Why Are My Coffee Beans Shiny? Will They Taste Better?

You just bought a new bag of coffee beans, and you suddenly noticed that they glisten when light hits them. At first, you thought it was just the flare of the light, but at a closer look, you realized it was not. Now, you’re stuck with shiny beans. Should you be concerned? Will this affect the taste of your favorite morning cup? Don’t worry; we got answers for you!

In this article, we will discuss why your coffee beans are shiny and whether or not this is a regular occurrence on different types of beans.

If you have oily beans, it’s natural to be concerned if they’re safe for consumption or not. After all, your body will be put at risk if it turns out to be bad beans. However, some coffee beans will naturally have a shiny coating, a perfectly regular occurrence that is safe to consume. This occurrence results from the coffee roasting process and the bean's chemical structure.

Whenever a coffee bean is roasted, its flavor oils and lipids rise to its surface on a cellular level. And even after the roasting process, these oils remain on the bean, creating a glossy appearance or oily beans. But not all coffee has this shine.

In fact, dark roast beans often develop more oil than lighter roasted beans. At the same, these oils evaporate in an oxygen environment. If exposed for long periods, they will eventually dry up.

So the next time you see dark shiny coffee beans, don’t panic. It’s not an indication of freshness or staleness. More often than not, they denote that they have been roasted longer, allowing these oils to melt out of the coffee bean. 

So, if for some reason you’re not comfortable with consuming shiny beans, we suggest you stick with lighter roasts than dark roasted beans.

Why Are My Coffee Beans Shiny? Will They Taste Better?

Dark Roasting Explained

We already know that darker roast coffees develop more oils than lighter roast. But why is that so? The answer lies in the coffee roaster or roasting process itself.

When roasting dark-roasted coffees, the temperature should be between 464°F – 482°F. The intense heat makes the whole coffee bean “sweat,” releasing oils from within. This is why there are visible oils on them. At the same time, you won’t usually taste the origin flavors in a dark roast, just the result of the process on that type of bean.

Apart from oils, dark roasting also produces a sweeter flavor because the sugars in the bean coffee have more time to caramelize, also known as the Maillard reaction. The longer you roast the beans, it develops a richer, full-bodied flavor that often leads to a buttery taste.

Dark roasting produces less acidic coffee beans. The process also lowers the caffeine content. That’s why dark roast coffee usually has less caffeine than light roast, which may come off as a surprise to many.

Negative Effects Of Dark Roast Coffee Beans

One downside of dark roasts is the potential for producing a bitter cup of coffee. This is usually the result of the loss or formation of certain acids during the process. One study suggests that roasting on high heat decreases the chlorogenic acids of the whole coffee bean, which are rich in antioxidants. [1]

But the harmful effects of dark roasted whole coffee beans are almost similar to light roasts, especially around caffeine intake. We all know that your favorite cup of joe provides numerous health benefits, but consuming too much regularly can have detrimental effects on your health, including anxiety, digestive, upset, anxiety, and irregular heartbeat.

So, whatever kind of whole bean coffee you consume, you still need to be careful with the amount you take. Dark roasts or not, it will always have a negative effect if you finish more than what’s necessary.

Shiny Vs Dull Coffee: Which Is Better?

So are shiny coffee beans better? Coffee beans darker and shiny are not necessarily better or worse. The shininess found on your coffee bean does not indicate the quality of the coffee you’ll make. It’s just that all the oils from the roasted coffee beans are on the surface and that they differ from roast level.

The best question you need to ask is what type of coffee you like. If you enjoy dark roasts, shiny coffee is for you. But if you prefer light roast, you can opt for less shiny beans. The better coffee lies in your personal preference.


What Do Dull Looking Coffee Beans Mean?

There are two reasons you notice dull-looking coffee beans: first, it could be a light roast, or two, the oily sheen left from the dark roasts has evaporated. So how can you determine which is which for your beans?

Simple. Look at the packaging of your coffee beans. If you’ve purchased a lighter roasted coffee, it won't have shiny, oily beans. This is because the natural oils of the beans have remained on the surface since the roasting process is much shorter compared to dark roasted beans.

But if, after checking the packaging and you found out that you have purchased a dark roast, it’s a sign that your beans are stale. The reason for them being stale varies. But most of the time, the beans have been exposed long enough that the oils have been removed from the beans. If this is your case, buying a new coffee is best.


Things To Keep In Mind When Buying Shiny Coffee Beans

The first and most crucial thing you need to remember when buying shiny beans is that their gloss does not reflect the quality of the cup they produce. That’s why you don’t look for shiny coffee beans. Instead, you need to pay attention to the brand and the type of beans you're buying.

Only buy from trusted brands and stores to ensure that you get freshly roasted coffee. If you have a brand you like, stick with it. While it’s good to experiment once in a while, you might end up wasting your money and disappointed with the cup you bought.

Lastly, check the roasting date if available. This gives you an idea of how long it has been kept on the shelves and ensures the freshness of the beans.


Best Brewing Methods For Dark Roasted Coffee Beans

There are three ways to brew dark roasted coffee beans that will bring out their best flavor and aroma: French press, espresso machine, and Aeropress.

If you want an affordable brewing method, the best way is by using a French press. This results in a silky, smooth, full-bodied cup of joe. It also comes in various sizes, allowing you to choose how many cups you want to make per serving. One important thing to note when using this technique is that it uses a filter, so you must only use coarse grounds, or you’ll end up with sludge in the bottom of the cup.

Another way to brew dark roasted beans is through an espresso machine. This method produces a much different taste than a French press, a more concentrated, stronger, and smooth shot of caffeine. This is best if you want a quick energy boost. However, espresso machines are expensive. So if you don’t mind splurging, it’s undoubtedly an excellent brewing process.

Aeropress is also an excellent brewing machine for dark roast coffee. This machine allows you to make good brewed coffee, cold brew, and espresso-like beverages. Unlike French presses that only use coarse grounds, this device can brew different sizes of grounds without leaving any sludge in your cup.

dark roasted coffee beans ready for brewing

Common Shiny Coffee Beans Questions

Are shiny coffee beans still fresh?

Not necessarily. However, shiny beans often mean that it has been roasted recently, so the freshness is still there.

What do shiny coffee beans taste like?

In terms of flavor, shiny beans offer an earthier, smoky, and less acidic taste.

Why do some people prefer light roast coffee?

Lighter roasts retain the natural flavor of the coffee. This allows drinkers to experience the coffee itself rather than the flavors of the roast.

Why are Starbucks coffee beans so shiny?

The oil coming out of the beans are natural oils surfacing from the roasting process. This means that the beans have been recently roasted.

Will oily coffee beans clog the grinder?

Yes, it can. So, it’s best to clean your grinder after every use to avoid any problems in the future.


Conclusion

Shiny beans are not something you should worry about. It’s usually the natural reaction of a bean from the roasting process, especially on dark roasted beans. If you don’t like the shininess, it’s best to stick with lighter roasts. 

Coffee comes in different varieties. As you become more familiar with this drink, you’ll understand how each type differs from the other.

References:

1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34553656/