Can You Eat Raw Coffee Beans?

We just can’t get enough of our cup of Joe, so can you eat raw coffee beans too? Read on to find out more!

Can You Eat Raw Coffee Beans
Raw or roasted coffee beans are safe for consumption

Do you all remember that one eraser we had back in elementary that smells like chewing gum? I will assume you are lying if you say you were never tempted to chew that soft, fruity goodness. The taste was rather disappointing; sadly, this was the memory that popped in my head the first time I attempted to eat a coffee bean.

The aroma of a roasted coffee bean is divine, but can you eat raw coffee beans? Raw or roasted coffee beans are safe for consumption, though, for the former, the taste leaves much to be desired. I would still opt for the roasted ones.

Can You Eat Raw Coffee Beans and What Does It Taste Like?

In terms of coffee beans, there can be two definitions of raw. The first one is when the coffee bean is extracted from the coffee cherry. The other is when it is dried and unroasted. 

Raw coffee tastes bitter and grassy since it is a seed. You might get some sweet notes, but this is because of the mucilage from the coffee cherry. It is also very hard to chew and has a wet texture which can be off-putting. 

hand plucking raw coffee beans
Raw coffee tastes bitter and grassy since it is a seed

If you want to add flavor, you can eat it along with the fruit, although I have to warn you that it is not that succulent and can be a choking hazard when consumed improperly.

The dried and unroasted ones almost taste the same, though it is woodier. You can check out our simple DIY guide on how to roast coffee beans at home if you like to eat it toasty, instead!

Benefits Of Eating Raw Coffee Beans

The roasting process, plus the oxidation after the roasting, kills some of the nutrients and antioxidants in coffee beans. As a result, it decreases the number of health benefits your body can acquire. This is where the silver lining comes in, as raw coffee beans have a higher concentration of nutrients and antioxidants, which helps your body fend off free radicals.

When it comes to caffeine content, however, there is no difference aside from what type of coffee bean you are snacking on. You can still eat raw coffee beans and enjoy that boost of energy you need if you don’t have the time to roast and brew. The good news is it is absorbed easier by your body compared to brewed coffee.

Drawbacks Of Eating Raw Coffee Beans

Raw coffee beans are high in acidity, so this is bad news for those who suffer from heartburn and hyperacidity. This is due to the catechols, a compound that stimulates stomach acid production. It can also result in other gastrointestinal issues if not taken in moderation.

Generally, eight to 13 coffee beans are equivalent to a regular cup of Joe. Don’t be deceived by its small size; you might suffer from the caffeine side effects if you eat a bag in one go. These include feelings of nausea, anxiety, and headache. 

If you are planning to munch on coffee beans all day, treat it as if you are drinking your usual cup. Of course, this still depends on your tolerance, so make sure you know your caffeine threshold!

I would also not recommend this to people who have teeth or jaw conditions because, and I can’t reiterate this enough, it is very hard to chew!

Alternatives To Raw Coffee Beans

There are several things you can do to enjoy this treat more.

Roast It First

coffee beans roasted in a roasting machine
Roasting process will give it a smokier and toastier note while lessening the grassy flavor and wet texture

It will still taste bitter, but the roasting process will give it a smokier and toastier note while lessening the grassy flavor and wet texture.

Cover It With Confections

It helps in covering up the bitterness of the coffee bean. This isn’t limited to just milk chocolate. Depending on your preference, you can also cover it with dark chocolate, white chocolate, or caramel. 

It is better if the coffee bean is roasted, but it still works with raw. Do take note that except for white chocolate, these confections also contain caffeine. Make sure to monitor this during consumption.

Shake Mix

You can use a food processor or a Vitamix to grind it and then use it as an ingredient for your next shake or smoothie! 

Enjoy With Fruit

Take a coffee bean and insert it into a grape or date; better if it is seedless to spare you the extra effort. The sweetness slightly offsets the bitterness of the coffee beans.

Author

  • Renz Lyndon Paguio

    His love for java originated from sidewalk vendors offering cheap 3-in-1 instant coffees poured in styrofoam cups. If he’s not in a studio or in an event venue, you’ll find RL crafting his own cold brew or sharing his experiences to fellow coffeephiles.