Just last week, two UK-based brothers launched CLR CFF, the first clear coffee in the world. Their motivation? Something that plagues the most devoted coffee drinkers: stained teeth.
To circumvent this teeth-tainting problem, the brothers decided to develop a recipe and production method that would banish the smile-staining powers of Arabica coffee beans.
From what you can see in photos, it looks like they’ve succeeded. (Although, you can still spot a bit of a yellow tint in certain bottles…)
So, you’re probably asking, “How’d they do it?!” The answer: we don’t exactly know.
While the brothers have thus far kept their production process a secret, in an interview with the Evening Standard, they claim the method is "based on physical processing and doesn’t involve any chemicals."
Based on the science behind why our teeth get stained by coffee, we can deduce that the method has to minimize the occurrence of dark pigments. And that’s where our issue lies.
Here’s the thing: the brown pigments that stain your teeth are the same antioxidant compounds that contribute to many of coffee’s benefits. These antioxidants, known as melanoidins, fight free radicals, which can play a role in everything from increasing weight-inducing inflammation to accelerated aging.
While one class of antioxidants is missing in CLR CFF, that doesn’t mean the translucent beverage is completely devoid of any antioxidant power. According to a Food Chemistry study, there are numerous colorless antioxidants found in coffee, which also have health benefits. Interestingly enough, a group of these antioxidants—called polyphenols—have been found by Brazilian researchers to prevent oral diseases by destroying bacteria that cause the formation of dental plaque.
However, those antioxidants are only found in high quantities in freshly brewed cups. According to a Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry study which measured antioxidant capacity of bottled brews, the effectiveness of coffee antioxidants significantly decreases after two days of storage. So it’s not just CLR CFF that’s jipping you of antioxidants; it’s most bottled brews.
Ok, so there are fewer antioxidants. So what?
Not only has The American Chemical Society reported that coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet, but a Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry study found that coffee may even be a better source of antioxidants than fruits and vegetables. The fact that CLR CFF is lacking in them defeats a major benefit of the brew.
But, are antioxidants the only benefit coffee has?
Not exactly. It’s the stimulating caffeine component that has been connected to reducing memory loss, boosting athletic endurance, and protecting against depression and Alzheimer’s disease. In that regard, both CLR CFF and a classic cuppa run you 100 milligrams of caffeine.
If CLR CFF isn’t for me, how can I prevent getting a "coffee smile"?
For those of us who don’t want to bother with this new-fangled clear coffee technology (it is only available in London right now anyway), the best way to prevent yellow-tinged chompers is to keep your coffee intake to a minimum. Colgate’s Oral Care Center blog also recommends brushing teeth—or at the very least, just rinsing your mouth out with water—after sipping a cup, or limiting your time spent drinking the beverage. (For example, drink a cup in 30 minutes rather than over the course of an hour.)
Another option is to get your caffeine fix from melanoidins-free green tea, the star drink of our best-selling The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse!
If you want to try it, go for it. But since coffee is one of the top sources of antioxidants in the American diet, and bottled, clear coffee is lacking on that front, we’d recommend sticking to a recently-roasted, freshly brewed cup (or two) a day.
Photos courtesy of Instagram, @clrcff.