Recent studies have shown the many health benefits of your daily cup of joe, but there could soon be a new way to enjoy the health benefits of coffee. US Inventor Dan Perlman, from Brandeis University, has now developed what is believed to be a new, healthier way to roast coffee beans, resulting in a parbaked bean which, rather than producing a drink, produces coffee flour.
Previous research has shown that as well as its much-appreciated taste, there are many health benefits to be enjoyed from coffee.
A 2015 study from Harvard University showed that three to five cups of coffee a day can protect against serious health risks such as heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and even suicide, while another 2015 study from the Dana-Farber Cancer Centre in Boston, USA, found that drinking four or more cups of coffee a day can help protect against colon cancer.
Although it is not yet clear what exactly causes the health benefits, it is thought to be a compound called chlorogenic acid (CGA) which has antioxidant properties.
However the traditional roasting method used on the beans, which involves heating them to temperatures above 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205°C) for between 10 to 15 minutes, causes the levels of CGA to fall dramatically.
Using this information, Perlman decided to experiment with roasting green coffee beans for varying amounts of times and temperatures to try and preserve the levels of CGA in the beans.
After some tests, he found that roasting the beans at 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150°C) for approximately 10 minutes left the concentration of CGA virtually unchanged, resulting in his new invention of the parbaked coffee bean.
However there is a catch for coffee lovers: the parbaked coffee bean can't be used to make coffee. As the new method involves a lower temperature and a shorter time, it just isn't roasted for long enough to develop the coffee flavour that consumers crave.
But Perlman has managed to use the beans to make a nutritious and versatile coffee flour.
By cryogenically milling the beans, which involves chilling the bean using ultra-cold liquid nitrogen and then finely grinding it into smaller particles, the health benefits of the bean are preserved, and the end result is a fine, coffee flour.
With an apparently nutty, pleasant taste, Perlman believes the flour can be used as both a food ingredient and a nutritional supplement. It can be blended with regular flours to add a nutritional boost to baking, and easily added to soups, juices, and smoothies, giving even non-coffee drinkers many ways to reap the beans' health benefits.
And according to Perlman's comments to the website Eater, everyone, non-coffee drinkers included, can also enjoy a little caffeine buzz from the flour. "This flour contains 2.5 percent caffeine by weight, so if you were to put 4g of this into, say, a breakfast muffin, it would be the equivalent of drinking a cup of coffee," he told the publication.
Meanwhile, a coffee flour product aptly named Coffee Flour® also launched last year, however as it uses the fruit which surrounds the coffee bean rather than the green coffee bean used by Perlman, it differs from his new coffee flour.
Perlman's coffee bean parbaking and milling methods have been patented by Brandeis University.