Get healthy with green coffee, says Masterchef Kunal Kapur

With International Coffee Day around the corner, celebrity chef and restaurateur Kunal Kapur talks about green coffee and his passion for the brew

Most of us cannot think about a day without coffee. Be it to beat the Monday blues at the workplace or when you meet someone for the first time, coffee plays a valuable role in making you feel energetic and confident. Coffee also helps keep stress at bay.

There are however various kind of coffee in the market to cater to your taste buds, the popular ones being Cappuccino, Expresso, Latte and Irish Coffee. But have you heard about Green coffee?

International Coffee Day falls on October 1st and as a run up to the celebrations, celebrity chef Kunal Kapur educates us on why green coffee is the talk of the town now…

Celebrity chef, Kunal Kapur

YS Weekender: Why coffee is considered healthy and beneficial? Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Coffee Day?

Kunal Kapur: Coffee is one of the most popular beverages consumed by people from all over the world. The distinct aroma tickles the taste buds and sparks your senses and that’s why it is probably everyone’s favourite drink. Another appealing factor that has increased the love and popularity of coffee is its versatility. It can be sweet, bitter, milky, frothy, and black, in short, it can be consumed any way you like. Along with smell, taste and its versatility, coffee can help people feel less tired and increase energy levels as it contains a stimulant called caffeine.

International Coffee Day falls on October 1

While coffee is an essential part of the day, many people, today, are becoming health-conscious and are therefore looking at healthier alternatives to their regular cuppa Joe! One of such alternatives is the unroasted cousin of regular coffee called ‘green coffee’ which has become popular for its various health benefits.

It is important to celebrate International Coffee Day as it is a day to celebrate coffee as a beverage and to promote fair trade practices and recognise the efforts of coffee growers from farmers to baristas and more.

YSW: What is green coffee? How do you prepare green coffee?

KK: In order to understand what green coffee is, we need to first understand where coffee bean comes from. A coffee bean is the seed of the coffee plant. This seed/bean is inside the coffee fruit or many times referred to as coffee cherry, thanks to how it looks and its size and colour (which is usually red or purple).

Once the coffee seed/bean is removed from the coffee cherry, it is dried either in the sun or in machines. This drying gives the outer layer of some varieties of the coffee bean a natural green colour. The immature coffee seeds are green and when mature they have a brown to yellow or reddish colour.

This dried unroasted coffee bean is then ground to a powder to get green coffee powder which is used to make a green coffee. Green coffee extract is an extract of unroasted, green coffee beans with multiple health benefits over regular coffee.

YSW: What are the benefits of green coffee?

KK: Green coffee is the next big health elixir and is the new healthy brew on the block. Unlike regular coffee, it is not roasted. This allows it to retain the natural nutrition prevalent in coffee beans and hence has 3X more antioxidant power which is otherwise lost in the roasting process naturally making it a healthier choice over regular roasted coffee. It also contains 50% CGA (Chlorogenic acid), a powerful antioxidant known to provide several health benefits. It not only aids weight management but also helps in metabolism. With health and self-care becoming a priority, we must make healthier choices for a fit and healthy life.

YSW: How can green coffee improve your health?

Green Coffee is healthier than regular coffee

KK: Health has become the number one priority today and we all are trying to evolve in the way we eat and drink in order to stay healthy and fit. Coffee, being the ‘Cuppa Joe’ of our mornings, is found in its roasted form, however green coffee (the unroasted form) is loaded with benefits.

Now imagine this ‘perfect superfood’ that is the ideal combination of health and taste consumed daily? It is all about taking those baby steps towards small easy lifestyle changes in your routine and embracing healthier choices that can make a big difference in your life.

YSW: Why should you go green on International coffee day?

KK: When we go green for the environment, we encourage people to lead environmental-conscious lives by creating small changes in their surroundings and routines in order to make it more habitable and sustainable. Applying a similar concept to ourselves in understanding what is important for our health, on International Coffee Day, we encourage you to turn towards a greener and healthier coffee, a small step / change that ultimately leads to a bigger and positive impact on yourself and your future.

YSW: How did you become interested in coffee?

KK: Being a chef and a hotelier translates into long hours of working in the kitchen which are very stressful and taxing, hence my go-to beverage over a period of time became a strong cup of coffee. Though it helped me in the short term, it had its effects in the long run. So, I changed my habit from having several cups of black coffee to the healthier green coffee over a period of time.

YSW: How did the green coffee evolve? How and when did it become a trend among coffee lovers?

KK: While the demand / interest of roasted coffee predates to decades, green coffee was made popular during the year of 2012 by Dr. Oz who said that the chlorogenic acid in green coffee is good for weight management. As the world moved into a healthier sphere and the availability of information was at the tip of our fingers, people started making conscious efforts and sacrifices to stay fit and healthy.

While many can’t do without their daily dose of caffeine, people understood the importance of the antioxidant properties (that are lost during the roasting process for regular coffee) and its long-term benefits that complement regular diet and exercise routine. Green Coffee is a powerhouse of perks that also has a light refreshing taste making it the ideal combination of health and taste.

YSW: What is the most popular coffee in the world? Which is the one you love the best besides green coffee?

KK: Coffee is something very personal. Everyone has a certain palate for it and a certain preference. Some enjoy it cold, some like it without milk; some want it with milk and some like it frothy. And each country, depending upon the weather, prefers coffee a certain way. It is difficult to put a finger on just one style and say the world is drinking it. Personally, I enjoy Madras filter coffee especially after a good South-Indian meal.

YSW: Could you also talk about your experience in MasterChef India and what drew you to the cooking field?

KK: MasterChef India is the catalyst which led to the growth of food enthusiasts that we see in our country today. Not only is it a huge platform for people to showcase their skills but, at the same time, it pushes up the food economy of our country. It has been a privilege to be a part of the show.

My early interaction with cooking started at my home kitchen watching my father and grandfather cook. They were enthusiastic Sunday cooks and I would join them stirring whatever was cooking. Growing up in a loud Punjabi family who boasts about what they ate, I been inclined towards the kitchen. And when the time came, I knew I wanted to be a chef and I pursued it.

YSW: What are your future plans?

KK: Food is fast evolving and I like to be ahead of the curve. I clearly see a huge potential in healthy foods and I am researching local healthy ingredients of India that, in a few years, will become mainstream. From using moringa in tea to making vegan curd from organic coconuts there is a lot on my plate. And then again, I can’t be far from my restaurant kitchen, so there is another restaurant on its way. Moreover, I have also just completed my second book and have started working on the third.


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