I have a routine: Every morning, I wake up, groan, and then slug back at least two cups of black coffee to get my caffeine fix. Well, I’m proud to report that soon I’ve be able to calm my sugar cravings along with my caffeine ones thanks to Professor Dan Perlman of Brandeis University: He’s invented coffee flour, and it’s coming to baked goods near you. So long, coffee ice-cream!
Coffee is one of those few tasty substances none of us have to feel guilty about drinking. Many studies have been conducted in recent years focusing on the health benefits of coffee, but while many researchers agree that a few cups a day is good for you, they have yet to pinpoint what exactly is responsible for coffee’s beneficial effects. Megan Scudellari for the Boston Globe reports that researchers suspect coffee’s health benefits have something to do with “chlorogenic acid (CGA), an antioxidant that appears to modulate how rapidly the body breaks down glucose.”
Those CGAs are important. Perlman’s newly patented process requires par-baking green coffee beans at a relatively lower temperature for a short period of time, which retains the CGA that’s typically lost in the regular coffee roasting process. The resulting light-colored beans are no good for brewing and drinking, but are are still loaded with plenty of healthy antioxidants. Perlman turned those beans into a finely milled flour that has up to four times as much CGA as regular roasted coffee beans. I’m salivating just reading that!
In an interview with Eater, Perlman admitted to Eater that he’s been experimenting with baking with his new coffee flour, and that his new flour provides a pretty powerful kick: “This flour contains 2.5 percent caffeine by weight, so if you were to put 4 grams of this into, say, a breakfast muffin, it would be the equivalent of drinking a cup of coffee.” You mean I can claim there’s a healthy reason I want to eat my beloved lemon poppyseed scone? My morning trip to Starbucks is about to get so much tastier.
Perlman asserts that consuming foods made with the coffee flour would provide an experience greatly different from imbibing in a caffeine-loaded energy bar or an energy drink like Monster: “Unlike some bars that are loaded with chemically purified or synthesized caffeine, this is natural food source caffeine,” he points out. “I would expect it to be absorbed a little more gradually than the caffeine in a cup of coffee, so [it would offer] a more sustained release and longer-term stimulation than you get when you drink a cup or two of coffee.”
Somewhere in the multiverse, Lorelai Gilmore is visiting Luke at Luke’s Diner and pestering him this very minute to start using this stuff!
Never fear if you aren’t a professional baker, either. Perlman soothed our nerves by saying:
“I have been baking with it as an ingredient, we’ve actually [given samples to] a number of companies who’ve used it in tests of bakery products, so it’s a very user-friendly ingredient. It’s a fine flour which mixes with regular flours of any type you might choose – whether it’s wheat flour, rice flour, whatever — so you can use this as an enhancing ingredient. I don’t see this as being a direct one-to one replacement for regular flour since coffee beans are relatively expensive compared to wheat flour, so it’s more of an enhancing nutritional ingredient to provide the antioxidants a well as the natural caffeine boost.”
Excellent. I’m all about enhancing my baked goods. Now I can’t wait to get my hands on the stuff. This gives a whole new spin to the meaning of coffee cake!
(Image via Warner Bros. Television)