Can You Eat Raw Coffee Beans?

The answer to ‘can you eat raw coffee beans’ is simply yes. If you have ever wanted to snack on coffee beans, then read this article to find out everything you need to know. 

Can you eat raw coffee beans?
Raw or roasted coffee beans are safe for consumption

The aroma of a roasted coffee bean is divine, but can you eat raw coffee beans? The answer is yes, as both raw and roasted coffee beans are safe for consumption. Although, for the former, the taste isn’t for everyone. 

You’re used to enjoying a few cups of coffee in the morning, but sometimes, you’d prefer a chewable cup of joe. You’ll want to make sure you do it right. Below, we’ll take a look at the best coffee beans to eat.

What Do Raw Coffee Beans Taste Like?

Can you eat raw coffee beans?
Raw coffee tastes bitter and grassy since it is a seed

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 for some. 

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

The dried and unroasted ones almost taste the same, though there is a woodier taste. 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. 

So, despite their relatively unattractive taste, there are some health benefits. The caffeine in coffee beans can help with weight loss. Studies also show that eating coffee beans (without using a grinder) can have a positive effect on cardiovascular disease.

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

Robusta Or Arabica When Eating Raw Beans

Both robusta and arabica beans can be eaten, with both having a slightly different flavors when consumed this way. If you are choosing to eat them because of the health benefits, you might be interested in knowing that robusta coffee has higher amounts of chlorogenic acid and antioxidants compared to arabica coffee. And research has shown that chlorogenic acid can have health benefits such as lower blood pressure and higher metabolism.

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; if you do, you might suffer from the caffeine side effects. What we are saying is that eating a whole bag in one go is a very bad idea – if you do, you could suffer from feelings of nausea, anxiety, and a pretty bad headache. So, word to the wise, if you are planning to munch on coffee beans all day, do it with caution and in moderation. 

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

Alternatives To Eating Raw Coffee Beans

You don’t have to take on the coffee bean in its raw form. That will suit some people, but as discussed, it’s not a snack that is to everyone’s taste. Here are a few options to make eating the coffee bean more palatable. 

Roast It First

Roast it first
Roasting process will give it a smokier and toastier note while lessening the grassy flavor and wet texture

The roasting process will give it a smokier and toastier note while lessening the grassy flavor and wetness. 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. It will also be easier on your teeth. 

Cover It With Confections

It helps in covering up the bitterness of the coffee bean (we talk about a couple of our favorites later in the article). 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 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! However, if you’re going for this choice, you might be as well off going for a cold brew coffee. 

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. Technically, coffee is a fruit too, but if you’re expecting a juicy treat when you bite into a bean, you’ll be disappointed.

Best Coffee Beans To Eat

The truth is some coffee beans are better than others for eating. Below is a quick overview of some of the best ways to consume them. 

1. Roasted Coffee Beans

Roasted beans are not quite as difficult to chew, unlike the green coffee beans

Many people who enjoy eating coffee beans as a source of antioxidants list roasted coffee beans as their first choice. Roasted coffee beans are used to make all types of roasted coffee, and the roasting process helps to bring out the deep, rich flavor of different types of coffee beans. 

Those who enjoy their coffee consumption through crunching on roasted beans report that the roasting process makes the beans a bit easier on the teeth too. While roasted beans are still crunchy, they’re not quite as difficult to chew as green coffee beans. 

Curious about the caffeine level of whole-roasted coffee beans? If you chose a lighter roast, you’ll get a higher level of caffeine than a darker roast (this can be helpful if you’re enjoying coffee beans for weight loss).

The more time whole coffee beans spend on roasters, the lower the mg of caffeine per handful of coffee beans. If you struggle with sleep disturbances or other negative effects after caffeine consumption, you may want to think about choosing a darker roast (or even switching to decaf).

2. Green Coffee Beans 

Coffee in its purest form is a green, raw bean. People who try green coffee beans for the first time are often surprised at their taste — they have an earthy, grassy flavor, quite different from what most people associate with coffee.

You can eat raw coffee beans, but many of the people who enjoy a handful of coffee beans as a snack find that they prefer the deep, caramelized flavor of roasted coffee beans over the raw variety. 

If you have dental issues or generally prefer softer foods, green coffee beans may not be a good fit for you. While roasted beans provide a solid crunch, green coffee beans are rock-solid, akin to chomping down on hard candy. 

Green coffee beans are also very acidic and may not be a great choice for people who suffer from acid reflux or other health issues that can cause stomach upset and heartburn. 

3. Chocolate Coffee Bean Treats

Prefer a little bit of a sweeter touch with your arabica coffee beans? Chocolate-covered espresso beans are a delicious way to get a caffeine boost, along with all the health benefits of roasted coffee beans. 

Of course, it’s important to consider the quality of the chocolate if you’re a coffee lover who is enjoying espresso beans for their health benefits. The darker the chocolate, the higher the antioxidant content, and the more health benefits you’ll gain.

If you struggle to enjoy the beans of the coffee plant due to their bitter quality, you might need to choose a chocolate that leans more toward the milk variety. While you’ll lack some of the health benefits of dark chocolate, you’ll get to enjoy all the health benefits of coffee with a sweeter, more balanced taste. 

4. Chai Coffee Treats 

More and more people are enjoying their coffee bean snacks with added chai flavor. To try this, you will need some cloves, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. Pairing your beans with these flavors in the right mix will give you a chai flavor that is the ideal accompaniment to your roasted coffee beans. If you like, you can mix the chai ingredients with the chocolate for an even more flavorful experience. 

5. Coffee Cherries 

As you learn more about enjoying roasted or raw coffee beans, you’ll likely come across some information on coffee cherries — the fruit of the coffee plant. The coffee fruit is slightly sweet but holds little nutritional value (and it can be tough to come across, even in the nicest of coffee shops). Coffee drinkers who enjoy coffee cherries describe the taste as a cross between a watermelon and an apricot.

The pink or red coffee cherry surrounds the whole coffee bean. If you don’t live in an area where coffee is harvested, it can be tough to get your hands on coffee fruit — you can’t exactly order fresh produce over Amazon. Reaching out to your favorite barista at your local coffee shop may give you an in with a roaster who can help you get your hands on some coffee cherries.  They don’t taste great, but if you’re curious, that might be your best bet. 


  • 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.