Coffee beans are seeds of the Coffea plant. These seeds are dried and roasted to make coffee. Drinking coffee is linked to lots of health benefits such as reducing the risk of some chronic diseases, boosting your energy levels, lowering the risk of depression, and providing you with antioxidants. As a result, many people wonder whether eating coffee beans will have the same effects. And if yes, how many coffee beans can you eat? Let’s dig in!
Can You Eat Coffee Beans?
The simple answer is yes. You can eat coffee beans. Furthermore, eating coffee beans has been a trend for hundreds of years. Before the development of coffee as a beverage, people would mix coffee beans with animal fat and consume them as a snack to boost their energy levels. Most people would snack on the coffee beans when hunting, traveling, or working.
To date, many people enjoy eating roasted coffee beans or those smothered in chocolate as snacks. Additionally, some people grind the coffee beans and add them to their delicious treats. However, coffee beans contain a high concentration of chemical compounds and nutrients such as caffeine that can be toxic when consumed in higher amounts. Therefore, coffee beans should be consumed in moderation. Furthermore, coffee beans are more concentrated in nutrients compared to regular coffee.
How Many Coffee Beans Can You Eat?
The number of coffee beans that you can eat in a day depends on the caffeine concentration. Generally, the recommended caffeine to consume daily is 400 milligrams, which is roughly four 8-ounce cups of coffee. The 400 milligrams of caffeine apply to coffee and other caffeinated beverages, foods, or medications.
When it comes to coffee beans, you can safely eat around 20 to 30 beans per day provided you’re not caffeine-sensitive, pregnant, or breastfeeding. To break this down, you can eat around 7 to 10 coffee beans per serving, which is about the same amount of caffeine in an 8oz cup of regular coffee.
The amount of caffeine in coffee beans depends on the type of coffee beans. For example, Arabica coffee beans contain about 6 milligrams of caffeine, while Robusta beans contain about 12 milligrams of caffeine.
However, it wouldn’t be safe to eat 66 Arabica beans per day (400 divided by 6) since some coffee beans that are eaten as snacks are covered in dark chocolate that still contain caffeine.
Dark chocolate-covered coffee beans contain approximately 12 milligrams of caffeine per bean. Therefore, the caffeine in the coffee beans doubles, and eating more of the beans can lead to adverse side effects.
Additionally, during the brewing process, some caffeine is lost since some of it remains in the coffee grounds. Therefore, you should eat fewer beans than you would have brewed to get a similar caffeine kick. Generally, you shouldn’t eat more than 200 milligrams of caffeine in a single dose and you shouldn’t exceed 400 milligrams of caffeine in a day.
Ways to Eat Coffee Beans
There are several ways to eat your coffee beans. They include:
- Smoothies – You can finely grind your coffee beans and add the ground coffee into your fruit-flavored smoothies. A pinch or two of the ground coffee will do the trick.
- Dessert toppings – Another way of eating coffee beans is adding your ground coffee beans as toppings, especially to sweet and chocolate desserts. To do this, simply sprinkle a pinch or two on your coconut cream pie or chocolate ice cream.
- Dessert recipes – You can add ground-roasted coffee beans to your dessert recipes such as in chocolate cakes and brownies. Add the same amount of ground coffee as you would add cinnamon.
- Snacks – You can eat your chocolate-covered roasted coffee beans as a snack.
What Do Coffee Beans Taste Like?
Usually, coffee beans taste bitter with an earthy flavor when eaten in their roasted state. However, when covered with chocolate, they have a pleasant taste and are enjoyable to snack on. Chocolate-covered roasted beans have high sugar content, high caffeine, and fats.
Additionally, they are crunchy and slightly gritty. Eating roasted coffee beans on their own can be unpleasant. Therefore, consider eating some chocolate-covered roasted beans instead.
How Much Caffeine is in Coffee Beans?
As mentioned earlier, the amount of caffeine in coffee beans depends on the type of beans. For example, Arabica coffee beans contain 6 milligrams of caffeine per bean, while Robusta coffee beans contain 12 milligrams of caffeine per bean.
Coffee beans contain more caffeine than brewed coffee. This is because not all caffeine ends up in your regular coffee. Some of it remains in the coffee grounds depending on the grind size. The larger the grind size, the faster the brew time, and the less caffeine in your coffee.
On the other hand, the smaller the grind size, the slower the brew time, and the more caffeine in your coffee. Therefore, you should moderately eat your coffee beans since they contain more caffeine than brewed coffee.
Benefits of Eating Coffee Beans
Eating coffee beans moderately will provide you with similar benefits as drinking coffee. Some of the potential benefits of eating coffee beans include:
- Protecting you against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, liver disease, heart attack, and stroke
- Source of antioxidants and beneficial compounds such as chlorogenic acid, vitamin B2, caffeine, and magnesium
- Boosting your energy levels, alertness, and focus
- Reducing the risk of stress and depression
Side Effects of Eating Coffee Beans
While eating coffee beans moderately is beneficial, eating too much of the beans can cause adverse side effects. Additionally, pregnant, breastfeeding, and caffeine-sensitive people will experience adverse side effects after eating coffee beans. These side effects include:
- Digestive problems
- Sleep disturbance
- Miscarriage, early labor, and low birth weight for pregnant women
Can You Eat Green Coffee Beans?
Yes. You can eat green coffee beans. However, many people describe their taste as unpleasant with woody or grassy flavors. Additionally, green coffee beans may be tough on your tummy, highly acidic, and highly caffeinated than roasted beans. Furthermore, there are no chocolate-covered green beans.
Can You Eat Espresso Beans?
Yes. You can eat espresso beans. Espresso beans are simply regular coffee beans that are roasted dark. However, eating roasted espresso beans on their own may be unpleasant since they are bitter. Therefore, consider eating chocolate-covered espresso beans instead. As for their caffeine content, espresso beans will likely have less caffeine than regular coffee beans because of their roast. The darker the roast, the less the caffeine. Therefore, just like regular coffee beans, you can eat around 20 to 30 espresso beans for a caffeine kick.
Coffee beans are an edible and healthy addition to your diet. However, they should be moderately consumed to avoid adverse side effects. You can safely eat 7 to 10 beans in a serving and 20 to 30 coffee beans in a day provided you avoid all other caffeine sources. Additionally, this number applies to people who are not pregnant, breastfeeding, or caffeine-sensitive. Arabica coffee beans contain 6 milligrams of caffeine, while Robusta beans contain 12 milligrams of caffeine per bean. Chocolate-covered beans on the other hand contain 12 milligrams per bean. The recommended caffeine consumption is 400 milligrams daily, and 200 milligrams per serving. That said, consume coffee beans in moderation.