What Is Coffee Bean Good For?

Curious About Coffee Bean?
Botanical name: Coffea

Coffee Bean Nutrition Facts

According to the National Coffee Association of U.S.A., 62 percent of Americans drank coffee on a daily basis in 2017.1 With the sheer number of coffee consumers, almost everyone knows what a whole roasted coffee bean looks like and how aromatic it can be when roasted and perfectly brewed.

But have you ever wondered what a coffee bean looks like when it’s raw, or how it’s harvested from the coffee plant? Read on to learn more about coffee beans, their different types, health benefits and the proper ways to roast them at home.

What Is a Coffee Bean?

A coffee “bean” is actually the seed of a cherry-like fruit that grows on a genus of plant known as Coffea. There are approximately 25 to 100 species of coffee plant under this genus, some of which grow as small shrubs while others grow as tall as trees. The most important species of coffee plant that are cultivated for drinking are the Arabica and Robusta.2

It usually takes three to four years before coffee plants bear fruit. Once the fruit’s color is a deep shade of red, they’re harvested and processed in order to obtain the seeds inside. The coffee beans are then hulled, polished, graded and sorted before being exported.3

The milled coffee beans are called “green beans.” They can be brewed to make green coffee, which is believed to have weight loss properties due to its chlorogenic acid content.4 Green coffee beans can also be slightly roasted to make “white” coffee beans (which are actually tan in color).

White coffee beans are considered specialty items and are not widely available. They have a nutty taste when brewed, and are usually mixed with other ingredients to make a gourmet drink.5 Other levels of coffee bean roast include:6,7

  • Light roasts: Lightly roasted coffee beans give off a delicate flavor when brewed. They’re more acidic than other types of roasts. Their surface also looks dry, since they haven’t been roasted long enough to extract their oils. This degree of roasting is commonly used for high-quality beans to make their original taste more noticeable than the roasted flavor.
  • Medium roasts: Usually referred to as “American roast,” medium-roasted coffee beans are medium-brown in color, with a slightly toastier flavor and less acidity than lightly roasted beans. Most people prefer this type because of its balanced flavor and acidity.
  • Dark roasts: Dark-roasted coffee beans are characterized by their very low acidity, shiny black surface and strong, smoky taste. Low-quality beans are often used for this type of roast in order to overpower their original taste with a toasty flavor.

Types of Coffee Beans

The shape, size, color and flavor of coffee beans vary according to their type. Most of coffee beans available today fall into these two varieties:8,9,10

  • Arabica (C. Arabica): Coffee Arabica is grown at high altitudes, generally between 2,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level with temperatures of 59 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 60 inches of annual rainfall. The beans of this coffee plant are flat and elongated, and contain lower amounts of caffeine than Robusta beans, which is why they have a delicate flavor and low acidity.

    Arabica trees are costly to grow because of their terrain and climate requirements. They’re also labor-intensive to cultivate, as they’re more prone to diseases and pests. Because of their delicate characteristics, Arabica coffee beans are sold at a higher price.

  • Robusta (C. canephora var. Robusta): Robusta coffee beans are grown at lower altitudes, with a constant temperature of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Its terrain and climate requirements make it easier to cultivate than Arabica, hence why it’s sold at a cheaper price and commonly used in instant coffee blends.

    Robusta coffee beans contain higher levels of caffeine, which account for its harsh and bitter flavor. Although it’s usually considered inferior to Arabica, Robusta coffee beans are valued in espressos because of their rich and deep flavor.

The third most relevant coffee plant species that’s cultivated for consumption is Coffea liberica, which grows best in hot climates and low elevations. It’s not as widely available as other types of coffee beans, since it only accounts for less than 1 percent of the world’s coffee production. Meanwhile, Arabica and Robusta represent approximately 60 and 40 percent of world’s coffee production, respectively.11

Coffee Bean Nutrition Facts

It’s a widely known fact that a plain brewed cup of coffee contains low amounts of calories — around 2 calories to be exact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database.12 If you’re wondering about the nutritional value of the coffee beans themselves, check out the nutrition facts table below:13

Coffee Beans Ground Eaten

Serving Size: 1 tbsp — 6 g
  Amt. Per
% Daily
Calories 18  
Calories from Fat    
Total Fat 1 g  
Saturated Fat 0 g  
Trans Fat 0 g  
Cholesterol 0 mg  
Sodium 0 mg  
Total Carbohydrates 0 g  
Dietary Fiber 2 g  
Sugar 0 g  
Protein 0 g  
Vitamin A0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium0% Iron 1%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Here’s How Coffee Bean Benefits Your Health

The beneficial compound that’s commonly associated with coffee beans is caffeine, which is known for its powerful antioxidant properties.14 However, coffee beans also contain other beneficial compounds, such as chlorogenic acid, diterpenes and melanoidins, to name a few.

The amount of beneficial compounds in a cup of coffee may vary according to the coffee bean variety, roasting degree and brewing method.15 Together, they contribute to the following health benefits:

Helps protect against Type 2 diabetes

Consuming black, unsweetened coffee at least three times a day may help inhibit the onset of Type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the Korean Journal of Family Medicine.

This may be due to its chlorogenic acid content, which may help regulate blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity and inhibit intestinal glucose absorption.16

Helps lower the risk for Parkinson’s disease

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that higher caffeine intake from drinking coffee is linked to a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease.

The mechanism of action by which caffeine affects the incidence of this disease lies in its ability to counteract aging-related neurodegenerative processes and increase central dopaminergic tone.17

Helps improve liver health

Coffee beans may help promote healthy liver function by reducing the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, fibrosis and cirrhosis.18 It may also help keep the hepatitis C virus from replicating.19

Helps improve heart health

According to a study published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, consuming two 8-ounce servings of coffee per day may help reduce the risk of heart failure.20

Helps reduce the risk for certain types of cancer

A meta-analysis published in the journal BMC Cancer suggests that drinking coffee may help reduce the risk for bladder, breast, colorectal, esophageal, pancreatic and prostate cancers, among others.21

Helps fight against obesity

According to a study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine, green coffee bean extract may help fight obesity by regulating adipogenesis and lipid metabolism-related genes and proteins.22

Other Uses of Coffee Beans

In addition to brewing coffee beans, you can also use these humble seeds for many other purposes, such as:

  • Exfoliating your skin: Mix a spoonful of used coffee ground with a small amount of olive oil and/or other essential oils to make an organic and inexpensive exfoliant.23
  • Freshening up the air: Place bowls of coffee grounds around your house, such as in your kitchen, to help deodorize unpleasant smells.24

You can also use ground coffee beans to help get rid of fleas from your pets, repel insects, repair scratches on dark wood furniture, and clean hard-to-remove stains from pots, pans and kitchen tools.25,26,27

How to Roast Coffee Beans on Your Own

Learning how to roast and grind coffee beans at home is a handy culinary skill, and also gives you better control of the roast level, so you can make a cup of coffee that perfectly suits your taste. Here’s how to roast coffee beans, according to The Kitchn:28

  1. Place the green coffee beans in a pan and put the pan over medium heat. Stir the beans constantly throughout the entire roasting process to make sure that they’re evenly heated.
  2. Wait for the coffee beans to crack and smoke, around five minutes. Continue stirring, and check the beans’ color frequently.
  3. Once the beans turn the color that you desire, remove the pan from the heat and pour the beans immediately into a chilled bowl. Stir constantly for three minutes.
  4. Rotate the bowl to cool down the beans quickly, then transfer them to a colander and sift out the hulls.

You can grind the coffee beans as soon as they have cooled, but it’s best to wait until the next day before you do so.29 You can use a grinder, food processor, regular blender or immersion blender for grinding the coffee beans. Simply process the beans using the device of your choice until it reaches the grind consistency that your desire.

You can also grind the seeds manually using a mortar and pestle, rolling pin, hammer, or hand mincer.30 Be sure to store the roasted and ground coffee beans in an opaque, airtight container at room temperature to preserve its freshness and flavor.31

Try Making This Keto-Friendly Recipe Using Freshly Roasted Coffee Beans

If you have a batch of freshly roasted and ground coffee beans in your home, you can use it to brew a delicious cup of coffee – or if you want to take it a notch higher, try making this easy, keto-approved coffee recipe:


1 mug freshly brewed coffee

1 tablespoon grass fed butter (raw if possible)

1 tablespoon MCT oil


  1. Put the butter, MCT oil and brewed coffee in a blender, and then blend for 20 to 30 seconds.
  2. Pour in a mug and serve immediately. 

What to Keep in Mind When Brewing Coffee Beans

Since coffee beans are among the most heavily pesticide-sprayed crops, you should only buy them from trusted organic sources to ensure that they’re free from harmful chemicals. Choose coffee beans that smell and taste fresh, and avoid using chlorine-bleached filters when brewing them at home, as they contain harmful disinfection byproducts that may contaminate your cup of coffee.

If you want to reap the health benefits of coffee beans, do not add sugar, cream and other sweeteners and flavorings to your drink. Adding these ingredients into your coffee not only negates its potential health benefits, but it may also put you at risk of insulin resistance.

Additionally, be careful not to overindulge in coffee, since consuming 10 or more cups of it in a day may lead to unpleasant side effects. It’s also important to note that coffee is not recommended for pregnant and/or breastfeeding women because of its caffeine content. Caffeine consumption during pregnancy may cause babies to have lower birth weight,32 heart problems33 and behavioral disorders later in life.34

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Coffee Beans

Q. Where do coffee beans come from?

A. Coffee beans come from the cherry-like fruits of a genus of plants known as Coffea, specifically the Coffea Arabica and Coffea canephora var. Robusta species. A small percent of the world’s coffee bean production also comes from Coffea liberica species.35

Q. How long do coffee beans last?

A. There is no set shelf life for coffee beans, as this depends on a number of factors, including the storage condition. If properly stored, whole roasted coffee beans may stay at best quality for around two weeks.36

Q. How do you store coffee beans?

A. To preserve your coffee beans’ flavor as long as possible, you should store them in an opaque, airtight glass container and put them in a cool, dry place away from heat and sunlight.37

Q. Do coffee beans go bad?

A. Yes, the quality of coffee beans will degrade two weeks after roasting.38

Q. How much caffeine is in a coffee bean?

A. The caffeine content of coffee beans depends on their variety. An Arabica coffee bean contains approximately 1.5 percent caffeine, whereas Robusta contains 2.4 percent caffeine.39