Going green is all the rage these days, isn’t it? Whether we’re being advised to waste less and recycle more or enduring yet another lecture about consuming more dark-and-leafies, it seems as though green is the color of all things wise and healthy. And that’s certainly the case with green coffee beans.
What are Green Coffee Beans?
When you’re standing in line at your favorite local coffee shop, you’ve no doubt noticed the espresso machines and their hoppers full of rich, brown beans. But coffee beans don’t start out that color. When they’re picked, they’re actually green—and they stay that way until they’re roasted.
Now, here’s the thing: That aroma and flavor we call “coffee”? That magic’s not in the beans themselves; it’s in the roasting. So, you wouldn’t exactly want to run a bunch of ground-up green coffee beans through your Keurig. No amount of cream and sugar’s going to fix that mess.
However, green coffee bean extract is useful in all sorts of ways.
- Increased energy. Just as in its dark and handsome (roasted) form, unroasted green coffee bean extract offers an energy boost in the form of caffeine.
- Flavorful options. Roasted coffee beans taste like, well, coffee. And if you add coffee to something else, that something else is going to taste like, you guessed it, coffee. Not so with the unroasted beans. Green coffee bean extract doesn’t have much of a flavor, so it can be added to any beverage. It’s a bit on the acidic side, so it pairs particularly well with citrusy options.
- Chlorogenic acid. Clorowhatnow? Great question. Chlorogenic acid (CGA) is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound found in coffee beans, and most of it disappears in the roasting process. Since green coffee beans are unroasted, they retain the health benefits offered by CGA.
- Weight loss. Okay, don’t get too jump-and-down-ish here, but there’s some evidence to suggest that green coffee bean extract, because it contains CGA, promotes weight loss. Current studies have some methodological concerns, but researchers nevertheless call the results “promising.”
- Decreased blood pressure. CGA from green coffee extract has been found to be an effective treatment for mild hypertension.
In short, green coffee beans pack a powerful punch of energy and, because of their higher CGA levels, offer health benefits not available from roasted coffee beverages. So, with all due respect to Kermit the Frog, it actually is easy bein’ green.