- Updated Mar 27, 2020
- Writen by Robert Smith
Can You Eat Coffee Bean? (Pros, Cons & How Much Coffee Bean to Eat)
- Updated Jul 26, 2019
- Writen by Robert Smith
Coffee is a heaven-sent beverage, and it just makes life a whole better for most of us, and so it is only reasonable to want to know whether besides drinking it one can also eat the beans. Given the many health benefits that come with coffee, eating the beans looks like a great idea.
The simple answer to this common query is that you can eat coffee beans. Eating coffee beans is not a preserve of civet cats as people have been eating them for many centuries. Chewing on coffee beans was one of the first ways that people took coffee.
And while in these modern times it is not common to find people chewing on coffee beans to get their caffeine fix, you can still do it. In this piece, we delve deeper into the subject and explain the benefits of eating coffee beans, potential risks and also the best ways to eat them.
Can You Eat Green Coffee Beans?
Green coffee beans are safe to eat, but the chances are that you will not like the taste. The dense structure of green beans means that they will have a grassy and earthy taste that only changes when they are roasted.
In addition to the bad taste, green coffee beans will also have a higher acidic content which means it can give you worse heartburn than a bad cup of coffee. And the dense structure also makes chewing hard and quite tedious.
Can You Eat Roasted Coffee Beans?
Roasted coffee beans will be much better for eating than the green ones. With roasted coffee beans there is reduced acidity which minimizes the likelihood of getting heartburn and both the taste and smell are much better.
But, with roasted coffee beans, the quite gritty and strong taste still takes some getting used to. And although roasted coffee beans are still quite hard they will give your teeth a much easier time when chewing.
Can You Eat Ground Coffee?
You can also eat ground coffee if you want to, like green and roasted coffee, it is also safe for human consumption. But you should only eat ground coffee in moderation to avoid ingesting too much caffeine.
And besides being edible, ground coffee also works well as a body scrub and for those that have gardens, it will also be a perfect fertilizer.
Benefits of Eating Coffee Beans
Besides just being edible, just like brewed coffee, the beans will also have many potential benefits which include the following.
1. Good Source of Antioxidants
Coffee beans are a great source of antioxidants, and they will contain a high quantity of chlorogenic acid which is known to combat inflammation and also reduce the risk of getting diabetes.
And although studies are still not conclusive, some suggest that the chlorogenic acid in coffee also has some cancer-fighting properties.
But, while coffee might be rich in antioxidants, the unfortunate thing is at least 50% of them are lost during roasting but what you get in the roasted beans is still significant enough.
2. More Caffeine
By eating coffee beans, you will get more caffeine than you would when drinking a cup of coffee. This extra caffeine gives you more energy boost, keeps you alert and also helps prevent type 2 diabetes, decrease fatigue and improve both mental functioning and memory.
3. Fewer Calories
When compared to brewed coffee which is usually lightened by other things like milk and creamer, coffee beans will have fewer calories while still giving you the caffeine fix you want.
Coffee beans will have fewer calories than peanuts (around 1/2) and also about 1/5 of the fat you get in peanuts. Hence, coffee beans make a healthier snack to chew on.
4. Good Fiber Source
If you want to supplement your diet with some extra fiber, coffee beans will give you a nice dose of it. Eating just 30 coffee beans will give you about 3 grams of fiber which is about 10% of your required daily intake. A brewed cup of coffee, on the other hand, will give you 0 grams of fiber.
Drawbacks of Eating Coffee Beans
Now that you have some idea on the potential benefits that can come from eating coffee beans, it is also worth knowing the potential risks or drawbacks to decide whether to try them out or not. These potential risks include the following.
Heartburn is perhaps the biggest drawback that will come with eating coffee beans. Coffee beans will contain substances like catechol and caffeine which are known to increase the production of stomach acids that lead to heartburn. These compounds will be contained in higher concentration in coffee beans that in brewed coffee.
2. Laxative Effect
While the laxative effect of coffee is one of its many benefits, when amplified beyond certain levels they will be more problematic than good. Coffee beans can amplify the laxative effect, and so you have to be careful with the amount you take to ensure you only get the benefits and not cause problems.
3. Horrible Taste
Regardless of how much you love coffee, the bitterness and gritty texture of roasted coffee beans are hard to get used to, and no matter how many times you eat the beans, you will probably still not like the taste. But, you can always improve the taste by covering the beans with chocolate.
4. Disruption of Sleep
Eating coffee beans has the potential to cause sleep disruption due to high caffeine content. However, just like brewed coffee, sleep disruption will often only occur when you take too many of them as they leave your body with excessive amounts of caffeine.
How Much Coffee Beans Can You Eat Safely?
While coffee beans are safe to eat, this does not mean that you can eat as much as you would like. It is important to make sure that you do it in moderation to prevent the adverse effects that come with excessive caffeine intake.
But, just like with brewed coffee, the number of coffee beans that is safe for you to eat will vary from one person to the other since coffee drinkers will have different levels of caffeine tolerance.
Also, the type of coffee beans matters because Robusta beans will have more caffeine than the Arabica ones. Hence, you should eat fewer of them than you would with Arabica beans.
A chocolate-covered bean which is one of the most popular ways of eating coffee beans has about 12mg caffeine which means that you should eat a maximum of around 33 of these beans to keep your caffeine intake below the recommended intake of 400mg.
Best Way to Eat Coffee Beans
Chocolate covered beans are by far the best way to eat coffee beans as you will get both your caffeine fix and some sugar into your system.
And contrary to what you might think, these beans will still not be bitter as the chocolate seems to blend seamlessly with the different flavor notes in the coffee beans to create a flavorful and tasty snack.
You can also grind the coffee beans and add the grounds to other things like ice creams and smoothies. While this might not sound like you will be eating the coffee beans, it is still a good way of consuming your coffee that does not entail brewing them.
Coffee beans are safe and healthy to eat and people were eating them way before they started grinding and using them to make coffee. But, you should never consume them in excess quantities.
While they might not taste as good as brewed coffee, the beans are full of good antioxidants and fiber and will also give you more caffeine than your regular cup of coffee.
Chocolate-covered beans provide one of the most popular ways of eating these beans as the chocolate provides some sweetness to help combat the bitterness and grittiness. However, there are still many other ways of eating coffee beans depending on your preferences.
Lastly, also note that eating coffee beans also has some potential health risks, and so you need to make sure you always eat them in moderation.