We’re always looking for fun new ways to fuel our caffeine addiction, whether it’s trying trendy new varieties like dalgona coffee, getting our brew from around the world delivered straight to our door, or finding the best grinders and coffee makers on the market. The latest trend we’ve come across involves a smoother, less acidic brew that has a light color, aptly named “gold coffee.”
Gold coffee, from the brand Golden Ratio — which made a splash on Tuesday with its release of the brand-new category — is described as five times less acidic than black coffee and as smooth to drink as tea. Obviously, we had to try this gold coffee ourselves.
What is gold coffee?
Gold coffee is essentially an ultralight coffee that looks closer to tea than your average cup of joe, with some additional benefits. Golden Ratio takes single-origin beans from Nicaragua, Brazil and Ethiopia and roasts them at lower temperatures for a longer duration. The result is coffee that’s much less acidic and not as bitter.
- Golden Ratio Gold Coffee Variety Pack ($17.99 for one box, 9 pouches; drinkgoldenratio.com)
- Golden Ratio Original Gold Coffee ($14.99 for one bag, 7 pouches; drinkgoldenratio.com)
- Golden Ratio Vanilla Coconut Gold Coffee ($14.99 for one bag, 7 pouches; drinkgoldenratio.com)
- Golden Ratio Chai Spiced Gold Coffee ($14.99 for one bag, 7 pouches; drinkgoldenratio.com)
Traditionally, the lighter a coffee roast is, the more acidic it tastes. This is the result of roasting the beans for a short amount of time, which helps maintain a lot of the floral and fruity flavors (often described as “brightness”) the bean contains naturally.
On the other hand, a dark roast coffee is brewed from beans roasted at a higher temperature for a longer time, which takes away those bright flavors and acidity and instead gives it a bitter taste. Dark roasts contain less caffeine, and are thicker due to the oils that coat the beans after they’re roasted at such high temperatures.
To obtain this gold coffee’s distinct flavor and texture, Golden Ratio instead roasts beans low and slow — giving the coffee fruity, bright notes without a lot of the bitterness or biting acidity. It’s a much smoother sip that goes down easy.
Even though gold coffee may look and feel like tea, it still contains similar amounts of caffeine to normal coffee. A standard cup of coffee will have around 95 milligrams of caffeine, with black tea coming in at just under 50 milligrams. In comparison, one cup of Golden Ratio’s original blend has 100 milligrams of caffeine, meaning you lose the harsh tastes of normal coffee without losing the buzz.
What does gold coffee taste like?
To find out if gold coffee is any good, we got our hands on all three of Golden Ratio’s blends — original, vanilla coconut and chai spiced. We brewed each one both hot and cold to see how they tasted and if they were still able to give us that midafternoon pick-me-up we so desperately need every day.
Each bag of Golden Ratio coffee contains seven pouches of preground coffee. That’s right: The coffee is packaged in pouches like tea, except these are much larger. Brewing was a breeze, with directions on the back of the bag. For every 8 ounces of water, just add one Golden Ratio pouch and let it steep. For hot coffee, that means anywhere between five and 10 minutes (we preferred the stronger tastes at 10 minutes; five seemed a little watery). And if you want cold brew, just pop it in the fridge and let your coffee steep for 12 to 18 hours.
The first thing we noticed about the coffee was its color. Turns out it it’s called gold coffee for a reason. The light, yellowish hue doesn’t look anything like your normal cup of coffee, but instead more like a darker green tea, but with a thicker consistency.
It also smells quite distinct, with nutty, chocolaty notes instead of the familiar warm, roasty scents of standard coffee.
Then, of course, we drank it. The verdict: It didn’t really taste like coffee, and it didn’t really taste like tea either. We noted its nuttiness, and appreciated its smooth, almost buttery consistency. And we didn’t taste any acidity whatsoever; the coffee really did drink like tea.
We grew to enjoy the flavors, especially the chai and vanilla coconut blends. The sweetness of the vanilla blend was subtle and delicious, particularly as cold brew. Golden Ratio recommends that the original blend should only be brewed hot, and we definitely echo that. It tasted bitter and watery when we tried to brew it cold — but the other two flavors were delicious after their overnight stint in the fridge.
The taste is definitely different from what we expected; after a couple of cups, we really started to dig the herbal flavors. This may not be the blend for the picky coffee snob, but if you’re looking to shake up your coffee routine or you’ve always enjoyed tea more than coffee, you may find a new beverage to incorporate into your everyday with Golden Ratio.
The bottom line
Golden Ratio coffee is an easy brew, has plenty of caffeine to keep you fueled for the day, and tastes unlike normal coffee or tea, though we found it flavorful and enjoyable. It goes down super smooth and is a fun way to switch things up if you’re getting tired of the same ol’ cup of coffee. At $14.99 for a bag of seven pouches, or $17.99 for one variety pack that has nine pouches, it’s pricier than standard coffee beans, but comparable to other trendy brews like Four Sigmatic, MudWtr or Copper Cow Coffee.
Plus, you can save 10% if you decide to sign up for Golden Ratio’s subscription. We’re eager to see more flavors from Golden Ratio, but until then, we’ll be sipping on some vanilla cold brew as our go-to afternoon coffee.
Golden Ratio Gold Coffee Variety Pack ($17.99 for one box, 9 pouches; drinkgoldenratio.com)
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.