In a word, Yes. Coffee beans are safe to eaten when done in moderation. Coffee beans are rich in fiber, contain few calories and have more antioxidants then brewed coffee.
When people would come into the shop and see a batch of fresh roasted coffee sitting in the bin, they would often ask if it they could eat one of the coffee beans and if so, would anything would happen to them if they did.
Today, we’ll be looking into eating coffee beans, what the pro and cons are, what you should consider, and even throw in some ideas that can help make the experience more palatable.
Coffee Bean Basics
Now before we get into the details about eating coffee beans, let’s first look into what coffee beans actually are. Coffee beans, as the name suggests, come from the coffee plant. More specifically, they are the seeds of the coffee fruit. They’re technically not beans, but they do resemble beans, so the name stuck.
Before you can turn these seeds into a cup of coffee, they will first need to be processed, which includes being dried under the sun for days at a time and then roasted. The roasting process brings out the flavor and aroma the coffee is known for.
Unroasted beans are known as green coffee beans, on account for them being… green. Now, it is possible to eat the unroasted green coffee beans? Yes, but could you or should you? I don’t and wouldn’t, green coffee beans are hard as rocks and don’t sit well in the stomach.
They also don’t have the caramelized flavors or the lovely aroma of roasted coffee. So, unless you want to loose a tooth, stick to roasted coffee beans.
4 Benefits of Eating Coffee Beans
There are a number of benefits from eating the coffee beans directly, not including the usual effect you get from simply drinking it. Here are just a few of them.
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Now you may have heard elsewhere than coffee is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help clear your body of free radicals, that cause damage to your organs over time.
Eating foods rich in antioxidants can help prevent chronic diseases such as heart problems, cognitive illnesses, and even cancer. Although you get these benefits just by drinking coffee, they’re actually in a more concentrated form while they’re still in the beans.
In fact, studies have shown that the leftover grounds on your filter are more abundant in antioxidants than the actual cup of coffee you made from them.
2. Easier to Absorb
Compared to drinking coffee, eating the beans directly allows your body to absorb the caffeine much quicker. This means that if you eat something laced in ground coffee beans, you get to enjoy that energy boost much more quickly than you would normally. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to have a cup of coffee, then try eating the grounds directly or sprinkle it over a bagel or donut instead.
3. Rich in Fiber
Another thing that coffee beans have that regular cups of coffee doesn’t is fiber. Fiber-rich food helps keep your digestive system running smoothly. It acts as an equilibrium, where if bulks up your stool if you’re suffering from loose bowels, or it helps keep things running if you’re having constipation. Unfortunately, the fiber is only present in the coffee grounds, so once you turn it into a drink, the coffee loses its fiber.
4. Fewer Calories
Now, if you’re the type of person who likes to add sweeteners or creamers on your coffee, you would benefit greatly from eating the grounds simply by lessening the number of calories you take. You can basically enjoy the benefits of a cup of coffee without dealing with all that sugar. Of course, this isn’t much of a benefit if you already take your coffee black.
3 Drawbacks of Eating Coffee Beans
Like everything else in life, too much of a good thing might be bad for you. Eating coffee beans in excess has plenty of detrimental effects, least of which is the bitterness you’ll have to deal with. Here are just a few of them.
1. Coffee Beans are a Laxative
A cup of coffee can have a laxative effect. This effect is unique to coffee, since caffeine doesn’t seem to be the culprit in this case. In fact, people have been known to suffer this laxative effect even with decaffeinated coffee. So, unless you plan on visiting the toilet multiple times in a day, eat the coffee beans in moderation.
2. Coffee Beans Are Acidic
Coffee beans, when eaten too much, can upset your stomach and even cause heartburn. This is because coffee in general is highly acidic. It can really screw up the balance in your stomach acids, which in turn can cause acid reflux. Too much coffee beans can also lead to nausea and bloating.
3. Can Cause Insomnia
If you’ve already had problems sleeping, then it’s best to avoid coffee in general. Whilst regular coffee is designed to keep you awake, taking the beans directly can cause severe sleep disturbance, on account for its more concentrated amounts of caffeine. For every 100 grams of coffee beans, for example, there’s about 840 mg of caffeine.
If you are bent on eating beans regardless, then do it at least 10 hours before you plan on going to bed, since the effects of caffeine can last up to that long after consumption.
Roast Level Of Coffee Beans
Eating light roast or dark roast beans doesn’t seem to have an effect at all, save for the overall taste. Whichever roast level, whether light, medium, or dark roast beans, taste better ultimately comes down to the person’s preferences. The process doesn’t enhance or take away from the overall health benefits the beans have.
Again, much like the roast level of the beans, where the coffee beans actually originate have very little effect outside of flavor. There might be minute effects on the trace minerals you can get, since soil fertility in different places can vary greatly.
But these changes are pretty much negligible, so the overall effects are not really affected all too much. It all boils down to the individual’s preferences.
4 Different Ways of Eating Coffee Beans
Of course, not everyone is going to enjoy eating coffee grounds directly. Coffee is an acquired taste, after all. If you’re bent on trying it out, however, there are ways you can eat the coffee grounds directly and make the whole experience more palatable. Here are just some ideas that you can try.
1. Sprinkle it Over Chocolate
It’s no secret that coffee goes really well with chocolate. So next time you brew your coffee, save up the coffee grounds then sprinkle it over the chocolate of your choice. It can be over a regular chocolate bar, or it can be over chocolate cake or some brownies.
2. Bake With It
Speaking of cake and brownies, the taste and aroma of coffee goes well with many baked items, including muffins, cakes, brownies and cookies. Save your coffee grounds and the next time you’re baking something, add as much of the grounds as you’d like into your baked goodies.
3. Rub it on Steak, Barbecue or Roast
Coffee has a robust flavor, and many people seem to think it goes well with steak. The next time you’re planning on grilling something, try rubbing ground coffee on your favorite cut of steak, alongside salt and pepper. Cook it as you normally would afterwards.
4. Mix it With Granola
Looking for something a bit healthier? Try mixing your ground coffee beans into your granola as a healthier alternative to cereal. It’s a great breakfast recipe, and since you already brew your coffee in the morning anyway, this should round out your morning meal nicely.
Coffee beans are a great source of energy, even more so if it’s not turned into a regular cup. Of course, its roasted bean form can be a lot more potent than its liquid form. This can make it really easy to overdo eating coffee beans. Still, if you practice moderation, you have yourself a healthy source of energy, one that goes well with anything.