Lifestyle | Interviews

Golden Ratio Gold Coffee: Certified Low FODMAP Coffee

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More and more lab tested and certified low FODMAP food products are hitting the market and every once in a while something really catches our eye. 

Golden Ratio has developed a type of coffee beverage that is all new, low acid and their signature product is lab tested and certified low FODMAP by Monash University. They call it gold coffee and we want to tell you about it, as well as about the folks who brought this beverage to market.

Don’t miss the great deal they are having for FODMAP Everyday® readers until November 30th! See at the bottom of this article.

two hands with cups of coffee clinking together
Golden Ratio coffee brews up a lovely gold color.

Brewed like tea, except that it is coffee, Golden Ratio offers Original Gold Coffee which is certified Low FODMAP, Chai Spiced Gold Coffee, and Vanilla Flavored Coconut Gold Coffee and Golden Milk Gold Coffee – with special seasonal flavors occasionally offered. Let’s dive in and chat with brand founder Clark Nowlin.

Dédé Wilson: Clark, thank you for talking with us. I think we first have to define your product for our community. What is “gold coffee”? What kind of coffee beans are used, how are they processed and how is it different from the coffee we already have at home?

“Gold Coffee” refers to the way we roast our beans. Whereas light, medium, and dark roasts are roasted into or past the first “crack” (a literal crack in the bean), gold coffee is roasted at lower temperatures and never reaches the first crack. Any beans you have at home are most likely a light, medium, or dark roast, and are all dark brown (almost black) in color when brewed. Our “gold roasted” beans yield a much lighter, golden colored brew.

Dédé: Tell us about how you decided to develop this product in the first place.

The idea to start Golden Ratio came when I was on vacation in Seattle and was given a taste of gold coffee at a high end coffee shop, and was told it was something that was growing in popularity within that barista community. I have a sensitive stomach and as much as I love coffee, I never felt like black coffee loved me (or my stomach) back. The gold coffee I sampled didn’t mess with my stomach at all.

When I returned home to Austin I couldn’t find gold coffee anywhere in retail stores or online, so I began tinkering with the idea of starting my own gold coffee brand. After two years of developing the formulas and brand, we launched Golden Ratio in June 2020!

Dédé: Please explain what the product looks like and how does one make a cup of Golden Ratio coffee?

We’re pioneers of “gold roasted” coffee, and gold roasted beans by themselves have a light golden color, unlike traditionally roasted brown beans. When brewed, our coffee has a beautiful golden hue that varies a bit by flavor and looks nothing like your traditional black coffee.

We designed Golden Ratio with convenience in mind. All of our flavors come in organic cotton pouches (essentially tea bags) that you steep in hot or cold water just like tea! To prepare a cup of gold, just steep a pouch in boiling water for 5-10 min or stick it in a glass of cold water and let it steep for 10-12 hours in your fridge. We recommend brewing in 8-ounces of water but many of our customers use more water, up to 16-ounces per pouch.

a hand holding a glass cup of golden ratio gold coffee on a blue background
. When brewed, our coffee has a beautiful golden hue that varies a bit by flavor and looks nothing like your traditional black coffee.
Dédé: Can you describe what your gold coffees taste like? 

Gold coffee roasts at lower temps, so the beans don’t reach the level of caramelization that gives coffee the “coffee” taste as we know it. All of our flavors could be described as tasting more like a full bodied tea than the flavor we typically associate with black coffee. One could describe Original Gold as our”base flavor” with no ingredients other than coffee, and has been described as having an earthy, nutty flavor.

Gold coffee is completely free of bitterness, which is great if you’re someone who adds milk or creamer to coffee to mask the bitterness in black coffee. Our other flavors have a monk fruit & erythritol blend (0 calorie sweeteners) that make them sweeter than the original (more on that below).

Dédé: So, since it is coffee, we assume it contains caffeine. How much does it contain and how does it compare to a cup of black tea and a cup of brewed black coffee?

This is a great question and one worth explaining, since there’s actually a fairly wide range of caffeine content depending on the flavor of gold brew you’re talking about and whether you’re brewing it hot or cold. A regular 8-ounce cup of coffee contains ~90 mg of caffeine, while black tea has ~45 mg.

Golden Ratio has more caffeine when brewed cold (leave pouch in glass of water in the fridge for 12 hours) and less caffeine when brewed hot (steep in boiling water for 4 min).

We use two different kinds of beans (Brazilian and Ethiopian) and the caffeine can vary depending on which kind of bean we’re using. Our Chai Spice flavor has the lowest amount of caffeine per serving (45 mg when brewed hot), but this can be increased by steeping for longer. Here’s a table that shows all the caffeine levels. The golden rule is steep for longer = stronger caffeine. It may take a couple tests to find the right level for you!

FlavorBrewed HotBrewed Cold
Original Gold80mg140mg
Chai Spiced45mg135mg
Vanilla Coconut80mg140mg
Golden Milk120mg130mg
Dédé: A high percentage of people suffer from stomach discomfort and acid reflux after drinking regular coffee. We know that a key point of your Golden Ratio beverages is that they are low acid. In fact, you state that they are 5x less acidic than coffee. Can you tell us more about this?

Coffee contains a number of acid compounds including chlorogenic, quinic, and citric, amongst others, and our product is lower in pH than coffee. We reached out to Monash trained dietitians, the Facebook community, and also asked the RDs to share our product with their clients. We wanted to get direct input from those dealing with digestive issues and their reactions to our golden coffee.

Some of the dietitian quotes included: 

  • “…The patients I gave samples to have really enjoyed them as well and were pleased that it didn’t exacerbate digestive symptoms (especially those that have issues with acid reflux) which is a huge win.”
  • “… I loved that it was like an in-between coffee – tea type drink and was really smooth with no bitterness!…I will definitely be recommending to low fodmap clients to try this!”
  • “…I definitely noticed a difference in how it made my stomach feel. I tried it in the afternoon, when I sometimes crave a little caffeine and coffee and tea are normally too acidic. So I can definitely see how it could be a great product for my customers with GERD, or Ulcerative Colitis that the acid is irritating.”
  •  “…considering that it is Monash certified and low in acidity are major pros. This certainly will be a product that I would happily recommend to my patients.”
  •  “…I believe that this will be helpful for my patients who cannot tolerate coffee, who need less acidic drinks.”

From our Facebook community we heard:

  • “… no sour stomach, diarrhea, gas or bloating.”
  • “I had less urgency…”
  • “I still had to use the bathroom after I drank this, however there was not as much of the urgency as I normally experience. I currently drink a low acid coffee every day but I could tell the difference that this one seemed to be much more smooth on my stomach.”
  • “It seems like Golden Ratio doesn’t affect my symptoms as much as “regular” coffee.”
Dédé: Those are real-world reports; that’s great! And a great segue to discuss Monash University’s certification program. How did you decide to enter the realm of lab tested low FODMAP products?

Since we launched Golden Ratio, we’ve made it a priority to constantly interview and survey our customers to learn more about the people buying our coffee and make sure we’re giving them what they want. As an e-commerce company with a low acid product, we asked ourselves “where do people with IBS and digestive issues hang out on the internet?” That question led us to discovering a list of blogs and websites that talk about managing with IBS, and the low FODMAP diet was frequently mentioned as a way for people to address IBS! That’s when we found out about the Monash certification, and decided that as an IBS friendly product we wanted to get lab tested and certified.

Dédé: And it is your Original Gold that is certified low FODMAP by Monash University. I just want to mention to our readers that your flavored offerings contain monk fruit and erythritol and there are lab tested certified products on the market that contain these sweeteners. We suggest folks try them when they are stable and assess their own tolerance.
Who is your consumer? Are they mostly coffee drinkers? Tea drinkers? 

Most of our customers are coffee drinkers who either have an issue with regular black coffee that’s addressed by our gold coffee, or simply want to change their black coffee routine once in a while to have something different. There are a few benefits of gold coffee that motivate people to try Golden Ratio, and the low acidity factor has proven to be the benefit that most people want from our product.

A large cohort of our customers suffer from IBS and have either put up with the negative effects of coffee for years in order to get the caffeine from coffee, or have cut out coffee completely and are trying it again to see if gold roasted beans have less of a negative impact on their IBS.

We also see a fair amount of tea drinkers trying out Golden Ratio – we’ve been called “coffee for tea drinkers” since even though we’re coffee, our products look and taste more like tea. Golden Ratio even comes in tea bags!

milk being poured into a glass full of ice and gold coffee
Gold coffee makes a wonderfully refreshing iced coffee!
Dédé: I see you have a subscription service? Can you elaborate on that?

The majority of American adults drink at least one cup of coffee or tea every day, making Golden Ratio a very “subscribable” product, as it has strong potential to become part of your everyday routine. It’s nice to not have to think about ordering something every month that you’re consuming on a regular basis. 

We wanted to offer real value to our customers through our program while making it as easy as possible for people to manage. Our “Midas Members” get 20% off every order, receive a free box of any new flavor we launch, and can manage their subscriptions through text message. If you need to skip a delivery or change up your products, it only takes seconds.

Right now we also have a special offer for FODMAP Everyday® readers through November 30th. See details below.

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