Can You Eat Coffee Beans? – Should you Eat them?

Coffee is a beverage that’s enjoyed by millions of people all around the world. From Latte to Cappuccino, Espresso to Flat White or Long Black, there are dozens of types of coffee, all engineered to suit various tastes. If you find yourself knocking back a cup o’ Joe on a daily basis, you probably already know that Arabica coffee beans are far superior to Robusta coffee beans when brewed, but can you eat coffee beans?

Now that we got your attention, let’s find out.

Is Eating Coffee Beans Safe?

Before we dive into the answer, it’s important to make one thing clear. A regular cup of coffee contains only around 95 milligrams of caffeine. While this might vary depending on the blend, a single coffee bean contains only around 6 milligrams. Although munching on coffee beans is going to give you a more potent dose of caffeine, you will still have to eat quite a few of those coffee beans to get the caffeine kick that’s similar to your regular cup o’ Joe.

A study that was published in Sports Medicine in 2018 found that caffeine, when administered via an aerosol mouth spray, had a far more potent effect by not reaching the stomach, but rather, getting absorbed in the mouth. So, the short answer is, “Yes,” eating coffee beans is safe as long as you don’t go and make a meal of it. 

How Many Coffee Beans Can You Safely Eat?

The amount of coffee beans that you can consume safely in a day all comes down to the safe level of caffeine. Since the level of caffeine varies depending on the coffee beans, you should pay attention to the variety of coffee beans you are planning on eating.

That being said, the average tolerance to caffeine varies from person to person, but it often ranges between 200mg to 400mg per day, or around four cups of coffee, which also happens to be the recommended daily caffeine intake. Any more than that and you’ll be asking for trouble.

Depending on one’s tolerance, consuming up to 400mg of caffeine per day is considered to be safe. But it all depends on the type of coffee beans you consume. For instance, a single Arabica coffee bean contains around 10 mg of caffeine. This means you could eat as many as 40 to hit the 400mg of caffeine per day mark.

Does Eating Coffee Beans Give You Energy?

One of the reasons why many people turn to coffee is to get that well-documented boost of energy that comes with getting your daily coffee fix. However, does eating the coffee beans have the same effect? According to the American Heart Association, various factors contribute to increased energy levels, such as a healthy diet, exercise, adequate sleep, and reducing stress levels.

So, while coffee beans alone can’t provide the same caloric energy that the body needs to get through the day, eating coffee beans could work to our advantage, along with the other energy-producing factors. However, consuming up to 60 milligrams of caffeine in a day, or eating five coffee beans can be enough to improve our mood and sharpen our mind.

There is also evidence that caffeine can be used to improve endurance performance in athletes, so it might help if you’re involved in any grueling physical activity, such as tennis, swimming, or cycling.

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Can Eating Coffee Beans Kill You?

Caffeine is a neurotoxin, which is a lot similar to the nicotine produced by tobacco plants, as in, it is a cyclic alkaloid. Plants produce caffeine as a natural insecticide to ward off pesky insects. The good news is, humans aren’t insects, so our bodies are more resistant to the negative effects of caffeine.

Our size also plays a crucial factor here, but that doesn’t mean the right amount of caffeine in any form won’t kill you. For us humans, the lethal dose of caffeine is said to be around 150mg per kilogram of body weight.

Does Eating Coffee Beans Help You Lose Weight?

Coffee beans are said to contain chlorogenic acids and fiber, which can prove to be beneficial when it comes to losing weight. However, the chlorogenic acids found in coffee beans are lost during the process of roasting the beans, which means that they won’t have the desired effect. For the coffee beans to be more effective when trying to lose weight, its best to avoid roasted coffee beans and go with the raw, green coffee beans instead.

Green coffee beans contain large amounts of polyphenol chlorogenic acids or CGAs, which is a unique antioxidant that has been proven to be effective for boosting metabolism and burning fat in the process. 

Should You Eat Green or Roasted Coffee Beans?

It is possible to get the same amount of nutrients from coffee beans as you would with a cup of Joe, but in a more concentrated form. That said, eating coffee beans is not everybody’s cup of tea for a reason. For starters, eating raw or green coffee beans isn’t very pleasant because it’s raw. The green coffee beans are also highly acidic, which gives them a woody or grassy flavor. Green coffee beans are also much harder as compared to roasted coffee beans.

On the other hand, roasted coffee beans smell similar to coffee and weigh less as compared to green coffee beans because of all the moisture being roasted out during the roasting process. Roasted coffee beans are also crunchy and soft, which makes them easier to chew on; however, you need to eat or brew the coffee beans quickly since the flavor from the fresh-roasted coffee beans tends to diminish quickly.

Do Coffee Beans Have More Caffeine Than Brewed Coffee?

There is around 839 mg of caffeine in 100 grams of coffee beans. That’s around 6 mg of caffeine in a single roasted coffee bean. The amount of caffeine varies in raw and roasted coffee beans. This is mainly because the process of roasting also draws out some of the caffeine. The longer a bean is roasted, the more caffeine it loses. When comparing the two different types of coffee beans, Robusta beans contain 2.2% of caffeine, while the Arabica coffee beans contain 1.2% of caffeine, even though Arabica is considered to be of a higher quality.

The amount of caffeine in a coffee bean also depends on how it is roasted. For instance, a single light roasted coffee bean can contain up to 20% more caffeine as compared to a dark roasted bean. As mentioned earlier, this is due to the fact that the more the coffee bean is roasted, the more caffeine is drawn out of the bean.

Final Thoughts

Humans have been harvesting coffee since the 15th century. Given the curious nature of our ancestors, there’s also evidence that coffee beans were eaten by people before hunting, because of the energy that the coffee beans provided. Since it would take a whole lot of coffee beans to make it a lethal dose, those who prefer munching on coffee beans can do so from time to time. Just remember, even too much of a good thing can be bad for you.

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