When most people look for a caffeine fix, they opt for a cup of coffee, espresso, or their favorite latte. Eating coffee beans is one of the lesser-known (but still delicious) ways of enjoying coffee. But is it safe to eat them in their pre-ground, pre-brewed state?
You can eat coffee beans, as they are edible and perfectly safe to eat. Raw coffee beans are very acidic, bitter, hard, and difficult to chew, but roasted beans give a pleasant coffee taste. In addition, roasted coffee beans are tasty treats that can be enjoyed alongside or covered in chocolate.
This article will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of eating coffee beans, their caffeine content, taste, and which types of coffee beans are best to eat raw. So if you want to stay awake for a while, keep reading.
Are Coffee Beans Safe To Eat?
Coffee beans are safe to eat and nutritious when you consume the recommended amount. They’re great to enjoy as snacks or as an alternative to regular coffee. You can eat them as they come, as part of a homemade trail mix, in desserts, or dipped in chocolate.
Because they contain more caffeine than liquid coffee, you should control the number of coffee beans you eat daily. Caffeine can help you concentrate better and feel more energetic, but it’s essential to consume it safely.
The FDA states that 400 mg of caffeine per day is the maximum amount that a healthy adult can safely consume. This equates to four or five cups of filter coffee, or 160 coffee beans, as each bean contains roughly 2.5 mg of caffeine.
What Do Coffee Beans Taste Like?
Well, the answer is quite simple: if you usually enjoy liquid coffee, you’ll almost certainly love eating coffee beans!
Depending on the variety, coffee beans taste like liquid coffee, with hints of cocoa, caramel, berries, sugar, nuts, and smoke, which all come together to give coffee its delicious taste. They can be described as liquid coffee on steroids because the flavor is far bolder, more robust, and richer.
In terms of texture, roasted coffee beans are slightly gritty but leave a pleasant after-taste in your mouth.
Can You Eat Regular Coffee Beans?
You can safely eat regular coffee beans, as no special preparation is needed to eat them. Coffee beans are widely available in grocery stores, coffee shops, and online stores, and you’ll likely find a variety that suits your budget and taste in coffee.
Coffee beans taste best when they’re fresh and have been stored correctly.
To ensure that your beans always taste as good as the day you bought them, store them in an airtight canister or container and at room temperature. Avoid exposing them to sunlight or harsh, artificial light as this can affect the taste profile.
How Many Coffee Beans Can You Eat?
Generally speaking, it’s safe to eat around 160 coffee beans per day. This equates to 400 mg of caffeine, the maximum amount of caffeine that can be safely consumed in a day. However, the caffeine content in coffee beans varies according to the bean type.
While 400mg is the maximum amount of caffeine consumed per day, try and avoid taking in this amount of caffeine in one sitting. A large influx of caffeine can result in nervousness, irritability, problems sleeping, heart palpitations, and digestive complaints.
If you find that you cannot sleep at night, try and avoid eating coffee beans from the afternoon onwards.
Can You Eat Roasted Coffee Beans?
You can eat roasted coffee beans, as eating coffee beans that have been roasted is the best way to enjoy them. When you first bite into a roasted coffee bean, you’ll be surprised to find that it’s pretty soft and gives you a strong coffee flavor kick.
Roasted coffee beans can be eaten plain or with other foods, depending on your preference.
Can You Eat Raw Coffee Beans?
You can eat raw coffee beans. Raw (or green) coffee beans are simply coffee beans that haven’t yet been roasted. They can have a woody, grassy, and slightly bitter taste with a fibrous, chewy and grainy texture, making them unpleasant and difficult to chew and swallow.
They don’t have the distinctive “coffee” taste that roasted coffee beans have. In addition, their high acidity levels can cause digestive or stomach issues in sensitive individuals.
That being said, if you like raw coffee beans, there’s no reason not to eat them, as long as you eat them in moderation.
However, be careful when biting into them if you have dentures or fillings, as this can result in a broken tooth or misplaced filling.
Can you eat Coffee Powder?
Coffee grounds are the by-product of brewed coffee made from ground coffee beans.
You can eat coffee grounds or instant coffee powder, as it is just as safe as eating coffee beans. However, you may not find them as palatable as coffee beans. Coffee powder refers to instant coffee, which is essentially brewed coffee cooled down and the water removed.
The result is a powder or a crystal which makes coffee when boiling water is added.
Coffee grounds don’t have the rich flavors, aroma, and distinctive coffee taste that coffee beans do. In addition, much of the caffeine and other healthy nutrients are lost in the brewing process, making them not as tasty and certainly not as healthy as coffee beans.
Despite this, coffee grounds still have a decent amount of fiber, which is excellent for digestion.
Instant coffee powder is very soluble and will therefore fully dissolve once it’s in your mouth. This means that there’s none of the leftover sediment or grit when chewing coffee beans.
Eating coffee powder could be an option if you don’t have access to water and need a caffeine fix. Still, most people agree that it tastes better when prepared with a cup of boiling water and sugar or cream to taste.
Does Eating Coffee Beans Give You Caffeine?
Eating coffee beans gives you caffeine, as they are a more concentrated form of caffeine than the regular coffee you drink. Therefore, you’ll want to eat them in moderation, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine.
When coffee beans are ground up and then brewed, a bit of the caffeine content is lost, which means that coffee beans have a higher concentration.
Chewing coffee beans can give you an instant caffeine boost for two reasons:
- You only need to chew a few beans to consume the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.
- Much of the caffeine is absorbed in the lining of your cheek and mouth, reaching your bloodstream quicker than liquid coffee.
How To Eat Coffee Beans
Apart from eating them on their own, there are many ways to enjoy coffee beans. So let’s take a closer look at these delicious ways.
Dipped in Chocolate
Chocolate is the perfect complement to coffee beans. Coffee beans are slightly bitter, nutty, smokey, and sometimes fruity, while chocolate is sweet and creamy.
Many stores now sell chocolate-covered coffee beans, but you can easily make your own by melting a bar of your favorite chocolate and pouring it over a handful of coffee beans. Then, once the chocolate has cooled down and solidified, you have a cheap and delicious treat!
While chocolate pairs exceptionally well with coffee beans, berries, vanilla yogurt, nuts, and milk also taste great with them. For a healthy smoothie that provides a boost in the morning, try blending a few coffee beans, strawberries, and oat milk for a tasty start to the day.
In A Trail Mix
It can be difficult to find a trail mix in most stores that contain coffee beans, but you can easily make your own. Buy a pre-made bag of trail mix or mix some raisins, cranberries, peanuts, chocolate chips, and coffee beans to make a nutritious snack that gives you a caffeine boost.
In Baked Goods and Desserts
The coffee aroma enhances the taste of sweet foods. Only a few coffee beans are needed to transform an ordinary dessert into something quite incredible.
Coffee beans can be used as a garnish for cakes, cookies, puddings, or muffins. Or, you can choose to break them into pieces and add them to your raw baking ingredients.
What Are the Best Coffee Beans To Eat?
Most people who enjoy coffee have a favorite roast, which is also true for those who love eating coffee beans.
The best coffee beans to eat will depend on your unique and individual taste. However, many coffee bean fans prefer specific roasts:
- Light roast
- Medium roast
- Dark roast
Light roast coffee beans have the mildest taste with pleasant notes of fruit, cocoa, and sometimes florals. Their slightly sweet taste perfectly complements the bitterness of the bean. They’re ideal if you have just started eating coffee beans.
Do you want a coffee bean that is not too acidic and has a well-rounded taste profile? Medium roast coffee beans are the middle ground between full-body aroma, acidity, and flavor preservation.
They tend to bring out cocoa and caramel notes while not being overpowering or too strong.
If you’re looking for the richest type of coffee bean, a dark roast variety is your best bet. Dark roast coffee beans provide strong cocoa, spice, fruit, and sugar flavors with minimal acidity, giving them a bold taste and a long-lasting aroma.
Coffee Bean Variety
Once you have identified the perfect roasting level for your coffee beans, you can narrow your choice down according to the coffee bean variety.
Some of the most popular coffee bean varieties for eating include:
If you enjoy a gentle and smooth flavor profile for your coffee, you might enjoy Arabica coffee beans. These coffee beans boast a delicate taste that is low in acidity, yielding notes of sugar, chocolate, and sometimes berries, depending on the brand.
Arabica coffee beans are usually large and flat, making them easy to bite into. Still, you might want to snap them in half before chewing. They also have less caffeine, so you could safely enjoy a few more beans if you decide to eat them.
However, they are more expensive than other coffee bean types as the harvesting process is more intense.
Excelsa coffee is generally only found in specialty coffee stores and isn’t as popular as other varieties. Despite this, Excelsa coffee lovers enjoy its woody, berry, and fruity flavor overtones. They have a richer flavor if you like dark roasts, with creamy chocolate notes.
They contain only between 0.9% to 1.2% caffeine and aren’t that soluble, meaning you’ll have leftover grit when you brew or chew the coffee.
Robusta coffee beans have higher caffeine and chlorogenic acid content than other beans, giving them a slightly more bitter taste. They also contain less sugar and tend to have a smokey and woody flavor.
With their small, round shape, Robusta beans are very convenient to pop into your mouth, and their cost-effective price is also an advantage.
The Liberica coffee bean has an almond shape and is the largest of all coffee beans.
Although not available in all grocery stores or coffee shops, it’s well worth trying to source Liberica beans if you like a spicy, smokey and nutty taste to your coffee bean.
If you concentrate hard enough, you may also notice the ripe berry, dark chocolate, and floral notes, giving it a very unique taste.
Pros and Cons of Eating Coffee Beans
As with everything in life, there are both benefits and drawbacks to eating coffee beans. Let’s take a closer look at these pros and cons.
- Excellent caffeine boost when on the go.
- Good source of fiber.
- Contain more antioxidants than regular caffeine.
- Enhances the flavor of desserts.
- Great, low-calorie snack choice.
- It may help reduce the risk of many health conditions.
Excellent Caffeine Boost When On The Go
Coffee beans contain more concentrated levels of caffeine than regular coffee. As a result, they can be a convenient alternative to regular coffee, especially if you don’t have time to grab a cup. All you need to do is is grab a few beans, put them in a plastic bag and go out the door.
Good Source of Fiber
Coffee beans have naturally high fiber content, making them a portion of healthy food. Fiber can help reduce cholesterol levels, reduce your risk for certain dread diseases, stabilize your weight and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
If you struggle to consume enough fiber, snacking on a few coffee beans every day might be an excellent option for you.
Contain More Antioxidants Than Regular Caffeine
Coffee beans are an excellent source of antioxidants. Sadly, a large portion of antioxidants is lost when coffee beans are brewed. Therefore, if you want to consume coffee for health benefits, coffee beans would be considered healthier.
Enhances the Flavor of Desserts
Adding a few coffee beans to desserts, especially chocolate desserts, can enhance the flavor and bring out the sweetness.
Whether you garnish your ice cream with a couple of coffee beans or you sprinkle some ground coffee beans on your coconut cream pie, you can be sure that it’ll make the treat that much tastier.
Great, Low-Calorie Snack Choice
If you love snacking on tasty treats but are also trying to lose weight, coffee beans are something to consider! It’s very straightforward and inexpensive to make your own trail mix by combining a few coffee beans, some nuts, raisins, and any other ingredient you like.
It May Help Reduce the Risk of Many Health Conditions
Coffee beans contain nutrients, such as antioxidants, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium, and niacin.
Research has shown that consuming coffee in the recommended quantity can yield health benefits, including:
- Decreases the risk of liver disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and Parkinson’s disease.
- Keeps the heart healthy.
- Need to be consumed in moderation.
- Green coffee beans can cause digestive complaints.
- Easy to eat too many.
Need To Be Consumed in Moderation
Suppose you want to eat coffee beans and also drink coffee. In that case, you could easily exceed the daily recommended amount of caffeine, which is 400mg. So you need to be careful not to consume too many in one sitting.
Depending on the type of coffee bean you eat, on average, you can safely consume about 160 beans each day.
Green Coffee Beans Can Cause Digestive Complaints
Green coffee beans are coffee beans that haven’t yet been roasted. The roasting process decreases the levels of chlorogenic acid, making green coffee beans more likely to cause stomach and digestive issues.
Easy To Eat Too Many
There’s no doubt that coffee beans are very addicting. But, like potato chips, it isn’t easy to eat just one. Unfortunately, this makes it easy to eat too many, which is dangerous. It could mean you consume too much caffeine or suffer from digestive or sleep complaints.
It’s always a good idea to closely monitor the number of coffee beans you eat on any given day to not suffer from any unwanted side effects.
Not only are coffee beans edible, but they’re also delicious and nutritious snacks, which can be enjoyed in many different ways. As long as you consume them in moderation, their high concentration of nutrients means that you only need a few coffee beans to reap excellent health benefits.