White Coffee vs Black Coffee – Clearing Up Confusion!

Choosing the perfect coffee grounds doesn’t end with selecting the kind of beans. The roasting spectrum is so broad that you can get the same beans tasting entirely different. Here’s when the battle between white coffee vs black coffee comes into play. But it’s not what you’d think – a milky vs plain coffee choice, but rather a light vs dark roast dilemma.

Topics Explored

  1. What is Black Coffee?
  2. White Coffee Intro
  3. Differences Between White Coffee & Black Coffee
  4. How Do You Make A White Coffee at Home?
  5. Ways You Can Prepare Black Coffee at Home
  6. FAQ

Black Coffee is just regular coffee, right?

Black coffee is a staple in almost every household, and you’re probably well familiar with the taste and preparation method. Essentially it’s made from high-quality, darker roasted coffee beans and water.

It’s brewed traditionally and served without the addition of milk, creamer, or any other additive. So it’s regular coffee and the base for most popular coffee-based drinks.

Long Black
Long Black

Black coffee is often thought to be bitter and tangy. But good quality coffee beans produce an excellent cup full of aroma and rich flavor. In addition, black coffee has some health benefits, aids in weight loss, and is a great pre-workout booster.

Quick Intro to White Coffee

White coffee is not a mixed drink, but regular coffee beans that are roasted differently. Their roasting process is more delicate; they get roasted for 5 to 6 minutes at a 100°F lower roasting temperature than usual.

This gives the beans their unique white color instead of brown.

White Coffee from Top
White Coffee from top

White coffee gained massive popularity and is a type of a health fad in North America. This claim is primarily due to the number of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients that are retained because of the short roasting time.

However, there are also many variations of white coffee around the world.

White Coffee is another level in Malaysia

White coffee is a specialty drink in Malaysia. The green coffee beans are roasted with margarine until they get a dark color. Then they’re ground and brewed. The resulting drink has a slightly caramelized hint and is served with condensed milk, hence the white color.

White Coffee vs Black Coffee

Plain coffee can get boring after a while, so playing with different roasts can excite your palate. However, different roasts come with different tastes, health benefits, and calorie counts. We’ve selected the most significant contrasts between white coffee vs black coffee.

White Coffee Black Coffee
Roasting Process
– Roasted at 325°F
– Half the typical roasting time
Roasting Process
– Roasted between 450°F – 480°F
– Between 10 to 16 minutes to roast
Nutty, floral, or hay-like Bold, hints of chocolate, lightly bitter
Honey blonde in color.
Not actually white!
Depends on roast type.
Will be darker than White Coffee
Consumed as is or with spices Can be converted many drink types
Country of Origin:
Country of Origin:
Ethiopia or Yemen

Roasting Temperature & Time

White coffee is roasted at 325°F for half the time that regular roasting, or 5 to 6 minutes(1). This roast helps the green beans develop a very light beige color. Black coffee can be a light, medium, or dark roast.

It takes anywhere from 10 to 16 minutes to roast at 450°F to 480°F(2). As the coffee beans brown, they release more aroma and change the taste profile of the original green beans.


The taste of both coffees depends on the coffee bean’s origin and if it’s a single type or a blend. White coffee has bready, earthy, and floral notes. You can even sense some hay-like aroma.

Black coffee has a bold flavor; it’s less or more astringent depending on the roast and can even have some chocolate aroma.

White Coffee Side
White coffee shots


White coffee is surprisingly not white but honey blonde. The consistency is more tea or beer-like, so it’s slightly translucent.

Black coffee’s appearance depends on the brew method and roast type. It can be lighter, tan, or darker and more viscous, like the ristretto. But even the lightest roast of black coffee is still darker than white coffee.

White Coffee Crema vs Black Coffee
White coffee crema vs black coffee


White coffee is prepared and consumed as an espresso most of the time or with the addition of spices like Hawaij.

Black coffee is much more versatile. It’s the base for most milk and coffee beverages like lattes and cappuccinos. In addition, black coffee is consumed both cold and hot, which is not the case with white coffee.

How Do You Make A White Coffee at Home?

How To Brew White Coffee

How to Brew White Coffee

Yield: 1 serving (2 shots)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ready to up your coffee game (and caffeine intake)? Learn how to brew white coffee using your espresso machine by following this 5 simple steps.


  • 20 grams ground white coffee beans 
  • Enough water for your espresso machine


    1. To make white coffee first, you have to purchase and grind authentic white coffee beans. Beware that they're very dense and might break any home grinders, so buy pre-ground or you'll need an industrial-strength grinder!White Coffee Beans
    2. White coffee is best brewed under pressure, so you'd need an espresso machine. Next, load your portafilter with the ground white coffee. 20 grams for a double shot is the sweet spot but you can always use a little more or less.Ground White Coffee Closeup
    3. Tamp the portafilter well because white coffee grounds are rough, hard, and don't absorb water like regular grounds. So if you don't pack them well, water would simply run through them, resulting in bland coffee.Tamp Hard
    4. Put the portafilter back, start your machine and stop it after 4 seconds. Let it sit for 20 seconds and then restart your shot and pull it as usual*. Lock Portafilter
    5. Your white coffee is ready. Enjoy as is for a taste of its subtle flavors! White Coffee


* According to our friends at Poverty Bay Coffee Co., the soaking step helps the grounds to release more flavor and caffeine, so you'd end up with a delightful cup of white coffee.

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Ways You Can Prepare Black Coffee at Home

Long Black Pour
Long Black preparation

When it comes to black coffee, there are many preparation methods. First, you can choose among several coffee forms: whole coffee beans, pre-ground, or even instant coffee.

Second, the choice of brew methods is vast: pour-over, espresso. French press, Moka pot, aeropress, etc. Each of them extracts the flavor of the beans to a different level.

Black coffee is highly customizable; you can make it into a cold or hot beverage. You can even brew it cold via the cold brew method or add ice to a hot pulled coffee. The variations are almost unlimited; some of the most popular include Americano, long black, long or short espresso.

Final Thoughts

White Coffee vs Black Coffee

Coffee beans are one of the most prolific fruits on the planet, packed with nutrients, flavor, aroma, and changing when roasted differently. We can’t solve the white coffee vs black coffee dilemma since the two drinks suit different tastes.

White coffee requires a delicate roast and provides a unique taste packed with caffeine and antioxidants. Black coffee is more versatile, easy to source, and suits more palates.


Is Black Coffee healthier than White Coffee?

White coffee undergoes less roasting, and at a lower temperature, so you might get the idea that it’s healthier. While it does keep more nutrients than dark roasts, like chlorogenic acids, black coffee still packs more benefits. White coffee can even have traces of pesticides and other chemicals due to the short thermal processing.

Black Coffee vs White Coffee calories?

When it comes to calories, both coffees are even. If we compare them plain, without any additives like milk or sugar, they’re both almost 0 calories. However, white coffee can be served with condensed milk at some places, which raises the caloric value. Black coffee is also frequently diluted with milk.

Is White Coffee actually white in color?

Don’t expect a milky white cup of coffee. The green coffee beans get a beige shade after the short roast, and the final product is more honey-like than white. It’s called white mostly because the beans are lighter even than the lightest roast of black coffee.

Verified Sources

Wondering where your info comes from? We totally understand. Hey Joe only obtains our information from reputable sources. Contents from this article are sourced from the following publications:

  1. Poverty Bay Coffee Co.: https://www.povertybay.com/coffee-blog/what-is-white-coffee
  2. Sweet Maria’s: https://library.sweetmarias.com/how-to-roast-your-own-coffee/
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