You may have noticed that some coffee beans are oily while others aren’t. It’s not your imagination – this is an actual trait of coffee beans, and knowing if the coffee beans you’re buying are oily or not can have an impact on the taste of your final cup of coffee.
This blog post covers everything you need to know about oily coffee beans, from what it means to taste your coffee to how long you should roast oily coffee beans to get the best Flavor out of them in your brews.
Does coffee contain oil?
Coffee beans will often have oils on them, and this is natural. Usually, they’ll release these oils while they’re being roasted, so they won’t be very oily at all after roasting. Some people like to roast their coffee beans at home, which can turn out quite oily as the oils will come from the beans when heated in the roaster.
If you use your roasted beans right away and brew them, you might see oil or an oily sheen on top of your cup of coffee or espresso drink.
This can sometimes make the drink taste a little different than what you may be used to, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad. You may want to experiment with using fewer coffee grounds or more water for your next batch.
Just don’t over-roast your beans – too much heat will release the oils in the beans and create too much oil for the coffee maker to handle without spitting up into your mug. Also, you should know that some methods of brewing coffee (such as the French press) result in the oil rising to the surface and floating on top of your finished beverage.
What type of oil is in coffee beans?
In a nutshell, there are two major types of oils: saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated oils, found in vegetables and fruits, are healthier than saturated oils. In coffee beans, the fats come from roasting—not just the beans themselves but also the bean’s skin. This makes them rich in both unsaturated and saturated fats.
The healthy component of coffee oil is that at least 60% of this fat is unsaturated fat, which is much better for you than saturated fat. Research shows that up to five cups a day might be safe; the USDA recommends limiting your intake to three cups daily due to potential risks associated with consuming large amounts of caffeine. Of course, as always, consult your doctor before altering any dietary regimen.
How do oily coffee beans affect your cup of coffee?
The different types of oily beans will impact the consistency of your coffee. Beans that are too oily will cause a very cloudy cup of coffee, and in some cases, the oils might float to the top and be visible in your mug. In general, avoid beans that have excessive oil. For espresso or French press, avoid beans with visible oils (i.e., when you open the bag).
Espresso beans should only be ground as close to brewing time and use the finest grind possible. Ideally, the grounds should not be ground at all. You want to create an even distribution of fines, so there is no significant difference between coarser grounds and finer grounds.
To achieve this effect, pulse until all fines look uniform in size, then stop grinding. Keep in mind that espresso needs less pressure than drip coffee, so do not push down hard on the portafilter handle.
When extracting the coffee from the filter basket, keep it level by either using your palm or propping up one side of the filter with a shot glass. If you’re using a paper filter, remove it before adding milk because its fibers can make their way into the milk and change its taste.
Add water slowly while stirring gently and making sure not to splash out any hot water onto yourself. If foam forms at the top of your mug, let it rest for 30 seconds before pouring over your beverage.
Are oily coffee beans bad?
Some beans have an oilier appearance than others, so an oily coffee bean does not automatically mean that the coffee will taste bad. Additionally, when coffee beans have been stored for too long, their oils will seep out and cause an oil-coated appearance. In this case, the coffee beans need to be used before they go bad.
However, even if your coffee is still edible after drinking it and you don’t notice any offensive tastes or smells, there are health risks associated with consuming rancid oils: they can lead to cancer and increased cholesterol levels.
For these reasons, consuming oxidized oil is best avoided and can be done by avoiding a bright yellowish-brown appearance in your coffee beans. Store coffee beans away from light, heat, moisture, and air, as well as store them in a container with an airtight seal. If your home is warm or humid – store the container on top of some ice packs.
Should my coffee beans be oily?
Coffee beans should be dark, oily, and crisp to the touch. This is because as the coffee dries out of the pod or after roasting, oil is extracted from the inside of the bean. If your beans aren’t oily when you open them or they feel soft, they may not be fresh enough to drink yet.
You can also use a free smartphone app called Uncrustify that analyzes pictures of coffee beans to tell you how much oil they have.
So, grab your phone, take a photo of your coffee beans and find out! The app will then show you a graph showing how much moisture, percentage of color, and oil content there is in the beans.
The color range for medium roast coffee is green through yellow-brown, with a range between 60% – 70% moisture content and average oil content between 5% – 8%. For dark roast coffee, the range would be black through brown with around 10% moisture content with an average oil content of around 1%.
So, if you opened up your bag of coffee only to find some brownish-looking beans instead of the usual oily-dark beans, then something might have gone wrong during processing which could make your cup taste bitter. Keep in mind this isn’t always the case but could potentially happen, so now you know what to look for next time.
What does it mean if my coffee beans are oily?
If you’re buying from a local roaster, chances are you’re getting fresh beans. And fresh beans can go through a few different stages. You may see whole beans that are green or red and still oily. That’s usually because they’ve just been roasted or haven’t had enough time to dry out yet.
For this reason, some roasters will only sell them in half-pound increments, so you can purchase as much or as little as you want at one time. Some people like to store them in their freezer for up to two months once they reach this stage.
The longer they sit in your freezer, the drier they’ll get. When we roast coffee here at Timeless Roasting Company, we recommend keeping your beans inside an airtight container within your refrigerator. Why? The cool temperature slows down how quickly moisture evaporates, which prolongs how long your coffee stays tasty and delicious!
Will oily coffee beans clog the grinder?
No, coffee beans that have been roasted in oil won’t clog a grinder. If they were going to clog the grinder, they would do so before the roasting process began.
However, any grounds that come in contact with oil will pick up some of the oil’s Flavor and aroma and can be messy for your coffee filters. Also, oils from the beans can contaminate other nearby foods during storage, and this may create off Flavors in them as well.
Lastly, oils from roasted coffee beans can start breaking down quickly when exposed to air which is why it is best to store them in an airtight container at room temperature or refrigerated until use. If you need to store them for more than two weeks, we recommend freezing them.
For example, you could store a bag of beans sealed in a freezer-safe bag for up to six months without damaging their quality too much. There is no need to pre-freeze the beans; simply seal them tight and freeze them immediately after purchase. Freezing will maintain their freshness by slowing down their oxidation process significantly.
Final thoughts on oily coffee beans
Coffee beans may be oily when they come in contact with oils or solvents while they are being processed. This can happen during the roasting process, which converts the beans’ starches into sugars and some of their fats into more complex fats called fatty acids.
It is best to purchase coffee beans from a trusted, reputable supplier that focuses on quality roasting and sourcing practices.
Using less oil in recipes containing coffee beans will help avoid the issue of the beans being oily because oil is used for Flavor and consistency. Consider using coconut oil in recipes rather than olive oil for its non-drying properties.