A New Coffee Trend is Here: Coffee Fruit Coffee

A person pours some coffee.

A person pours some coffee. | Sasha_Suzi/iStock/Getty Images

If you’re a big coffee drinker, you likely keep up with new developments in coffee. There have been plenty of trends over the years, such as brocco-lattes, mushroom coffee, and butter coffee. The latest trend, which uses coffee fruit, is coffee fruit coffee. The Cheat Sheet chatted with Registered Dietitian Megan Colletto, PhD, to learn more about coffee fruit coffee and some of the health benefits.

The Cheat Sheet: What is coffee fruit coffee?

Megan Colletto: Coffee fruit coffee is enhanced with the naturally occurring antioxidant cocktail found in coffee fruit (the fleshy portion that surrounds the coffee bean, typically discarded at harvest).

CS: What are some of the different types of coffee fruit?

MC: There are two kinds of coffee fruit antioxidant blends available—one is the dried powder from the coffee fruit—found in KonaRed. The other is the purified coffee fruit antioxidant extract, which is found in Neuro Coffee, and has been clinically shown to increase BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a key neuroprotein) levels in two human studies. With Neuro Coffee, the special coffee fruit antioxidants are mixed with hand-roasted small batch artisan coffee in the same amounts used in the clinical studies.

CS: What are some health benefits of coffee fruit?

MC: The coffee fruit has many antioxidants. Antioxidants in our diet can help our bodies buffer the effects of stress, lack of sleep, etc., to maintain good health. Concentrated coffee fruit antioxidants have also been shown in two clinical studies to boost a protein in our body called BDNF, a protein that helps with neuron growth and repair. Furthermore, it been associated with helping you learn faster and remember better, and plays a role in protecting against depression, diabetes, and heart disease, and increasing resistance to neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Research shows antidepressants work in part by increasing BDNF. A 2013 study published in Food and Nutrition Sciences shows regular coffee doesn’t increase levels of BDNF but the coffee fruit antioxidants (like in Neuro Coffee) increase BDNF by 91% in 60 minutes.

CS: How does coffee fruit coffee compare to other functional coffees in terms of health benefits, taste, etc.?

MC: Butter coffee such as Bulletproof Coffee started as a cult practice. Biohackers would mix coconut or medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and grass-fed butter into their coffee upon waking to support their continued fasting into the afternoon and improve mental acuity. The idea was the fats found in coconut oil and butter would support the production of ketones–a unique byproduct of fat metabolism that your brain can use as fuel, instead of sugar.

Unfortunately, research shows coconut oil and/or butter are not an effective means of producing ketones and the use of ketones by your brain doesn’t lead to increased mental performance. In addition, many people that drink butter coffee do so with breakfast or follow up their buttery cup of java with a meal shortly afterward. Carbohydrates in just about any amount shut down your body’s ability to make ketones, leaving you with no unique fuel for your brain and a 200-calorie cup of coffee that has a high likelihood of giving you diarrhea.

CS: What about broccoli coffee?

MC: More recently Australian scientists of CSIRO and Hort Innovation created a broccoli powder for coffee as a means of helping people get more vegetables in their diet. Broccoli coffee is created by mixing freeze-dried broccoli into a double espresso and then topping it with steamed milk. The amount of broccoli powder added to each cup equates to one serving of broccoli. Unfortunately, the broccoli coffee created by these Australian scientists is not available in the United States, but you can try to make your own by mixing freeze dried broccoli powder into your coffee.

Adding broccoli powder to your coffee isn’t without consequence as it can it leave you with a broccoli-flavored cup of brownish-green liquid, which has yielded mixed reviews when it comes to taste among coffee drinkers. Coffee fruit coffee has the same flavor as a regular coffee. The addition of the coffee fruit antioxidants doesn’t change the taste of the coffee, which is a huge plus!

CS: Why did coffee fruit coffee start gaining popularity?

MC: As health and wellness have become more top of mind, people are exploring more ways to optimize their nutrition through what they eat and drink. While many functional coffee brands have made bold health claims, they are either unfounded or the coffee doesn’t taste good. Coffee fruit coffee, on the other hand, is a clinically studied java choice that has been shown to have numerous health benefits, which is why it has been picking up steam lately.

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