Q: I just saw coffee flour at the grocery store. What is it, and will it give me a caffeine buzz?

A. Coffee beans are nestled inside a fruit called a coffee cherry. After harvest, the edible fruit is often discarded, but some companies are now drying the cherries and grinding them into a soft "flour" (shown below), explains Maxine Siegel, R.D., who heads CR's food lab.

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One perk of coffee flour is its sustainability. It takes 100 pounds of coffee cherries to make 20 pounds of coffee beans, according to the National Coffee Association. That's a lot of fruit that would be thrown away. It's nutritious, too: 1 tablespoon has 5 to 6 grams of fiber (about five times more than whole-wheat flour), plus potassium and antioxidants.

But don't expect it to turn cookies into health food, says Siegel, because coffee flour can replace only up to 25 percent of the flour in baked goods.

Photo: Coffee Flour

We made two batches of blueberry muffins and brownies in the CR test kitchen, one using the regular recipe and the other swapping 20 percent coffee flour for wheat flour. Then our taste experts did a blind taste test. "The coffee flour muffin had a notably bitter taste," Siegel says. "But we hardly noticed a difference in the brownies."

For a quick health boost, try a tablespoon of coffee flour in a smoothie. You'll get a caffeine boost, too: 1 tablespoon has about 70 mg, the same as in 6 ounces of black coffee.

Get more information on healthy eating.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the December 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.