Can You Eat Coffee Beans?

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We’ve all come to love drinking coffee, and you may be drinking one right now as you read this article about coffee – that’s a lot of coffee in your life right now.

You may have looked at your coffee beans and thought, could I eat my coffee beans? Would I still get my caffeine hit, or would I be wasting all my delicious beans?

Fear not, we are here today to answer all your questions so you will leave here knowing whether you can eat coffee beans.

Is Coffee A Fruit?

I’ve never been too fussed about whether coffee is a fruit, I’m not drinking coffee for a fruit hit of my 5 a day, I’m drinking it to satisfy my caffeine addiction and fuel my body.

It turns out that after research, coffee is indeed a fruit, the coffee beans we consume like monsters every day are the pits of a fruit. The fruit is a purple color and looks very similar to a cherry. The fruit now has the name, coffee cherry.

There are times I’ve ordered a new coffee style or bought a different type of coffee bean, and it has a slightly fruity taste to it, sometimes I’ve even tasted a hint of berries. This is the reason for that! Depending on how the coffee is extracted and made, it can leave a hint of the coffee cherry.

There’s a History To Eating Coffee Beans

Maybe like me, you haven’t spent too much time researching the deep history of coffee. You’re more fascinated by the taste in your mug and the caffeine that’s finally hit, like me. Sure, we’ve done some research but nothing too serious.

When your research does get serious, however, you’ll quickly find out that coffee beans have been eaten for hundreds of years or more. Before coffee was developed as a mainstream beverage, it’s thought that coffee beans were mixed with animal fat and consumed to boost energy levels.

The Basics of Eating Coffee Beans:

Firstly, and, most importantly, coffee beans provide the same nutrients as a freshly brewed cup of coffee, but in a much more concentrated and direct form. This is because coffee is typically filtered and diluted with water, so you only get a certain amount of caffeine and other substances found in the whole coffee bean.

Eating coffee beans rather than drinking your coffee has the potential to increase the rate that caffeine is absorbed through the lining of your mouth and into your system.

Keeping all of this in mind, it’s best to eat coffee beans in moderation as they’re more intense than drinking coffee.

Can I Eat Green Coffee Beans?

Like above, green coffee beans are safe to eat and will offer you the nutritional and health benefits like a standard cup of green coffee would. However, there is a taste element involved with eating green coffee beans that may put you off.

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Raw or green coffee beans are highly acidic and supposedly have a grassy or woody flavor with a sour aftertaste. Also, raw or green coffee beans are much harder than roasted beans, which makes it difficult to chew.

The darker the roast of the coffee bean, the softer that bean will be to chew, so as you can imagine, a raw coffee bean isn’t going to be soft at all. Good luck crunching that between your teeth.

Benefits Of Eating Coffee Beans

Most studies we read online link us to the benefits of consuming coffee as a hot cup of heaven, and that makes sense considering the general population drinks coffee instead of eating coffee beans. We can assume that you will get the same benefits from eating coffee beans than you would from drinking coffee.

A Source Of Antioxidants

Coffee beans are packed with powerful antioxidants, mostly chlorogenic acid, which is a family of health-promoting polyphenols. They sound healthy, right?

Studies conducted on chlorogenic acid show that it may reduce the risk of diabetes and inflammation, some studies go as far as to say chlorogenic may have cancer-fighting elements.

A Quicker Route To A Caffeine Hit

Caffeine, as we know, is a natural stimulant that is found across a variety of food and drinks like tea, coffee, and energy drinks and bars.

You’ll need to eat roughly 8 coffee beans to get the same amount of caffeine that one cup of coffee contains, that doesn’t seem like a lot of coffee beans to me.

There are many benefits to consuming caffeine, like impacting your brain and central nervous system (in a good way). Caffeine is known to boost energy, alertness, mood, memory, and performance.

Eating coffee beans will give you more caffeine per coffee bean as it won’t be diluted down so you would theoretically have to use fewer coffee beans to get the same hit. Again, coffee beans need to be consumed in moderation. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself consuming way too much caffeine.

The Negatives To Consuming Coffee Beans

With every positive, there seems always to be an equal negative, the same can be said for coffee beans and caffeine. Nothing is without risk, so let’s explore some of the potential dangers of consuming too many coffee beans.

Sensitivity

Coffee has certain compounds that can cause stomach upset or heartburn in some people, this is, in part, the caffeine but also catechol’s which increase stomach acid.

When your coffee beans are filtered and diluted down, a lot of the chemicals and substances in the coffee bean are lowered, as we all know. When you eat a coffee bean, you skip that filtering process which increases the number of substances you consume.

You may find that consuming whole coffee beans means that the increase in certain compounds may upset your stomach in a way that regular drinking coffee doesn’t.

Snacking

Most coffee drinkers won’t realize or fail to admit that they’re addicted to caffeine, this could be a small addiction that isn’t too much of a problem. Coffee and caffeine have a specific effect on the brain that makes it almost impossible to stop a slight addiction.

When you realize you can consume caffeine easier, quicker, and get the caffeine hit faster, you may find yourself being tempted more often to consuming caffeine by eating a few coffee beans here and there.

This, of course, will quickly add up, and as the coffee beans aren’t filtered when you eat them, you could be exposing your body and brain to too much caffeine and other potentially harmful substances.

There are other negative effects from caffeine that are the same whether you eat or drink your coffee beans, I thought I’d leave these out as I’m sure you know the standard downsides when consuming caffeine.

Conclusion

So, there you have it, yes, fill your cheeks with coffee beans if you wish to try it out. If you’re rushing out of the door, grabbing a handful of coffee beans may now be an excellent option for you. Keep in mind what we have said about limiting the amount you eat due to the increased caffeine you’ll receive. It’s time for me to replace my nuts snacking habit with coffee beans. Hopefully, I won’t get too many weird looks in the office.

Ivan is a 24-year old graphic design and computer science student from Serbia who loves driving motorcycle in his free time and is absolutely obsessed with nature, sports and hanging out with friends.

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