Are coffee beans edible?

Enjoy eating coffee beans for a flavour-packed, health-boosting bite!

 

We coffee lovers need to enjoy our java in every way possible. And what does this mean? Nibbling as well as sipping! Eating roasted coffee beans is a great way to enjoy coffee flavour in a new form. Just you and the beans (and maybe a lovely coating of chocolate)…

 

 

What are coffee beans?

Coffee beans are the seed of the coffee cherry. These little cherries grow on tall, bush-like plants and turn ruby red when ripe. We find the beans snuggled up in pairs inside the coffee cherry fruit, surrounded by a mucilage layer which growers remove during post-harvest processing.

 

Bowl of coffee cherries picked in Peru

 

Coffee beans are usually picked, dried, processed, roasted and then ground to make our beloved cups of coffee. But put the brakes on before you grab a grinder – those little beans are also great as they are! Eating coffee beans is ultra-trendy. Packed full of healthy nutrients and practically prancing with delicious flavour, coffee bean snacking is IN for good reason!

Will you enjoy yours (chocolate coated?) with a coffee? Add them to your next dinner party dessert?  Keep reading for everything you need to know about eating coffee beans…

 

Are coffee beans safe to eat?

Safety first: are coffee beans edible? We’ve got a whole lotta love for you guys, so we’re not going to tell you to munch on something that’ll leave you feeling a bit… off.

But no fear, because coffee beans are safe to eat!

We humans began our love affair with coffee with eating rather than drinking. Early tribes in eastern Africa mixed the beans with animal fat and rolled them into balls to make (what we like to think of as) the first energy ball.

 

coffee beans cooling in roasting drum at Two Chimps roastery

 

When eating coffee beans rather than grinding them for drinking, it’s important to remember that the effects will be more concentrated. This is because you don’t have the milk/water to dilute. This means that you get the same nutritional benefits and possible side effects as drinking coffee, just amplified a bit more. Your body also absorbs eaten beans more quickly than if you had ground and drunk them, because some of the active ingredients get absorbed directly through your mouth.

But everyone is different – always remember that. It very much depends on your personal caffeine tolerance. Just as three cups might be your daily limit, you might feel enough of a buzz after, say, 15 chocolate-covered beans. Or you might fancy a few more and still feel absolutely fine. It’s all about listening to your body!

 

Orange mug filled with coffee

 

Health benefits of eating coffee beans

Coffee beans give the same health benefits as brewed-and-drunk coffee. There is one extra benefit you get, though, and that’s fibre. Whole coffee beans are chock-full of fibre; 30 beans contain around 10% of our recommended daily intake. Here are a few more health benefits of eating coffee beans:

  • Source of antioxidants, particularly chlorogenic acid
  • Reduce risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Helps to prevent Type 2 diabetes
  • Reduce risk of liver disease
  • Mental stimulant
  • Decreased risk of depression

 

How to eat coffee beans

So we know that coffee beans are edible… but what’s the best way to eat them?

Raw coffee beans

It is possible to eat unroasted (or ‘green’) coffee beans. These are coffee beans that have been picked and processed, but not roasted by an expert roaster like our Andy. Despite being entirely edible, these green beans aren’t the tastiest treat. Most are hard to chew, with a bitter, wood-like flavour. Perhaps not the best coffee beans to eat?

 

Green coffee beans in sample trowel of Two Chimps roaster

Roasted coffee beans

Eating roasted coffee beans is far, far more flavourful. Try both light and dark roasted beans – which will be your favourite? Light roast coffee beans taste bright and fruity, while dark roasts have a rich flavour with caramel sweetness. Both are soft compared to unroasted beans, so there’s no danger of broken teeth!

Looking for the best coffee beans to eat? We’d always recommend starting with dark roast beans, as they are less acidic and a little sweeter.

 

Close up of dark roasted coffee beans

 

 

How many coffee beans can I eat per day?

Coffee beans are pretty strong. No matter how much you love the taste of coffee, you’re probably going to find it tricky to munch your way through hundreds.

One coffee bean contains approximately six milligrams of caffeine. That’s an arabica bean (the good stuff). Low quality robusta beans contain more caffeine (around 12 milligrams) because they grow at much lower altitudes, where there are more pests. Caffeine is a natural pest repellent, meaning that robusta plants have needed to adapt to contain more caffeine. But we’re not keen on robusta at Two Chimps (they’re a bit more than bitter).

 

Three blue trays of coffee beans besides cupping bowls

 

But back to the six milligrams in one arabica bean. It means that eight coffee beans contains roughly the same amount of caffeine as one espresso, which gives you a caffeine kick of between 30 and 50mg. The average person should consume no more than 400mg of caffeine per day. So how many coffee beans can you eat per day? Let’s do some maths…

400/6 = 66.6 beans

But wait up. It’s probably not a great idea to munch down 66 whole coffee beans. Because:

  • a. The effects of consuming are amplified when you eat the beans whole
  • b. They’re usually covered in chocolate, which adds extra caffeine and sugar

Oooh, did someone say chocolate…

 

Coffee beans and dark chocolate squares

 

How many chocolate coffee beans can you eat per day?

One chocolate-covered coffee bean contains around 12mg of caffeine. Enrobing lovely beans in lovely chocolate gives you more of a caffeine kick because chocolate is another natural source of caffeine. Bear in mind the type of choc befriending your beans, because each type of chocolate contains a different amount of caffeine:

  • Dark chocolate (70-85 percent cocoa solids): 80mg of caffeine per 100g
  • Milk chocolate: 20mg caffeine per 100g
  • White chocolate: zilch caffeine per 100g

Want to enjoy some tasty chocoholic-coffeeholic vibes? One dark chocolate-covered coffee bean contains around 12mg of caffeine, so you can quite happily enjoy around 33 chocolate-coated coffee beans per day. That would mean no cups of coffee, mind, so you might want to balance out your edibles and drinkables to ensure all-round coffee satisfaction.

 

Chocolate wrapper with coffee beans

 

 

Chocolate-covered coffee beans recipe

Have we tempted your sweet tooth by chatting chocolate? Coffee and chocolate are a heaven-made match. We spoke to top chocolatier Paul A Young, who told us that:

Coffee’s bittersweet compounds, flavours and tastes can be sweetened by white and milk chocolate, and with dark chocolate it can be a joy to pair with similar tannins and robust, roasted flavours. 

It’s a classic combination that is now being reworked for a new audience, and it is absolutely wonderful.

 

white chocolate chunks in bowl of brownie batter

 

Let’s embrace this perfect pairing and find out how to make chocolate-covered coffee beans!

You can buy these grown-up flavour gems in the shop, of course. But making them at home is so much more rewarding. Not least because you get to lick the melted chocolate from the bowl…

 

Chocolate-covered espresso beans ingredients:

  • 100g chocolate, chopped
  • Around 80g Two Chimps coffee beans

How to make

  • Place the chocolate in the microwave and melt in short bursts.
  • Tip in the coffee beans and mix until they are nicely coated in the chocolate.
  • Use a fork to remove the coffee beans one at a time. Place them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
  • Place in the fridge for an hour until set.
  • Enjoy!

 

How to eat chocolate-covered coffee beans

Your homemade chocolate-coated coffee beans pair perfectly with a good cup of speciality coffee. They make a great, high-energy snack, too, thanks to the caffeine in the coffee AND chocolate. 4pm slump, begone!

Fancy making a cake? Enjoy eating your chocolate coffee beans sprinkled on a cake or creamy cheesecake. Talking of creamy… have you tried chocolate coffee beans dotted on ice cream? Please do. Your life will be CHANGED.

 

white dish containing roasted coffee beans and chocolate covered coffee beans

 

Dirty chai chocolate-covered coffee beans

Dirty by name, delicious by nature, a dirty chai coffee involves mixing one shot of espresso into a lightly spiced chai tea. What’s in a chai spice mix? It’s a cosy combo of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves and allspice… and it’s lush!

Why not channel a chai-spiced soul into your coffee beans with this luxe chai chocolate-covered coffee bean recipe?

Dirty chai chocolate-covered chocolate beans recipe

To make these dirty chai chocolate covered coffee beans, start by melting chocolate as described above. Milk would work, but it’s best to use quality dark chocolate here. Once molten, remove from the heat and stir in 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp ground cardamom seed and 1/4 tsp ground cloves.

Add the coffee beans and then stir, remove and set as above. Sprinkle with a little more cinnamon, if you like.

 

Two Chimps enamel mug on coffee sack

 

Want to know more about the caffeine in your coffee? We discovered all by putting coffee and energy drinks head to head…

 

Coffee v Monster

 

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