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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

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,

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,

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.

Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 in Permalink

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About This Column

From five-star restaurants to hidden holes-in-the-wall, Biting Commentary will let you know what’s hot and what’s not. Find out the latest restaurant news—who’s opening, who’s closing, which chef is moving on, where the great special dinners are. Discover the best menu items, fabulous wines, stunning cocktails, hand-crafted beers. Be the first to hear about upcoming food events and festivals.

Food editor Martha Cheng graduated from Wellesley College with degrees in Computer Science and English. She's a former line cook, food truck owner, Peace Corps volunteer and Google techie. Follow her on Twitter @marthacheng.


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