Coffeeberry and Green Coffee Beans: Game Changing Ingredients for Energy Drinks

I declared myself a biochemistry/chemistry major in 2003 – right at the beginning of the Energy Drink Boom. Fascinated by these drinks and all the fears surrounding their use, I’ve applied my education (and basically all my free time) toward understanding the science behind energy drinks and their ingredients. In 2003, energy drinks contained synthetic caffeine as well as caffeine extracts from guarana and yerba mate. While synthetic caffeine was often criticized for being synthetic, guarana and yerba mate were often criticized for being “dangerous stimulants”. Then along came green coffee bean extract and coffeeberry/coffee fruit. As a caffeine consumer, you may be wondering, what is it about green coffee beans and coffeeberry that make it special? I encourage you to geek out with me over these game-changing energy drink ingredients.


Coffee fruit, as explained beautifully by BevNet, is

“…that part of the coffee plant that, much like other fruit, surrounds, nourishes and protects the coffee bean. While the shape, look, and size of the fruit are reminiscent of a cranberry, it has a flavor that is sweet and rather nondescript, perhaps one of the reasons that unlike most other fruit, it is most often discarded in favor of its seed.”

The fruit of the coffee plant has always been considered waste because it spoils so quickly. However, a team from Futureceuticals developed methods for preserving and processing the fruit before it spoiled.

One gram of the whole coffee fruit (including the coffee bean inside) contains about 5 milligrams of caffeine, plus a variety of plant antioxidants often called “polyphenols”. If you thought green coffee beans were loaded with great plant nutrients, the coffee fruit is even better.:

“As the only product that safely preserves the robust nutritional profile of the whole coffee fruit, CoffeeBerry® has unparalleled antioxidant properties. A single gram of the CoffeeBerry® Whole Powder provides the approximate antioxidant potential equivalent to 33 grams of blueberries. Just 1 gram of our 85% phenolic acids CoffeeBerry® concentrate yields 15,000 ORAC units per gram, or 1,500,000 ORAC units per 100 grams.” – John M. Hunter, General Manager of FutureCeuticals, Inc. [BevNet]

“There is only one CoffeeBerry®”

I am not a lawyer, nor do I know anything about the ingredient sourcing partnerships between ingredient suppliers and the caffeinated beverages I drink on a regular basis. Nonetheless, I bring this up because it’s come to my attention that there are quite a few different products on the market which include “coffee berry”, “coffee fruit” or some derivative of this capitalization and spacing.

The quote above from Mr. John Hunter stood out to me because, while coffeeberry or coffee fruit may appear on different caffeinated beverages, it seems FutureCeuticals is the only one (thus far?) with its patents for use:

[December 2013] “FutureCeuticals today announced the issuance of three United States patents covering the production of products from whole coffee fruit or portions thereof, including coffee fruit powders, extracts, and concentrates. The patents also cover use of coffee fruit products as ingredients in food and beverage and dietary supplement products.” [Source]

Why does it matter where your coffee berry/coffee fruit comes from?

My only warning here is to watch out for shady supplement suppliers who try to capitalize on an ingredient with a glowing, attractive name and sell fake or adulterated products. [See my mock confession, “Confessions of a Shady Supplement Supplier”]

The bottom line is you SHOULD be excited when you see coffeeberry/coffee fruit in your energy drink.

This ingredient provides not just the caffeine we all know and love, but also the intangible, unquantifiable benefits of plant antioxidants. It helps create caffeinated beverages that can beat the energy drink stereotype. Plus, it’s a very small gesture toward reducing food waste in manufacturing (though I have absolutely no facts or figures here to substantiate exactly how much food waste is reduced – sorry).

  • Click HERE to see the caffeinated beverages with coffeeberry/coffee fruit we’ve reviewed on


Coffee bean extract, also referred to as green coffee bean extract, comes from coffee beans that don’t go through the roasting process of coffee beans used for, you know, real coffee.

There are many health benefits associated with drinking coffee (Caffeine Informer lists at least 25) but the antioxidant activity of coffee is attributed to an antioxidant named chlorogenic acid (or “CGA” for short). However, roasting can break this little CGA guy, thus diminishing the benefits he’d bring us. And therein lies the appeal of unroasted coffee beans.

More proof food processing is evil…totally joking! Let’s not really go there.

Green coffee beans have gotten some attention in recent years as the latest plant to enable weight loss. First of all, ALL SOURCES of caffeine can be associated with weight loss because of how caffeine affects reactions all over the body to encourage the use of fat molecules over carbs for fuel. Second of all, let’s skip the miracles and skepticism and instead talk about what the latest research papers say:

  • Green coffee extract can’t help control blood sugar or insulin concentration (at least not post-exercise). When cyclists got sugar and a placebo or caffeine or green coffee extract after a workout, there were no significant differences in blood glucose or insulin levels. (This was with 5 mg per kg bodyweight CGA, too! So we can’t blame “ineffective doses” for lack of an effect) [2015, Nutrition]
  • Roasting coffee beans reduces the amount of CGA [2009, J Agric Food Chem] BUT…
  • Total Polyphenol Content and Antioxidant Activity isn’t always superior for green coffee bean extract. Some varieties of the green coffee beans had smaller polyphenol content than the roasted ones. (Same genus, same species, different variety, different Polyphenol Content!) [2015, Mol Med Rep]
  • When coffee beans are roasted, the CGA content goes down, but OTHER polyphenols, like polymeric melonoidins, are formed during the roasting process thanks to the Maillard Reaction. [2017, Phytochem Anal]

Thanks, nerd, but what do I do with this information?

What this means is green coffee beans are not the miracle plant some people are hoping for, but it’s still a source of antioxidants. Also, these green coffee extracts sure help take the coffee-taste out of non-coffee caffeinated beverages.

Ultimately, this means more options for those who like to get their caffeine from something other than soda, coffee, tea, or the stereotypical energy drink!

  • Click HERE to see the caffeinated beverages with coffeeberry/coffee fruit we’ve reviewed on


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