The coffeefruit (also known as the coffee cherry) is the small red fleshy berry that holds coffee beans while they grow on the vine. When the cherries are harvested and the beans extracted, the skins are most-often recycled into compost.

However, the coffee cherry is also considered to be a superfood, full of antioxidant properties that may also help to lower cholesterol. Having this knowledge is what inspired Ben Weiss to launch Bai Brands, a NJ-based beverage company whose base-ingredient is the coffeefruit. Ben, a veteran of the coffee and beverage industry, learned about this underutilized part of the coffee plant while visiting Indonesia. He became determined to create a healthy energy drink that took advantage of the fruit’s many benefits. After several years of extensive research, in 2009, Bai (Mandarin Chinese for “pure”) was officially in business.

The actual taste of coffeefruit has been described as a bit sweet-tart, sort of like watermelon mixed with jasmine or rosewater. But that is not the focus of Bai5 Antioxidant Infusions, a range of yummy organic beverages infused with coffeefruit and sweetened with stevia. Exotic flavors include Sumatra Dragonfruit, Molokai Coconut, Congo Pear, and (my favorite) Costa Rica Clementine, and each bottle only contains 5 calories! The taste is light and sweet, but not too strong, and since the ingredients are all-natural, there is no weird or chemical aftertaste. Drink Bai5 straight or mix it into smoothies, frescas, and cocktails for a nice lighter alternative to the sugar-heavy versions – Bai has tons of recipes on their website to inspire you.

Learn more: DrinkBai.com

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