Coffee byproducts are a powerhouse of antioxidants

The vast majority of coffee byproducts make their way to the landfill -- their apparent benefits wasted.
By Brooks Hays  |  May 7, 2015 at 12:33 PM
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GRANADA, Spain, May 7 (UPI) -- During both the coffee production process and the brewing process, a sizeable amount of waste is generated. And a new study suggests that some of these coffee byproducts are filled with antioxidants.

Researchers from the University of Granada found that antioxidant levels in spent coffee grounds and coffee silver skin are especially high. The silver skin is one of the protective layers in between the outer coffee berry and the beans inside; it is typically removed prior to roasting.

Some consumers use spent coffee grains as a do-it-yourself exfoliant. Others deposit coffee grounds into their compost pile. But the vast majority of coffee byproducts make their way to the landfill.

That's a shame, according to researcher and food science professor Jose Angel Rufian Henares. Henares' research team found silver skins and used coffee grounds to be rich in fiber and phenols, and to have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties 500 times greater than vitamin C.

"They also contain high levels of melanoidins, which are produced during the roasting process and give coffee its brown color," Henares explained in a press release. "The biological properties of these melanoidins could be harnessed for a range of practical applications, such as preventing harmful pathogens from growing in food products."

Unfortunately these melanoidins also interfere with the health benefits of coffee byproducts, and would need to be removed in order to maximize the nutritional benefits of silver skin and spent grounds.

Henares and his team of researchers hope their work will inspire food producers to find a way to employ coffee byproducts towards healthful ends.

The research was recently published in the journal Food Science and Technology.

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