Coffee lovers may soon be in for a brand new wellness perk. Food scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed a probiotic-rich coffee and tea, which are designed to boost digestive health. The two doctoral students claim that not only do these good-for-your-gut drinks contain as many as 1 billion units of live probiotics, but they can be stored at room temperature for more than 14 weeks without losing their effectiveness. And they taste delicious.
While consumers can easily find fermented live and active cultures present in a number of dairy products (like raw milk, yogurt, kefir, and aged cheeses, such as gouda, cheddar, and Swiss), the inspiration behind the new beverages stems from the desire to offer people a new option rich in beneficial bacteria. The target audience includes those who follow the fast-spreading vegan diet, as well as those who have been diagnosed with certain health conditions, such as lactose intolerance, dairy allergy, or high cholesterol. (Related: The One Vitamin Doctors Are Urging Everyone to Take Right Now.)
The coffee and tea undergo different fermentation processes. The creator of the gut-healthy chilled coffee added selected nutrients and probiotics to brewed coffee and allowed the beverage to ferment for 24 hours before placing it in the fridge. Even better, the caffeine content remained intact, along with the chlorogenic acid content—organic compounds that have been shown to have anti-diabetic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-obesity effects, according to a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition.
There are multiple coffee varieties, as well. “Some of the probiotic coffees give better-balanced acidity, some give better mouthfeels, some have deeper smoky flavors, and some can retain the coffee flavor better after long-term storage,” its creator Alcine Chan said in a press release.
The gut-friendly tea was also made with chosen nutrients and probiotics, yet this drink ferments for two days. It maintains its natural fruity or floral notes, as well as its polyphenols (micronutrients found in tea that may ward off cancer, neurological diseases, and cardiovascular diseases). Plus, thanks to the fermentation process, this tea produces the antibacterial agent phenyllactate.
The National Institutes of Health has not established an official recommendation for probiotic intake. However, the agency highlights that boosting the gut microbiome may benefit individuals with digestive disorders, high cholesterol, and eczema.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait a while longer to get your hands on fermented coffees and teas. The NUS researchers have filed a patent for their recipes and plan on joining forces with food and beverage companies to distribute the product in the future.
Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest food and health news delivered straight to your inbox.