Cakes Treat yourself to a dose of tea and coffee

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On a crisp autumn afternoon, there are few better pairings than a hot drink and a sweet pastry. But what if you could use leftover tea leaves or coffee grounds from your drink to turn this tasty treat into a healthier treat? Reporting researchers ACS Omega they did just that by incorporating used tea or coffee grounds into the sponge cake batter to create a more nutritious and longer lasting snack.

Tea and coffee are among the most consumed beverages in the world – after water. In addition to caffeine, both are rich in bioactive substances, including antioxidants, fiber, and important nutrients, including potassium and calcium. However, during the brewing process, many of these compounds remain, either in the coffee grounds or in the tea leaves. Spent tea or coffee has been added to animal feed and agricultural compost in the past, but few researchers have looked at incorporating these wastes into foods to enrich them for human consumption. So Abdelrahman Ahmed, Khaled Ramadan, Mohamed Mahmoud and colleagues wanted to incorporate used tea and coffee powder into biscuits, as well as investigate their nutritional and sensory properties and shelf life.

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To create the powders, the team brewed either black tea or Arabica coffee, then thoroughly rinsed, dried and crushed the remaining grounds or leaves. These were then added in varying amounts to the flour used for the sponge cake, resulting in loaves with either 1%, 2% or 3% powder. This material gave the cakes a higher antioxidant activity and increased the concentration of important nutrients compared to control cakes made only with regular flour. However, the sensory panel rated loaves with a higher amount of tea powder used as having lower sensory properties, mainly due to their dark appearance. The cakes with spent coffee powder were scored similarly to the control loaves in terms of appearance, taste and texture. In addition, the fortified cakes were slightly more stable in storage and had less microbial growth after up to 14 days of storage. The researchers say the work could help provide new ways to recycle otherwise useless products and improve the nutritional value of food.

Link: Ahmed AR, Alqahtani NK, Ramadan KMA, Mohamed HI, Mahmoud MAA, Elkatry HO. The bioactive substances in the used black tea and Arabic coffee could improve the nutritional value and extend the shelf life of the sponges after fortification. ACS Omega. 2023;8(37):33593-33609. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.3c03747

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