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Is coffee cherry the new acai?


Is coffee cherry the new acai? Two companies are touting antioxidant-rich coffee fruit (the pulp around the coffee bean that was previously discarded in coffee bean processing) as the superfruit du jour: KonaRed sells "Hawaiian Superfruit Antioxidant Juice" and Coffees of Hawaii started a new line of coffee cherry tea, marketed as "Hawaiian Tisane, Molokai Style." Both label their Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) levels on the packaging (if you care: 279 micromoles per gram for the tisane, 2,501 for KonaRed). Just take it all with a dose of free radicals: even antioxidants have their naysayers.

But how do they taste?

KonaRed: A blend of coffee cherry, pineapple and apple juice, and Stevia extract (a sugar substitute), this drink tastes of blue and red berry fruits, not unlike an acai smoothie. It's a little too sweet for me, though.

$3.49 for 16 ounces, available at 7-11, Down to Earth, Kokua Market and other locations, konared.com

Coffee of Hawaii's Tisane: In flavors of Jasmine Blossom Green Tea, Lavender, Lemongrass, Mamaki Ginger and Papaya Leaf Vanilla. Each successfully blends herbs with the addition of dried coffee cherry for a pleasant acidity. This would be my preferred liquid antioxidant intake.

$6.25 for 3 ounces, available at Whole Foods, coffeesofhawaii.com

As far as caffeine goes, the coffee fruit has significantly less caffeine than the bean. KonaRed has about a quarter the caffeine of a regular cup of coffee whereas the tisane has 1/100th the caffeine.

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