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Does Eating Coffee Beans Give You Caffeine? How Much?

arabica coffee beans

Chocolate-covered espresso beans seem like an ideal combination for someone who loves coffee and chocolate. You may be wondering if this novelty snack will give you the same amount of energy as your daily cup of Joe. The good news is that they can! Eating raw coffee beans gives you a more concentrated form of the nutrients and caffeine found in brewed coffee. The caffeine content of a single raw coffee bean is roughly equivalent to an ounce of coffee!1 Therefore, a mere handful of coffee beans can contain as much caffeine as an entire cup. Continue reading to learn more.

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What Are Raw Coffee Beans?

Raw coffee beans are called green beans, though they aren’t to be confused with the vegetable. If you eat a raw coffee bean, you’re eating unroasted seeds that come from coffee cherries. If you were to make a cup of coffee, you’d have to roast these seeds and then grind them before brewing them according to your favorite method. However, if you have edible beans (all coffee beans are technically edible, we’re referring here to coffee beans marketed specifically for eating), you probably have some raw beans on your hands.

There’s nothing unsafe about eating raw coffee beans. You can…the question is if you want to. Raw coffee beans can be quite chewy and difficult to swallow. They also possess a grassy, earthy flavor that isn’t toned down by roasting. They can pack a powerful acidic punch in every bite! This is why so many people opt for green coffee extract or the chocolate-covered variety so they can still get the benefits of raw beans without the taste of biting into a plain one.

green coffee beans
Image Credit: Karaidel, Shutterstock

Why Are Coffee Beans More Caffeinated Than a Brewed Cup?

When coffee beans are brewed, the hot water not only dilutes the properties of the bean, but the heat kills some of the naturally derived antioxidants. Green, unroasted arabica beans have 150 mg of antioxidants, but over half of these are lost during the roasting process. Eating raw allows you to retain all the nutrition—and caffeine—that your cup of coffee lacks.

How Much Caffeine Can I Have In a Day?

Because raw coffee beans contain a more concentrated form of caffeine, you must be extremely mindful that you don’t eat them excessively or you could overdose on caffeine. We recommend eating no more than 20-30 at a time, which has about as much caffeine as a Starbucks grande black coffee.

The FDA advises people to cap their caffeine intake around 400 mg per day. Certain populations such as pregnant women, minors, and the elderly are advised to curb it even less. While everyone’s body metabolizes caffeine differently, the symptoms of caffeine overdose are the same.

You've probably consumed too much caffeine if you suffer from these symptoms after a coffee binge:
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Heartburn
  • GI upset

If you feel like you consume too much caffeine, cut back slowly to avoid caffeine withdrawal. These symptoms result from caffeine dependency and can include anxiety, headache, and general agitation.

Coffee beans also carry the potential negative effects of drinking coffee, with unfortunately more acute symptoms since they’re a more concentrated form of the beverage. If a cup of coffee gives you heartburn or GI upset, beans are probably going to give you these same problems but amplified.

woman with polished nails having coffee
Image Credit: Alehandra13, Pixabay

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In Conclusion

Raw beans might not be super tasty on their own, but they have a higher amount of caffeine and antioxidants than their brewed counterparts. Paired with chocolate, they can be a delicious, crunchy snack that gives you fuel for your day. Just be mindful not to eat too many so you stay clear from caffeine overdose.

Featured Image Credit: Ri_Ya, Pixabay



If there's a pencil and paper on her desk, Brooke Bundy has a cup of coffee (or tea) in her hand. Brooke worked in a coffee shop for three years while she finished her Bachelor's degree in Media Studies, and studied to be a writer. She met her future husband in the coffee shop where he lingered too long over deep conversations and dark roast coffee. Now they're happily married in New Orleans, LA, where they spend their free time exploring parks and cafes with their dog Tuggles.

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