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Probiotic Coffee Is Probably Good for You, but How Does It Taste?

Somewhat predictably, sour

Ever feel like coffee just doesn’t make you poop enough? 

Well soon, there might be a coffee that makes you poop even more! Researchers at the National University of Singapore announced this month that they have successfully created coffee and tea drinks packed with probiotics. We have one question, though: Does it taste any good?

Most of the mainstream probiotic food options are derived from dairy, giving limited options for vegans and lactose-intolerant people. As such, the researchers wanted to create a product that could serve a much broader portion of the population. Given that coffee and tea are some of the most widely consumed beverages globally, they seemed like a good fit. 

The problem is, probiotics are finicky. Live probiotics require fermentation, but not all will survive in coffee. In order to boost viability, the researchers experimented with adding nutrients to both the coffee and tea to allow the probiotics to feed and multiply while retaining the majority of their original flavor. The tea requires two days of fermentation before being ready to drink, while the coffee requires one day of fermentation, followed by refrigeration, to be ready to drink in its chilled form. When they’re done, they contain over 1 billion units of live probiotics. 

According to Associate Professor Liu Shao Quan, supervisor of the study in the Department of Food Science and Technology, both the coffee and tea taste “similar to traditional ones.” However, “they can taste a bit sour, with fruity notes” if no sugar is added. Among the coffees specifically, there is some variety in terms of acidity and mouthfeel, just as with non-probiotic coffee. Milk and other common coffee or tea additives (a la the aforementioned sugar) can enhance the taste, the press release says. 

That sour element is pretty common among most types of probiotic consumables. Yogurt or kombucha, for example, all need some sugar to not taste completely tart. Regardless, the scientists are still working on refining the flavor before the drink would become available commercially. 

Basically, it seems like probiotic coffee in particular will make you poop in the short term while improving your gut health in the long term. Even if it’s a little more sour than regular coffee, that seems like a fair trade.