Are coffee beans edible?

In this short article we will answer the question, “Are coffee beans edible?” with an in-depth analysis of coffee beans such as how many coffee beans are to be consumed, the Pros and cons of eating coffee beans, how coffee beans are made, and nutritional profile.

Are coffee beans edible?

Yes, coffee beans are edible. Coffee beans have a long history of being consumed for centuries or even longer. 

It is believed that in the early stages before coffee became a popular beverage, the beans were frequently combined with animal fat and ingested as a means to enhance energy levels.

When regular coffee is prepared, it undergoes filtration and dilution with water, resulting in the extraction of only a portion of the caffeine and other compounds present in the whole bean. 

Therefore, consuming whole coffee beans can intensify both the positive and negative effects associated with coffee consumption.(1)

What is the composition of coffee beans?

In summary, coffee beans contain approximately 43% carbohydrates; 7.5–10% proteins; other nitrogenous compounds (0.6% – 2.8% caffeine); 10–15% lipids; 25% melanoidins, 3.7–5%minerals and ~6% organic and inorganic acids, and esters.(2) 

During roasting, there is no significant loss in terms of caffeine, its concentration will increase due to the degradation of other components.(3)

That said, green coffee beans — which are raw — aren’t very pleasant to eat. They have a bitter, woody flavor and can be hard to chew. Roasted coffee beans are slightly softer. (1)

How much coffee beans can you consume? 

The quantity of coffee beans provided in the diet depended on the caffeine content because the daily dosage of this compound should not surpass 45 mg caffeine/kg weight.

The caffeine and other chemicals present in the entire bean are just a fraction of what you receive from ordinary coffee since it is filtered and diluted with water. (4)

What are the health benefits of coffee beans?

Caffeine is a natural stimulant that impacts your brain and central nervous system, resulting in many benefits, like boosting energy, alertness, mood, memory, and performance. This chemical may also improve exercise performance and weight loss by boosting metabolism (1)

Coffee beans contain potent antioxidants, and among them, chlorogenic acid stands out as the most abundant. This compound has shown potential in reducing the risk of diabetes, combating inflammation, and even exhibiting anti-cancer properties.

The concentration of chlorogenic acid in coffee beans varies based on the bean variety and the roasting techniques employed. 

Roasting coffee beans can lead to a reduction of 50-95 percent in chlorogenic acid content. However, despite this reduction, coffee beans remain highly regarded as an excellent source of this beneficial compound. (5, 6)

Do coffee beans have any adverse effects?

Coffee has modest cardiovascular effects, including tachycardia, high blood pressure, and occasional arrhythmia. These acute effects are more likely to occur immediately after coffee consumption or in individuals who are more susceptible.

While the contribution of coffee to the development of hypertension is generally small, it can be more significant in infrequent coffee consumers. 

Additionally, caffeine can slightly reduce calcium absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. To mitigate the risk of osteoporosis and fractures, it is recommended to maintain adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D especially among elderly adults. (7)


In this short article we have provided an answer to the question: Are coffee beans edible? With an in-depth analysis of coffee beans such as how many coffee beans are to be consumed, Pros and cons of eating coffee beans, How coffee beans are made, and nutritional profile.


  1. Mary Jane Brown, Can You Eat Coffee Beans? All You Need to Know. Them. Healthline Media LLC. 2020
  2. Farah, Adriana.  Nutritional and health effects of coffee. 10.19103/AS.2017.0022.14. 2018.
  3. Wei, F., & Tanokura, M. Organic Compounds in Green Coffee Beans. Coffee in Health and Disease Prevention, 149–162. 2015.
  4. Caroline Woelffel Silva, Keila Rodrigues Zanardi, et. al. Green coffee extract (Coffea canephora) improved the intestinal barrier and slowed colorectal cancer progression and its associated inflammation in rats, PharmaNutrition, 22, 2022.
  5. Wei, F., Furihata, K., Hu, F., Miyakawa, T., & Tanokura, M.  Complex mixture analysis of organic compounds in green coffee bean extract by two-dimensional NMR spectroscopy. Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry, 48(11), 857–865. 2010.
  6. Tajik, N., Tajik, M., Mack, I. et al. The potential effects of chlorogenic acid, the main phenolic components in coffee, on health: a comprehensive review of the literature. Eur J Nutr 56, 2215–2244. 2017.
  7. Bae, J.-H., Park, J.-H., Im, S.-S., & Song, D.-K.  Coffee and health. Integrative Medicine Research, 3(4), 189–191. 2014.

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