Black Coffee vs White Coffee: Compared and Contrasted


For coffee lovers and those who frequent coffee shops, drinking black coffee as well as white coffee has become all the rage. And each have specific reasons for their preference whether it comes down to flavor or health benefits. But if you don’t know the similarities and differences between black coffee vs white coffee, you’ve come to the right place.

colors of coffee beans
colors of coffee beans

What is Black Coffee?

Black coffee is coffee that is dark brown or black in color and has been roasted for a long length of time giving it its dark color. It’s referred to as dark roast. The flavor of black coffee tends to be stronger and more bitter.

Black coffee originated in the African country of Ethiopia and later spread to other countries and throughout the world.

What is White Coffee?

White coffee is coffee that is roasted using green beans, the same as black coffee. However, the difference is that the beans are roasted at a lower temperature and using less time. It’s considered a light roast.

The flavor of white coffee is somewhat nutty, floral, and earthy.

coffee beans individual
coffee beans individual

White coffee is thought to have originated in Yemen and is known for its distinct flavor profile that’s unique to it being brewed for less time and at a lower temperature. This is authentic white coffee.

As some myths might lead you to believe, it’s untrue that authentic white coffee comes from white beans or that it’s milk coffee.

Benefits of White Coffee

There are many potential benefits to drinking white coffee that aren’t necessarily found to the same extent in black coffee. 

White coffee has more caffeine and a lower acidity level.  It also contains plenty of antioxidants that fight free radicals that can potentially do harm to one’s body.  Antioxidants are a great way to eat things that will help prevent diseases and illnesses, including cardiovascular disease.

Similarities and Differences of Black Coffee vs White Coffee

There are similarities and differences that help us to draw conclusions in regard to comparison between the two colors of coffee.

Color of Coffee

The most basic and main difference between white coffee and black coffee is the color of the coffee beans.

While both white coffee and black coffee start with using green coffee beans, the color of black coffee is a dark brown or black color compared to white coffee which is a white color.

We’ll explain why this is in the next sections.

coffee beans
coffee beans

Roasting Temperature  

When roasting black coffee and white coffee, the roasting temperature as well as the roasting time both play a vital role in the outcome of the color of the coffee beans. Since both include the same beans to begin with, roasting is where it’s at.

White coffee beans are usually roasted at a low temperature such as 325 degrees Fahrenheit, while dark roasts and black coffee beans are roasted at higher temperatures of 450 to 480 degrees Fahrenheit.

And because of the lower roasting temperature, the beans that are roasted for less time come out white comparatively as opposed to beans roasted at high temperatures that come out darker.  

Roasting Time

As we’ve alluded to, white coffee beans are roasted for a shorter amount of time being 5-6 minutes, compared to black coffee beans that are roasted for approximately 10-16 minutes, giving them a nice dark color and bold flavor.

Caffeine Levels

How would you expect the caffeine levels of black coffee and white coffee compare?  Is there a significant difference? Interestingly white coffee has a bit more caffeine than black coffee does. This is because the longer coffee is roasted, the more the caffeine content dissipates.

With this in mind, white coffee is estimated to have 100 mg of caffeine compared to black coffee that has less caffeine being about 95 mg of caffeine.

It’s estimated that almost 75% of caffeine in coffee is lost due to the roasting process.

coffee beans in bag
coffee beans in bag


There are flavor differences between white coffee and black coffee. White coffee is known for tasting floral, nutty and earthy.   

On the other hand, black coffee is slightly bitter, bold, and is tastes of hints of chocolate.


Like the color and flavor, there is also a difference in the acidity of white coffee compared to black coffee. White coffee weighs in as less acidic, while black coffee is more acidic, with a ph of 4.85 to 5.10.

If acid reflux caused by drinking coffee  is uncomfortable for you, and the amount of caffeine isn’t a problem, you might try drinking white coffee instead.

How to Brew White Coffee

There are a variety of ways you can brew a cup of white coffee and have a come out tasting wonderful. Here are some options.

You can use a regular at home drip coffee brewer but that often creates a thin translucent brew that really doesn’t look like coffee.

But you can do a second or third pour over meaning, you need to replace the liquid in the water area and brew again to achieve the desired flavor. Some coffee loves like to add a bit of dark roast to achieve a bolder flavor, but that’s not quite as authentic.

coffee beans and mug
coffee beans and mug

Some coffee connoisseurs like to use an espresso machine or French press to brew white coffee. But when choosing this method, you need to allow the beans to steep for a longer amount of time because of the lack of high pressure in a French press.

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions that relate to black coffee vs white coffee. If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to drop it to us in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to respond.

What is the difference between black coffee and white coffee?

There are several differences between black coffee and white coffee. Including, acidity levels, caffeine content, brew methods, roasting times and temperatures and flavor.

Above we’ve outlined the similarities and differences in the section titled as such.  

Is drinking white coffee good?

There are some known benefits to drinking lighter roast or white coffee. But you’ll want to know that it has increased caffeine compared to black coffee. So, if that doesn’t bother you, some of the benefits you can enjoy are burning calories more effectively, which can assist with weight loss.

It also has elevated levels of chlorogenic acid and blood pressure reducing properties.

4 coffee beans
4 coffee beans

Why black coffee is better?

Black coffee and consuming a darker roast is not necessarily better, though that’s what many people drink here in North America. It’s higher in acidic content, has a bitter taste, and is lower in caffeine compared to white coffee.

If you like black coffee better, that’s okay and it’s usually a matter of personal preference regarding likes and dislikes.

Does white coffee taste stronger?

No, we’d say that black coffee tastes stronger as does any coffee that’s brewed longer. White coffee is known for more of an earthy, floral, or nutty flavor.

And white coffee is made using a shorter roasting time and lower roasting temperature which certainly affects flavor.                               

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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