is that the fruit is removed and then the bean is threshed in order to remove the husk that surrounds it. That is what is shipped around the world to coffee roasted and simply referred to as coffee. When you are reading about green coffee extract, they are referring to the unroasted coffee bean, the same thing that the roaster used to make the coffee you typically drink. The difference with green coffee for direct consumption is that the green coffee bean is ground up and not the roasted coffee bean.

What Is Green Coffee Like?

Most of the flavor and aroma we are used to with our morning coffee comes from roasting the coffee beans. Anyone who drinks brewed green coffee typically will not immediately identify it as coffee. It has a milder taste and what some folks refer to as a “grassy” taste similar to some herbal teas. However, it is more acidic than an herbal tea and also more acidic than roasted coffee. It also does not look like regular coffee. It is more of a yellow or even greenish color. More importantly, the chemical constituents in green coffee differ from those in roasted coffee.

Green Versus Roasted Coffee Constituent Differences

Green coffee contains lots of chlorogenic acids which are powerful antioxidants. These healthy ingredients are found in other foods like tomatoes, blueberries, or eggplants but green coffee beans have the highest levels of all of them. Because the bulk of the health benefits from coffee come from its antioxidants we are justified in expecting that green coffee will have the same or greater health benefits. One of the major effects of roasting green coffee is the reduction of levels of chlorogenic acids. This process produces most of the aroma and flavor that we associate with coffee and even produces some new antioxidants. But the total effect is a reduction in antioxidants when coffee is roasted. Another effect of roasting is a slight reduction of caffeine as one goes from a light to a dark roast.

Is Green Coffee Good for You?

The reduction in risk of getting type II diabetes from drinking coffee is well documented. The same benefit comes from green coffee as from roasted coffee beans. There is some preliminary evidence that green coffee consumption helps reduce high blood pressure and better evidence that it helps reduce high cholesterol levels. Because green coffee is so similar and perhaps a better antioxidant than regular coffee we might assume that other coffee benefits such as reductions in risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases as well as various forms of cancer would occur with green coffee as well. However, the studies that have demonstrated so many health benefits have been done for decades with tens of thousands of people. No such data exists for green coffee consumption so, while we may assume these benefits to be the case, there is no hard proof.

Does Green Coffee Help You Lose Weight?

Where most folks seem to have heard about green coffee is in relation to losing weight. Is this a viable reason to drink green coffee? This idea came from animal studies and has not been replicated in humans. As such, the best that we can say in relation to green coffee and weight loss is that it probably will not hurt to try it but don’t be surprised if it does not help.

Problems With Green Coffee

Green coffee has a slightly higher caffeine content than brewed roasted coffee. As such folks who get heartburn, anxiety, or a boost in their blood pressure from regular coffee may have the same problems with green coffee or even a bit more. However, there are no reported, hidden, or dangerous effects from consuming green coffee.

The Best Green Coffee Comes From the Best Coffee Beans

If you are serious about your coffee and want to try out green coffee, look for high quality arabica coffee from Colombia. If you want your green coffee directly from the source, contact us at for coffee direct from the source in Colombia.

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