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.