can you eat coffee beans

Can You Eat Coffee Beans?

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Most will agree that a cup of freshly brewed coffee is undeniably delicious. There is nothing quite like the scent sensation of opening up a sealed bag of coffee beans. Have you ever opened a fresh bag of coffee beans and thought to yourself: can I eat these beans?

If you have, you’re not alone. With coffee-flavored everything, chocolate bars sold with whole coffee beans on top and the fact that drinking coffee has so many benefits, nobody would blame you for wondering such a question.

The topic of today’s article will be addressing just that. Can you eat coffee beans? And if so, what are the effects of doing so?

Can You Eat Coffee Beans?

People have been harvesting, processing, and roasting coffee beans since as early as the 15th century. Given the curious nature of our ancestors, it only makes sense that they would have tried nibbling on the beans at one point or another.

As it turns out—they were on to something in doing so. Coffee beans can in fact be eaten. But how? And is it safe for us to do so? Let’s find out.

can you eat coffee beans

How to Eat Coffee Beans

So now that you know that you can eat coffee beans, how will you try them out for yourself? Many coffee lovers are thrilled when they discover that their favorite beans can be eaten but have no idea how to go about it. There are five main ways to eat coffee beans and we’ll be taking a close look at each one.

1.    Green Beans

The purists amongst us will be happy to hear that green coffee beans green coffee beanscan be consumed. Green coffee beans haven’t undergone any roasting at all and so they retain most of their naturally occurring antioxidants.

But in all honesty, we don’t recommend eating coffee beans this way. While they are perfectly safe to eat and won’t cause you any harm, after just one bite you probably won’t want to take another.

In terms of flavor, green coffee beans are very much an acquired taste. Green coffee beans are known for their earthy, woody and grassy flavor profile & their incredibly acidic taste. In addition to the admittedly unpleasant taste and flavor profile it is very tough to sink your teeth into a green coffee bean thanks to its hard texture & dense structure.

2.    Roasted

Eating roasted coffee beans is a far more pleasurable roasted coffee beansexperience than eating green coffee beans. Thanks to the roasting process the beans are much easier to eat and make for a nice, crunchy snack.

When coffee beans are roasted, the acidity level decreases so you can expect a smoother taste. Just like with roasted coffee beans for brewing purposes, the level of roast a coffee bean undergoes will impact its overall taste.

Even though the texture is smoother, and the taste is more palatable than that of green coffee beans, it is still an incredibly intense taste that might not agree with everyone’s taste buds.

3.    Chocolate Covered

It’s no secret that chocolate and coffee are the perfect pairing. That’s why you probably won’t be surprised to discover that the most popular way of eating coffee beans is when they’re covered in chocolate.

When coffee beans are covered in chocolate the bitter taste typically associated with the beans is reduced and the beans become more palatable. In saying that, once you bite through the chocolatey exterior, you’ll still experience a much stronger coffee taste than what you’re used to.

You can purchase chocolate covered coffee beans online through retailers like Amazon or specialty coffee shops. You can even make your own chocolate covered coffee beans at home with coffee beans, cocoa powder and milk chocolate.

4.    Chopped Roasted

This method is a slight variation of eating roasted coffee beans, except they’re roughly chopped and mixed with other ingredients that complement their natural flavor.

Roughly chop roasted coffee beans up into smaller pieces and mix them with other ingredients that naturally compliment the flavor profile of coffee to create your own unique trail-mix or snack pack. Complementary ingredients include—you guessed it—chocolate as well as nuts, dried fruits and seeds.

Eating chopped roasted coffee beans accompanied by other ingredients is a great way to enjoy their unique taste and texture in small doses without being overwhelmed by their intense taste. The smaller size also helps to digest the beans better.

5.    Coffee Grounds

While you’ll technically be eating coffee groundscan you eat coffee beans and not whole beans, this method is perfect for those who want to dip their toe into the waters of eating coffee beans without diving in headfirst.

Go for the coarsest grind possible to ensure you’re getting an accurate indication of coffee bean taste. Only use high quality beans and pay the same degree of attention to the level of roast as you normally would when selecting your beans.

You can eat ground coffee beans on their own or add them to foods and beverages that will enhance their flavor such as sprinkled over ice creams or included in smoothies. Another reason why you should opt for a coarse grind is to avoid the grounds turning into sludge when they come in to contact with moisture or sticking to your teeth.

What are the Pros and Cons?

Don’t think that choosing coffee beans as your midday snack is just that—a snack. There are many potential pros and cons associated with eating coffee beans.

The Pros

While the act of eating coffee beans has not been sufficiently studied, it supposedly has many advantages. Some of the most prevalent ones include:

  • Coffee beans are absolutely jampacked with antioxidants that are beneficial to our bodies. The most plentiful of these antioxidants are chlorogenic acid, hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols.
  • Caffeine is absorbed more quickly when coffee beans are eaten and thus the positive effects of caffeine are experienced sooner. These effects include increased alertness, mood, memory and performance.
  • Coffee beans are an excellent source of fiber. Fiber is known to benefit digestion, reduce the appetite and slightly reduce your cholesterol levels.

The Cons

As with all things, eating coffee beans also has its potential disadvantages. Let’s take a look at them too:

  • Coffee beans aren’t pleasurable for most to consume. Its bitter taste, hardness and gritty texture can make eating coffee beans an unpleasant experience for many people—even the java junkies amongst us!
  • Many people view the laxative effects of eating coffee beans as a pro rather than a con but consuming too much can put you at risk of experiencing diarrhea and stomach cramps.
  • Due to the high caffeine content found in coffee beans eating them can wreak havoc on your sleeping patterns and can keep you up at night.
  • There is a high risk of heartburn present when it comes to eating coffee beans. This is because coffee beans are high in substances that increase the production of stomach acids such as catechol.

Tips for Eating Coffee Beans

best decaf coffee

If you’ve been considering eating coffee beans and making your mind up for yourself, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Here are the three main factors to consider before you take your first bite into a coffee bean:

  • The bean: Robusta beans can contain double the amount of caffeine than what is found in Arabica beans. This, coupled with its generally bitter flavor profile, is why it’s recommended that you stay away from eating Robusta coffee beans and opt instead to munch on Arabica beans.
  • Ease in: Don’t just dive right in and buy coffee beans in bulk as there’s a significant chance you won’t enjoy them. But how do you try before you buy? Simply open up your bag of coffee beans and chew on one of the beans to get an idea of what to expect.
  • Limit your consumption: Follow the guidelines laid out and always consider your level of caffeine tolerance in order to remain safe while snacking. On top of the potential health risks, it’s best to eat coffee beans one bean at a time because of their intense flavor.

FAQs

In case you still have questions about the world of eating coffee beans, here are the in-depth answers that you seek. If your question isn’t answered here, feel free to ask it in the comments section below and we’ll address it accordingly.

Are there any other ways to eat coffee beans?

In addition to the five main ways to eat coffee beans as we described at the beginning of this article there are a few other ways you can eat coffee beans.

You can slather whole roasted coffee beans in plain yoghurt, spread them out over wax paper and freeze overnight for a frozen treat. You could also include chopped coffee beans in a brownie recipe and bake them for a chocolatey coffee-brownie goodie.

Can eating coffee beans help with weight loss?

While more research needs to be done, the preliminary results of studies indicate that eating coffee beans can promote weight loss. One small study revealed how overweight people consumed small amounts of ground green coffee beans lost roughly 10% of their body weight.

Weight loss products and supplements containing green coffee bean extract are becoming increasing popular & the results are apparent to those who use such weight loss tools.

How many coffee beans can I eat safely?

Because the amount of caffeine found in a single coffee bean varies according to the size of the bean, its strain and how long it was roasted for, it is difficult to accurately answer this. The recommended daily dosage of caffeine is between 200mg to 400mg depending on your tolerance.

In the case of chocolate covered coffee beans we have more concrete recommendations. Including the caffeine found in chocolate, a single chocolate covered coffee bean contains an average amount of 12mg of caffeine. This means that adults can safely consume up to 33 chocolate covered coffee beans without worrying about excessive caffeine consumption.

What are the best coffee beans to eat?

In terms of flavor the best coffee beans to eat are those that have been medium to dark roasted. In addition to the more palatable taste, beans that have been exposed to more of a roasting process are easier to eat.

The general opinion is that the longer a bean has been roasted the easier it is to crunch. Bear in mind that the taste of coffee beans won’t appeal to everyone’s taste buds. So you might be better off with sticking to the chocolate covered variety.

How will I know if I’ve eaten too many coffee beans?

Remember that caffeine is technically classed as a stimulant which means that there is a risk of overdosing. It is important to make sure that you don’t have too many beans and that you’re aware of the symptoms of eating too many, just in case.

The general symptoms of ingesting too much caffeine include headaches, dizziness, irritability, and diarrhea. In extremely serious cases of caffeine overdose the symptoms displayed include convulsions, vomiting, irregular heartbeat and hallucinations.

Wrapping Up

After reading this article, you should have a clear idea of what to expect should you decide to try out this trend for yourself.

Now that you know everything there is to know, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Will you be chomping on coffee beans? Or do you prefer your coffee bean consumption to be in its liquid format? Spill the beans in the comments section below!