For those mornings when it feels impossible to get out of bed (and let’s admit it, that can be more often than not), we may have just discovered the perfect breakfast ingredient. It’s coffee flour—and yes, it’s caffeinated.
The flour, which is made from the fruit of the coffee plant that surrounds the bean, can be used to replace up to 15 percent of a recipe’s flour content, according to Lior Lev Sercarz, the chef, spice blender, and owner of La Boîte in New York City. Though the amount of caffeine per gram is fairly small (about the same as in dark chocolate), it's still enough to help kickstart your morning. One teaspoon of the flour contains about 1/3 as much caffeine as a standard cup of coffee—so to achieve this level of caffeine in a breakfast muffin, you would need to swap in 1/4 cup of coffee flour in a recipe that serves 12 (just make sure that amount doesn't exceed 15 percent of the total flour content). If the recipe calls for spices, you can add a bit more.
The idea for the product came about from the need to address the global food waste problem, make the coffee harvesting process more sustainable, and create new revenue streams while cutting costs. “In order to feed the world’s growing population and combat climate change, it is essential that we make more of what we’ve been given,” Dan Belliveau, founder and CEO of CoffeeFlour, said in a statement. “It is essential that we find creative uses for the nutritious, edible food that is currently being thrown away by the ton.”
The coffee “cherry,” or the fruit that grows alongside the coffee bean, is typically discarded or composted into fertilizer after the bean is picked from the plant. According to CoffeeFlour.com, the cherry has three times more protein per gram than kale, has more potassium per gram than a banana, and, though naturally gluten-free, contains more natural fiber than wheat.
In addition to its nutritional and environmental benefits, coffee flour also adds depth of flavor and complexity to both sweet and savory recipes, and pairs well with other gluten-free flours, according to Sercarz. “If you are using it in soup, sauce, or braised dishes, it has great thickening qualities, making a good substitute for roux.” A 2.5-ounce jar costs $13.
Not a fan of coffee? No need to be deterred. The flour, though flavorful, tastes floral and slightly acidic—and nothing at all like a brewed cup of coffee. If you are a coffee person, there's hope for you yet—scientists at Brandeis University recently received a patent for their coffee flour created from parbaked beans. The caffeine content in this flour will be more potent: four grams is equal to drinking a cup of coffee, so adding 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the flour to muffins would result in each muffin equaling one cup of joe.