What is white coffee?

Does "white coffee" refer to the roast level of the beans, or additives to the beverage, or is it some other type of coffee bean, or a different beverage completely?

  • 1
    Never heard of white coffee. If you roast the beans very slightly, you get yellow coffee. – luser droog Jun 23 '15 at 20:05
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    I don't what are you trying to say with white coffee and doing a quick search on wikipedia it appears that there are many of differents meanings. So maybe you can read and tell if one of those makes sense to you. As luser said, maybe you're referring to yellow coffee in that case, there is an interesting debate over that topic. (White Russian also came to my mind) – Omar Miranda Jun 23 '15 at 20:23
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    I thought a white coffee was just a black coffee and adding juice squeezed from a cow. – Evan Jun 23 '15 at 22:13
  • There's been a lot of thrash on this question, so I tried to re-word and clarify. I think there's a good nugget of a question here. Marlo -- if this is not your question, please rephrase! Welcome to Coffee. – hoc_age Jun 26 '15 at 2:17

White Coffee, popular with drive-thru espresso stands in the Pacific NW, is very lightly roasted coffee that is milled (ground) about like kosher salt. Baristas will brew it in their espresso machine and prepare lattes, white chocolate white coffee mochas, etc.

  • Do you have any documentation that this is true? Or experience? – NealC Jun 29 '15 at 17:01

As suggested by several previous comments, there's several things that could be called "white coffee."

According to the white coffee article on Wikipedia, and other sources (e.g., coffeefaq, Nescafé); others listed below.

  1. Simply referring to coffee with whitener (e.g., milk, creamer, etc.);
  2. A Lebanese drink ahweh bayda, made from water, orange blossom water, and (perhaps) sugar (more here)
  3. Something called Ipoh white coffee; of Malaysian origin, this refers to beans that are lightly roasted with margarine (and perhaps sugar and wheat), brewed and served with sweetened condensed milk.
  4. Coffee beans that are roasted to the "yellow" roast level, then ground and prepared as espresso; the result is a pale yellow brew with a nutty flavour and assertive acidity.
  5. A beverage originating in Yemen, probably from the literal translation qahwa bayda. I've never had this, and can't find consistent information on it, but things that I have seen suggest that it's any number of different preparations, including the following: coffee made from lightly roasted beans plus spices; or a spiced coffee cherry tea (e.g., qishr); or even something non-coffee similar to the Lebanese variety above.
  6. A longer shot (so to speak...) is that it could indicate a flat white, which is a coffee drink similar to a cappuccino or latte but with higher proportion of milk.
  7. There is also a company called White Coffee Corporation, but perhpas not what you're looking for.

I hope this is a reasonable (albeit, perhaps not acutely helpful) summary.


The term "white coffee" can be use to refer to any one of three separate beverages. It can be used to describe regular coffee that has had enough milk or cream added to turn the liquid a very light or white color

  • 2
    This appears incomplete. It doesn't really answer the question or expound on the beverages it is talking about. – Suspended User Jun 25 '15 at 18:49
  • Can you elaborate on the other two beverages? – hoc_age Jun 26 '15 at 2:19

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