With more iron than spinach, coffee flour is your new go-to superfood
Chef Anne Altarejos' coffee flour buttercream. Photo courtest Chef Altarejos
Coffee addicts, rejoice: There’s a product out there that can both make your sipping more sustainable and your cooking more caffeinated. Enter coffee flour, a baking ingredient made from the unused fruit that surrounds coffee beans.
The fruit usually gets tossed into streams or left to rot in the fields, and is creating 23 million tons of waste a year, according to Roast Magazine. The USDA estimates 156 million coffee bags will be produced this year—which means a ton more waste, unless we start giving our baking a little buzz.
Coffee flour doesn’t look like your morning cup of grounds. It’s a dense, grainy golden wheat-colored flour that comes in two grinds, fine and powder. The fine grind is best used in baking recipes, while the powder grind works well with ice cream, beverages and sauces. Though coffee flour doesn’t necessarily taste like coffee (it has a, chalky, medicinal flavor on it’s own), but like it’s bean siblings, it retains notes of roasted fruit and citrus. It’s best complemented with other spices and balanced out with at least one other flour, with the best results using a 10 to 25 percent flour substitution.
Coffee flour also has some impressive nutritional benefits as well—perhaps most notably that it’s gluten-free. It also packs as much potassium as fresh spinach, more fiber per gram than whole grain wheat flour, and more antioxidants per gram than a pomegranate.
But caffeine lovers be warned: Coffee flour can’t get you totally buzzed. While there is a small amount of caffeine—about 12 milligrams of caffeine per ounce— you’ll likely still want to pair your Coffee flour muffin with a true dark roast.
Chef Anne Altarejos, owner of Los Angeles based “Let’s Eat it All Up,” uses coffee flour in her red velvet cake with southern style buttercream (made with a roux of milk and coffee flour instead of the usual flour, butter, and sugar). She also uses the flour in her cocoa ice cream to thicken the ice cream base.
“I love being able to use Coffee flour as a product that is creating less waste for the world,” Altarejos explains. “Using it with other flours is a great addition to any recipe, and it’s a great dairy substitution for a vegetarian or vegan spin on a recipe, or for people who are looking for a healthier baking option. In general, you need to use at least twice as much Coffee flour to get the same kind of sauce thickness, and I suggest using it as an addition in a dough-like recipe.”
Packed full of nutrients and touted to be an environmental waste game changer, this flour is certainly worth the buzz.