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Coffee with whitener
In many English-speaking countries, "white coffee" is used to refer to regular black coffee that has had milk, cream or some other "whitener" added to it, though the term is almost entirely unheard of in the US, where the same beverage might be called "coffee light" in the New York City area, "light coffee", "coffee with milk," or even "regular coffee" in New England. Cream varieties (often called "creamers" in the US), can be made of dairy milk, corn syrup derivatives, soy, or nut products. Sweeteners used include cane sugar or artificial ingredients.
White coffee should be distinguished from café au lait, in that white coffee uses chilled or room-temperature milk or other whitener, while café au lait uses heated or steamed milk.
Other coffee drinks
Lebanese white coffee "ahweh bayda" is a caffeine-free drink made from water, orange blossom water, and sweetened with sugar if desired. Although not the most common substitute for coffee it is occasionally served in lieu of coffee (Turkish coffee). Ahweh bayda is traditionally thought to have a soothing effect when taken.
In Malaysia, the original white coffee started in the town of Ipoh, referring to a drink made from coffee beans roasted in margarine, brewed and served with sweetened condensed milk in a cream-color form. An example is Chang jiang White Coffee, or Ipoh White Coffee. Local coffee manufacturers subsequently mix instant coffee powder with non-dairy creamer or whitener and sugar together, and market the 3-in-1 mixture as White Coffee as well.
The mixtures are packed in various sizes from 15 g to 40 g, and are preferred by Malaysians at home or in office as convenient easy-to-prepare coffee drinks. The health benefits however of consuming instant coffee mixed with non-dairy creamer and sugar daily are slowly coming into question, with some manufacturers now taking the sugar out of the mixture, and market the 2-in-1 mixture as Sugar Free White Coffee.
For overseas visitors into Malaysia wishing to try out White Coffee but finding the margarine roasted coffee beans unorthodox (due to its slight caramelized flavor), and doubting the purity of the 3-in-1 instant mixture, most are misled into believing that there is another type of coffee bean endemic to Malaysia called the White Coffee Bean. These are invariably imported Robusta or Arabica beans roasted to a light color and simply passed off as White Coffee.
Whether roasted with margarine, or prepared in instant 3-in-1 mix, White Coffee in Malaysia should simply refer to how the drink is prepared and presented - added with milk or creamer, so the liquid is cream colored, just like cafe au lait, or Latte in essence.
In the United States, white coffee may also refer to coffee beans which have been roasted to the yellow roast level and when prepared as espresso produces a thin yellow brew, with a high acidic note. There is a debate that white coffee is more highly caffeinated than darker roasted coffee. In fact, the sublimation point of caffeine is 352 degrees F, about one hundred degrees lower than the typical very dark roast. Coffee beans can catch fire at temperatures lower than 500 degrees F. White coffee is generally used only for making espresso drinks, not simple brewed coffee. With shorter roasting times natural sugars are not caramelized within the coffee beans, leaving no bitter aftertaste. The flavor of white coffee is frequently described as nut like, with pronounced acidity.
There is also a form of white coffee, native to Yemen, which refers to the ground shell of the coffee bean. This form of coffee earns its name from its color, and is brewed in the same manner as regular coffee, only with some spices added.