Oily Coffee Beans – Ultimate Explainer

Have you noticed a layer of sheen over your beloved coffee beans? Why are some coffee beans oily, whereas others are dry? More importantly, does it alter the taste of your coffee?

If you’ve ever wondered these questions about your oily coffee beans, you’ve come to the right place. 

We’ve jotted down everything you need to know about this buttery covering on top of your coffee beans, from what causes it to how to avoid it, and the best brands for non-oily coffee beans. 

What Does It Mean When Coffee Beans Are Oily? 

All coffee beans have oil, but oily coffee beans are the ones that have oil outside the beans as well. 

The oil develops on the surface of coffee beans when beans are over-roasted. After a long dark roast, the internal shell cracks, causing the carbon dioxide inside to react immediately with the oxygen outside, creating an oily texture. 

The longer you roast your coffee beans i.e. a dark roast, the greater the chance that their inside compound will get exposed to the outer surface. As a result, dark roasted beans are more prone to this oily sheen than most lighter roast or medium roast beans. 

There is a chance that your light or darker roast coffee beans develop this glossy outer covering. But you can see that dark roast coffee beans can be oilier than light roast coffee beans.

The oil can accumulate if you store it for a long time without an air-tight container. But an oily bean doesn’t necessarily mean that your roasted coffee bean batch has gone wrong or is stale. Some medium-roasted beans naturally develop a thin layer of oil during the roasting process. 

How Do You Keep Coffee Beans from Getting Oily?

Oily coffee beans are covered in their lipid. 

Even though light or medium-roasted super oily beans may have gone wrong, dark-roasted beans can develop oil while still being roasted. The roast will add a smoky and charcoal-ish flavor to your coffee. 

Your coffee will be home to some bold, unique flavors, and it will have a less fruity and sweet taste.

As you process your coffee beans, they tend to get oilier. That is why decaf and dark-roasted coffee beans have more oil. Eventually, all coffee beans, light, medium, and dark, will naturally oxidize and have an oily look while sitting on your kitchen rack.  

If you’ve roasted your beans once and don’t like the particularly oily texture, you must conclude the process before your beans reach that blackish-brown stage. As discussed earlier, the longer you roast your coffee beans at high temperatures, the oilier they will get. 

In the case of light and medium roasted beans, be sure to store them in an air-tight container to delay the oxidization process. 

Are Starbucks Coffee Beans Oily?

Starbucks is famous for its dark-roasted coffee beans. 

They generally roast their beans for a longer duration, which often results in an oily texture. They are no oilier than any other brand’s dark-roasted coffee beans. 

In addition to developing a dark brown color, exposing coffee beans to high temperatures for extended periods allows its oily compounds to surface. As a result, Starbucks coffee beans have a glossy sheen on the top. 

As you process your coffee beans, they tend to get oilier. That is why decaf and dark-roasted coffee beans have more oil. Eventually, all coffee beans, light, medium, and dark, will naturally oxidize and have an oily look while sitting on your kitchen rack.  

Dark roasted beans will add a smoky and charcoal-ish flavor to your coffee. Your Starbucks coffee will be home to some bold, unique flavors and will have a less fruity and sweet taste.

When it comes to good or bad, oily dark roasted beans have few suiters. Some coffee lovers appreciate the dark rich taste, whereas others may think something is wrong with their coffee. 

Will Oily Coffee Beans Clog the Grinder?

Oily beans can cause trouble for your semi-automatic or super-automatic coffee machine. Whether you have a burr grinder or something else, the situation can become sticky.

These barista-style coffee makers can clog if used with oily shiny coffee beans. The oil can stick to the device, causing the beans to get trapped on its wall. It can act as a hurdle in properly grounding the beans and will prevent your beans from brewing well.

Eventually, this residual oil from the oily coffee beans will collect on the machine’s components, causing them to malfunction. The beans will stick together due to the clayey oil residue and will not ground correctly. Your machine’s portafilters, mocha pots, or even brew unit screens can get clogged. 

Your machine will either stop producing coffee eventually or churn it out very slowly. As a result, it is just a matter of time before you would need to get your machine serviced or, worse, replaced.

To avoid all the trouble, be sure to use only fresh, non-dark coffee beans in your super-automatic coffee machine. The light or medium roasts will grow less oily over time. 

Regardless of the beans you use, it is always a good idea to clean your machine after each use and store the beans in an air-tight container.

Which Coffee Beans Are Not Oily?

If you are worried about the health of your super-automatic, buy fresh light or medium coffee beans. 

Here is a list of the top five coffee beans, including dark non-greasy options, that won’t clog your coffee grinder.

Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast Espresso

These premium quality beans are blended and dark-roasted in Italy. They will add a smoky, earthy, creamy, and honey-rich taste to your morning brew. 

They are a blend of American coffee beans and Indian Robusta and Arabica beans. They are a perfect partner for your superautomatic espresso machine.

Nicoletti Coffee Espresso Roast Beans

If you’re looking for delicious, light, freshly roasted coffee beans, look no further. 

Nicoletti coffee beans are roasted just before being shipped. Being oil-free, they will work well with your super-automatic. A smooth blend of Arabica and Robusta, they come in dark chocolate and toasted almond flavor. They are just perfect for a sweet, frothy cup of coffee.

Koffee Kult Coffee Beans Dark Roasted

You are in for a treat with these dark roasted beans having a yummy cocoa flavor. These are organic coffee beans, and their strong aroma will immediately make your day. The brand claims that its luscious scent will make you want to get out of your bed. It offers a bold yet smooth and non-bitter treat for your tastebuds. Freshly roasted and oil-free, they can serve you a gourmet-style coffee using your super-automatic.

Lavazza Caffe Espresso Whole Bean Coffee Blend

If you’re looking for non-greasy, whole, mildly roasted coffee beans for your daily espresso, here it is. Committed to perfecting coffee, the Lavazza brand founder Luigi Lavazza invented the technique of blending coffee. Italy’s finest, these coffee beans offer a chocolate-rich, fruity flavor. They are made of Arabica beans imported from Africa, South America, and Central America. 

Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend

Another gem from the Lavazza family, these mildly roasted, whole beans are a blend of 40% Robusta from Indonesia and Vietnam with 60% Arabica from Brazil, India, and Columbia. These premium quality beans add a super creamy nutty texture and rich aroma to your coffee. It comes with honey and dried nuts.

How Can You Tell If A Coffee Bean Is Oily?

The easiest way to find out if your coffee beans are oily or not is by looking at their surface. If your coffee bean has a shiny look to it, chances are it is oil. 

You can notice the oily texture by placing the beans on your palm. If they leave some residue, they are none other than the infamous oily coffee beans. Due to the over-roasting, your beans might give a burnt taste and have a foul, rancid oil aftertaste if the oil is gradually collected on your coffee machine.

Oily Coffee Beans – Wrap Up

Oil is to coffee beans what coffee is to you, indispensable. 

The longer you roast your beans, the more prone they are to developing an oily layer. As a result, medium and dark roasted beans often have an oily texture. 

Even without over-roasting, they will eventually oxidize to form a shiny layer. Oily coffee beans are not necessarily of low quality, but they aren’t best friends with your super-automatic machine either. 

We’ve listed the top five coffee beans that you can purchase right now to enjoy your barista-style coffee without risking your espresso machine or any other coffee machine. Or else you can get a manual hand grinder.

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