Have you been eyeing up your bag of beans in the cupboard and wondering if you can crunch on them like a bag of peanuts?
Can you eat coffee beans at all? How would you even go about eating coffee beans?
We’ll cover all of these questions and more. So stick around to find out!
Can You Eat Coffee Beans?
Yes, you can eat coffee beans in the same way you can eat the nuts of other fruits.
But remember, the consumption of beans should be done in moderation due to the effects of caffeine.
What Sorts of Beans to Eat
There aren’t any set coffee beans to eat and ones to avoid. As long as they’re from a reputable supplier, you’re good to go.
But we do recommend eating roasted coffee beans because raw, green beans are acidic and not particularly pleasant to our taste buds.
Once roasted, the beans take on a nuttier, caramel or fruity taste depending on the type of coffee you buy.
The bean you choose depends on what taste you like.
Starbucks coffee beans are known for their heavy, slightly bitter taste because they tend to be imported from Brazil.
However, if you were to eat coffee beans from Africa, you may find them to be sweeter and fruiter.
Check out our best coffee beans guide for potential options to get started with!
How to Eat Coffee Beans
The recommended daily intake for the average adult is up to 400 mg of caffeine. And depending on the species you choose to eat, a single coffee bean can hold anywhere between 1.9 mg and 2.9 mg of caffeine.
Since coffee beans are much more potent than a ground cup of coffee, the general recommendation is to eat no more than ten beans a day.
Remember to never swallow coffee beans whole.
Coffee beans are just like other nuts, so you can chew away at them as a tasty snack or grind them down and mix them in with food and drink.
How Coffee Beans Taste
This is a tricky question because, like a cup of coffee, the variety of taste depends on which plant the bean came from, how it has been processed, and the country it has produced in.
There will always be a slightly nutty bitter taste underneath that comes with coffee in general.
But depending on the processing method used, coffee can also have sweet tasting coffee, fruity notes, caramel notes, or smoky tones.
A coffee bean can also be fruity, tart, woody, earthy, creamy, herby or spicy since there is a broad range of artisan coffee where extracting specific flavors has been turned into an art form.
Chocolate-coated coffee beans mask the bitter bean taste and can be very moreish!
Read our round-up of the best-tasting coffee beans to find the bag that will suit you to a tee and get your taste buds dancing!
The general rule of thumb regarding flavors to expect:
- Brazil: nutty
- South and Central America: sweet and caramelly
- Africa: fruity
- Asia: ashy and woody.
What Are The Benefits of Eating Coffee Beans
As with a lot of things, there are a lot of benefits in moderation. Coffee beans provide wonderful advantages so long as they’re consumed responsibly.
The one benefit to having coffee beans over a cup of coffee is that all the benefits you get from coffee won’t be diluted.
Coffee has been documented to bring the following benefits:
- Contains high amounts of amino acids and antioxidants, such as polyphenols (linked to blocking cancer cells)
- Serves as a low-fat snack
- Is high in fiber
- Boosts brain chemicals that improve mental focus and a positive mood
- Has been linked to reducing major health risks including heart disease, liver disease and certain cancers
Risks of Eating Coffee Beans
But in the same way that drinking eight cups of coffee a day wouldn’t do you any favors, so it is with eating too many coffee beans.
In fact, you have to be more cautious about the overconsumption of coffee beans because they’re so potent and unfiltered.
Some of these risks include:
- Sickness and nausea (caffeine poisoning)
- Anxiety and increased heart rate
- Increased risk of harm for pregnant women
- Sleep disturbance (caffeine blocks chemicals that have been linked to drowsiness and affects neurotransmitters)
Different Ways to Eat Coffee Beans
Coffee has been consumed for eons, so as you can imaging there are many ways to eat them.
Whole Coffee Beans
You can buy the raw form of the bean before it’s roasted. This is called the green bean and can be bought in packs.
People don’t usually chew on these as a snack simply because they’re so acidic and difficult to eat.
You can also buy roasted beans, which people find much more appetizing. This is softer and tastier but the texture is still quite crunchy and gritty.
If you’d rather roast your own beans, we’ve compiled a list of the best coffee bean roasters available right now. Be sure to also follow our how-to guide on roasting coffee beans at home!
Roasted Coffee Grounds
If the idea of snacking on them whole doesn’t appeal to you, why not try crushing the beans and mixing them into other food and drink?
You can add coffee grounds to cakes and cookies as well as other desserts.
Coffee grounds can also be added to shakes and smoothies for drinks. But be mindful that they may still have a grainy texture.
The ground-up coffee can also use it as a spice since people have been known to rub it into their meat as a dry herb.
Preparing Coffee Beans as Sweets with Chocolate
Coffee doesn’t have to have the bitter and nutty taste that it can often be known for. It can make for a great sweet treat as well!
If you’ve ever had a tiramisu, then you’ll know how delicious coffee is when mixed with sweetness, especially chocolate.
You can make the sweets yourself or buy readymade chocolate-covered beans to settle your sweet-treat cravings.
Now you know that you can eat coffee beans and that they’re bursting with benefits and flavor!
Coffee beans make for a great snack, either by themselves or as a dessert enhancement.
Just remember that moderation is key! Learn about the different types of coffee beans and where they come from to help you choose the species that suits you best.
And if you have any beans left over from snacking, check out our guide on what to do with leftover ground coffee or how to make an invigorating coffee body scrub.