Are you all about your morning cup of coffee? Well, even if you aren't, listen up because I have a new ingredient to tell you about. It's coffee flour, and if you have never heard of it, chances are you will start hearing about it more and more. There are several reasons for that, so allow me to enlighten you a bit.
Coffee flour is a sustainable and fair-trade flour made by milling the discarded pulp of coffee cherries. Coffee cherries? What the heck are those? Contrary to what you might think, coffee flour is not made from the coffee bean itself, but by grinding the fruit of the coffea plant. Coffea is a flowering plant that produces edible fruits known as cherries. These cherries contain one or two seeds, which are...drumroll please...coffee beans!
It used to be that the discarded pulp was either tossed out or possibly used as fertilizer. But then, former Starbucks employee, Dan Belliveau, invented a process to dry and grind the discarded pulp, turning it into flour. Thus, coffee flour was born. And by using a byproduct of the coffee harvest, that not only makes this flour sustainable, but also provides an extra source of income for coffee growers in developing countries.
Nutritionally speaking, coffee flour gets top marks. It contains more fiber than whole-wheat flour, less fat that coconut flour, and more potassium than a banana! How's that for bragging rights! In terms of fiber, there are 1.8 grams soluble fiber and 3.4 grams insoluble fiber per tablespoon of coffee flour. It's important to have both types of fiber in your diet. Soluble fiber soaks up water as it passes through your system, which slows digestion and helps the body absorb nutrients and balance blood sugars. Insoluble fiber bulks up the stool, which makes it easier to pass through the intestines. A lot of paleo flours contain a high fat content which can turn some people off. While good, healthy fats are important, you can over-do it. So it's nice to have another paleo flour on the table that is much lower in fat. Comparatively speaking, almond flour has 3.5 grams of fat per tablespoon. Coffee flour has 0.056 grams of fat per tablespoon. As far as potassium goes, coffee flour contains 310 mg of potassium. That's pretty significant considering that's just a little less than one banana contains.
So you might be curious as to if this flour fits into your dietary needs. While coffee flour does contain caffeine, it's very minimal. I think you would have to be eating a huge quantity to notice it, unlike your average cup of coffee. Coffee flour, like I said, is paleo friendly. It is also gluten-free! So there's a ton of versatility with this ingredient.
Let's talk about what it's like to bake with it, and more importantly, what does it taste like. From my experience, baking with coffee flour is similar to that of coconut flour. Due to its high fiber content, it absorbs moisture like coconut flour. So if you are looking to adapt a recipe to include coffee flour, just know you will want to also increase the moisture/liquid content in the ingredients anywhere from 10%-25%. A lot of that depends on the other ingredients you are using and the coarseness of your coffee flour. It's definitely something you will figure out through trial and error. Another thing to keep in mind is that coffee flour should be substituted for another flour at a 20-25% ratio. For example, you could use 3 parts almond flour and 1 part coffee flour. It's definitely something you can play around with to see what appeals to your taste buds.
Coffee flour takes on a strong, earthy note with some fruity tones. I find that it pairs well with chocolate, nuts, and various fruits. Not only is it dark in appearance, but it's also dark in flavor. If you like dark chocolate, for example, you will most likely enjoy the taste. I don't find it to be an overly sweet flour, so that might appeal to you as well. Unless you have a big sweet tooth. If that's the case, you might want to bump up your sweetener.
1 & 1/2 cup almond flour or cashew flour
1/2 cup coffee flour
1/2 cup cacao powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 flax eggs
3/4 cup milk of choice (I used coconut milk)
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup mashed banana (1 large, ripe banana) or 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
cacao nibs (or chocolate chips)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and place liners in your muffin pan.
2. Sift together all dry ingredients making sure no lumps remain.
3. In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer to combine the flax eggs, milk, maple syrup, and banana or applesauce. Beat on medium speed for about 1 minute or so, just enough so things are combined and you notice some bubbles have formed. The point of using your hand mixer here is to create some air. This helps your baked goods to properly rise when using flax eggs.
4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well. Then divide the batter evenly between the muffin liners. I fill them to the top of the liner and yield 12 muffins.
5. Sprinkle your chopped hazelnuts, cacao nibs, and/or chocolate chips on top of the muffins. Gently press down on the toppings so they are secure in the batter.
6. Place the muffins in the oven for 30-35 minutes. They will feel firm around the edges but have a slight spring to the touch towards the center when done. Allow to cool and enjoy!