If You’ve Never Tried White Coffee You’re Missing Out

I think I’ve been drinking the wrong kind of coffee all my life.

Or at least that’s what I concluded after trying a cup of Dr. Smood’s Hawaj white coffee (to be honest it was more taupe-colored — like a cashmere overcoat by The Row). It was so delicious I would have repurchased it regardless of whether or not it was better for me than regular black coffee, but I was curious nonetheless.

I asked Dr. Etti Ben-Zion, founding partner of Dr. Smood, a healthy fast-food cafe chain making waves in the wellness industry, what made it so special. The holistic nutrition specialist told me it had to do with the coffee bean toasting process. “The more you toast them, the more acidic they become. That’s why people get withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking black coffee: because of the acidity. With our white coffee, we actually bake the beans, and for a shorter period of time, which not only makes them less acidic, but also helps them retain more chlorogenic acid, a powerful antioxidant.”

(To clarify, the white coffee produced from this bean-toasting process is different from Malaysian-style white coffee, which is typically served with condensed milk.)

Dr. Etti assured me that the caffeine content in Dr. Smood’s Hawaj white coffee was just as strong as a regular cup of black coffee, which was a tad disappointing since I immediately wanted another cup upon finishing, although not for lack of energy — it was just so GOOD.

“What you’re tasting is the Hawaj, which is an Arabic word that translates to ‘mixture’ in English,” said Dr. Etti. “It originates back to a five-thousand-year-old Yemenite custom of creating proprietary spice blends for coffee. In ours we do cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and clove, plus two other ingredients that make it our signature blend.”

The whole time she was telling me this, I couldn’t stop staring at her skin, which was literally glowing from within. I interrupted our coffee talk to ask what her secret was.

“Your diet is an inside job,” she said. “The products you put on your skin are important, but even more important than that is the quality of what you’re drinking and eating.”

I didn’t ask her if drinking Hawaj white coffee will erase my recently-acquired forehead pimple that I’m convinced is French fry-induced, but I guess there’s only one way to find out.

Have you tried white coffee yet?  Would you? (Or are you a die-hard tea drinker who refuses to buy into all this?)

Photos by Edith Young.

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  • Anne Dyer

    Tea only and it’s because of the dreaded acid but I creep on people drinking coffee with drool infused lust on the regular. So where do you buy these magical beans?

  • Alexia

    Now I really want to try this, but I don’t live in NYC or Miami.

  • Amelia Diamond


  • Andrea Raymer

    How does this caffeine feel? is it like a normal coffee caffeine that would typically induce in me a panic attack if purchased from anywhere other than my beloved dunking donuts? or is it more of a quiet alertness a la Matcha? I may run out to the location on 26th and Broadway right now to experiment.

    • Abby

      Yeah anything I read about coffee immediately makes me wonder if it’ll set my anxiety off, or be fine. Important questions that require an answer!

    • Harling Ross

      i would liken it to the quiet alertness of matcha, although Dr. Etti told me it has the same caffeine strength as black coffee

  • Vera

    Here to rain on the parade — acidity has nothing to do with physiologic dependence or “withdrawal”. The body is very effective at buffering pH. This is basic human physiology. Caffeine is the culprit here! It’s a central nervous system stimulant that can cause mild dependence and withdrawal symptoms (read: headache) when we don’t get our daily dose.

    Given that this coffee is reported to have the same caffeine content as run-of-the-mill coffee, it doesn’t make sense that it would be less likely to lead to physiologic dependence.

    “…which not only makes them less acidic, but also helps them retain more chlorogenic acid.”

    Less acidic… More acid?

    Delicious or not, can you please stop giving swindlers an outlet to make up whatever they want in the name of “wellness”?

    • aronnoco

      Thank you! I scoffed out loud when I read that — since when do people have acidity withdrawal?

    • cryptdang

      Agree with this post, but also wanted to add kudos to Manrepeller for publishing this comment, and others that are critical of their articles. I posted a dubious (but polite!) comment on an article about raw veganism on another blog (begins with a G, rhymes with moray, as in the eel…) and it never saw the light of day. I continue to read that blog, but still…!

    • Bridgett

      “Stop giving swindlers an outlet to make up whatever they want in the name of “wellness”?”

      -I need this saying on a shirt!

      • Bo


    • Fiona

      Additionally, light roast coffee actually has a higher acidity than dark roast, so toasting somehow adding acidity makes no sense.

    • THANK YOU I LOVE THIS COMMENT. If your blood pH deviates even one tenth of a point away from what it should be it is often fatal. The idea that it can be affected in any way by food intake is so ridiculous it doesn’t even qualify as bad science. It’s just totally made up fantasy garbage. (Unless you have type 1 diabetes in which case very low blood sugar levels can cause diabetic ketoacidosis which is classified as a medical emergency and leads to coma and death – nothing to do with coffee). I am *really* sick of seeing this bullsh*t on good women’s lifestyle outlets like this one.



  • Jess

    My local coffee shop has an espresso drink called white zombie, which I think is the same thing.

    • Harling Ross

      great name

  • Hayley

    Would love to try it…perhaps in a year or less, it’ll be available at local Syracuse coffee shops.

  • Wow! So cool, thanks for sharing! Now I really want a giant latte. Is this something you can get any where? I go to a lot of great cafes but have never seen this kind of coffee! Any one know a place in NYC?


    • Olivia!

      Dr. Smood, which she mentioned, is in NYC. They have 2 locations in the 40s and one in Soho (maybe more though, these are just the ones I know of).

      Would not recommend their matcha latte (tasted so strongly of sushi nori), would recommend their veggie patty sandwich.

      • Thanks so much Olivia! I totally thought Dr. Smood was a person! Haha! Just read too quickly.

        • Olivia!

          Hope you like it 🙂

  • Hannah Laub

    Former barista here. I think there’s a chance that this white coffee actually has a higher caffeine content than black coffee. The caffeine content in coffee is dependent upon how long the beans are roasted. So, espresso beans will actually have the least caffeine, followed by dark roast, medium roast, and blonde roast. The blonde has the mildest flavor because it is roasted for the shortest amount of time, but the highest caffeine content for the very same reason. At least, this is what I was taught during my training. If the same rules apply to all coffee beans, then wouldn’t this white coffee be the absolute highest in caffeine content?

    • cryptdang

      Had the same thought (also former barista, hah).

      • Greer Clarke

        ditto hahah

    • Harling Ross

      ah that’s so interesting and makes a lot of sense! thanks for the insider knowledge

      • Hannah Laub

        I gotchu girl!

    • Bo

      Was going to post something like this but a) you said it better and b) I’m not a barista, I just get all my coffee and coffee-related info from two knowledgable beardy men who roast coffee in their shed in a vineyard with three dogs

      • Hayley

        They sound like they live an awesome life.

      • Hannah Laub

        Very distraught that this was not my professional coffee experience.

  • Jac

    all i could think for this whole article was “Smoodies: a MOOD that you DRINK like a smoothie!”

  • tiabarbara

    isn’t white coffee just coffee with milk? or is it the extra spices that make it special?

  • Maria Schnepf

    I’m a barista/student in Idaho and white coffee has taken our neck of the woods by storm. People love it for the significant nutty flavor. A common drink here is the “White Angel” which often marries hints of white chocolate, coconut and white coffee.

  • starfizz

    Diehard tea drinker! 🙌🍵