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CFTRI Scientists Develop a New Coffee Leaf Beverage With Lots of Health Benefits

There is a chance for coffee growers to get additional cash from their plants throughout the year apart from income from the sale of beans. Mysuru-based Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) has developed a technology to prepare a value-added product from coffee leaves that packs in health benefits too.

Ayushi Raina
Coffee leaf and beans
Coffee leaf and beans

Apart from the income from the sale of beans, coffee producers now have an opportunity to earn extra money from their plants throughout the year. The Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) in Mysuru has developed a technology for producing a value-added coffee leaf product that also offers various health benefits.

Coffee is only harvested for a few months out of the year, depending on the harvest season in the country. For a considerable portion of the year, this can leave a number of producers and employees without work (and money).

Some producers, on the other hand, have opted to diversify the crops they raise and sell. According to Pushpa S. Murthy, Principal Scientist (Spice and Flavour Science Department) of CFTRI, since coffee leaves are continually generated, producers may harvest them in the off-season if there is demand.

This technology is the result of a CFTRI initiative in 2019 to generate value-added products from coffee leaves. The Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries provided funding for the project.

Farmers will be able to use leaves harvested during the off-season or during pruning without interfering with the growth of coffee beans, which will have a significant influence on the social status of coffee farmers, she said.

Due to the nature of the coffee bean's growing cycle, over 70% of the coffee industry is unemployed or underemployed during nine months of the year.

The project's goal was to give coffee producers with a year-round sustainable procedure.

The brew can be made with water, steeped for a few minutes, filtered, and consumed using CFTRI technology. According to her, the institute has started the process of transferring this technology to the coffee business, and a few industry partners have already given their assent.

According to Murthy, the leaf brew doesn't really taste like coffee. "It's a subtle brew with less caffeine than coffee or tea," she said. In terms of the beverage's nutritional content, she claims that coffee leaves are high in phenolic acids, which may have health benefits. Green tea has around 17% more antioxidants than a coffee leaf. The beverage should be consumed in its natural state.

According to her, the beverage contains health-promoting polyphenols including chlorogenic acid and mangiferin, which assist to lower blood glucose, inflammation, and blood pressure.

In Sumatra, Ethiopia, Leaf drinks 'kuti' and 'kahwa daun' are popular

For centuries, coffee leaf tea has been consumed in Sumatra, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Java, and Sudan.

Ethiopian farmers set aside their produced coffee for trade or consumption in special ceremonies from the 16th to the 19th centuries. As a day-to-day drink, the Harari people in Ethiopia instead enjoyed ‘kuti’.

'Kuti' tea was prepared by steeping coffee leaves in hot water and adding a pinch of salt or sugar if desired. It was usually simmered for at least 30 minutes since it was thought that the longer the leaves were boiled, the sweeter the drink would be.

Green tea and coffee leaf tea have certain similarities, but coffee leaf tea is earthier and sweeter. It has less caffeine than green tea and, due to its strong antioxidant content, has long been believed to heal or ease cold symptoms.

Dutch colonists in Indonesia brought coffee plants to specified farming sites in the 19th century. Workers on the coffee farms were not allowed to drink the coffee they picked, so they drank "kahwa daun" instead.

To lessen the bitterness of coffee leaves, 'Kahwa daun' was created by drying them in the sun. After that, the leaves were smoked and roasted for several hours. They'd then be soaked in boiling water before being served in a coconut shell.

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