What Type Of Coffee Beans Are Oily?

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Written By Anh Dung Pham

Coffee has been my world for decades, and through the years, one question has come up time and again: “What type of coffee beans are oily?” Well, you’re about to join me, a seasoned barista and coffee enthusiast, as I spill the beans on this topic!

What Type Of Coffee Beans Are Oily?

Having dealt with countless beans over the years, I have observed a consistent pattern. The coffee beans that tend to be oily are often dark-roasted beans. These beans have gone through a longer roasting process in a coffee roaster, which causes the natural oils in the coffee beans to come to the surface.  

What Type Of Coffee Beans Are Oily?

The darker the roast, the more the natural oils come to the surface of the bean. In contrast, beans roasted to a medium-dark level exhibit less oil. Medium roasted beans have a slight oily sheen. The reason for this phenomenon is that the porous structure of the beans creates conditions for the oil to float.

Origins Of Coffee Oils

Coffee beans come from certain origins like Indonesia or Latin America. For further insights on variations among beans, check out our coffee species comparison. Coffee beans look different depending on their origin and roasting process. 

  • Beans Themselves: Every coffee bean contains oils, which are packed with flavors and aromatic compounds, including lipid content. When roasting, the aroma of the beans comes alive, filling the room with a delightful scent. It’s these very oils that give your coffee its unique taste.
  • Roasting Process: As coffee beans are roasted in a coffee maker, the heat breaks down their cell structure. When beans reach a certain temperature, these oils are pushed to the surface of the beans. In addition, moisture escapes, leaving a rich aromatic essence after roasting.

Characteristics Of Oily Beans

Dark Appearance: They have a shiny, often glossy look, which can be immediately distinguished.

Rich Flavor: The coffee’s oils on these dark roasted beans pack a punch in terms of flavor. During the brewing process, hot water extracts oils from finely ground coffee beans, creating a rich, aromatic cup. Understanding the ideal coffee grind can also enhance your brewing experience, ensuring optimal flavor extraction.

Characteristics Of Oily Beans

Sticky to Touch: When you pick them up, they can feel a bit slippery or tacky because of the oils on the surface.

When brewing: hot water will extract essential oils from ground coffee powder, delivering them into an aromatic cup of coffee.

Flavor IntensityOily PresenceFlavor Intensity

Why The Concern About Oily Beans?

You might wonder why there’s even a discussion about oily beans. Well, for many, the presence of oil indicates a few things:

  • Flavor Profile: The oil content can influence the mouthfeel and texture of the brewed coffee. Oily beans tend to have a stronger, bolder flavor profile, which many coffee aficionados, including myself, absolutely adore. 
  • Grinder Maintenance: Oil-rich beans can sometimes cause clogging in coffee crushers used for roast coffee, especially if they’re not cleaned regularly.

Are All Dark Roasts Oily?

After roasting green coffee beans, there will be oil on its surface. While it’s common to find oily surfaces on dark roasted beans, it’s not a hard and fast rule. Some factors can influence this:

  • Bean Origin: Beans from different regions have varied oil contents. For example, Indonesian beans tend to be oilier than African beans. Oily beans mainly come from certain origins like Indonesia or Latin America.
  • Roasting Technique: Coffee grain can be roasted from light to dark. Especially with espresso beans, the precise temperature and duration of roasting by specialty coffee roasters can determine the oiliness of the final bean. Some factors can affect the amount of oil such as using a dry coffee roasting method versus wet roasting methods.

Making The Most Of Oily Beans

From my experience, if you’re working with oily beans, here are some tips to ensure you get the best brew:

Regular Grinder Cleaning: Clean your crushers more frequently to avoid clogs from the oily residue and maintain consistency in your grind.

Airtight Storage: Store the seeds in an airtight container to prevent oxidation and preserve the oils and flavors. Opt for whole coffee grain instead of pre-ground.

Making The Most Of Oily Beans

Manual Brewing: Sometimes, using methods like French Press or Aeropress can accentuate the rich flavors of oil-rich beans. To optimize your enjoyment, discover the best beans for French press and follow some cold French press tips to explore different brewing methods. Try brewing methods like the French press to maximize the extraction of coffee oils in your cup. Consider a coffee bean subscription for fresh roasted beans


The world of coffee is vast, intricate, and incredibly fascinating. Oily coffee beans are just one of its many wonders. After all these years, I’ve learned to appreciate the unique characteristics and flavor they bring to the table.

So, next time you come across glossy, dark-roasted beans, I hope you remember this dive into their oily nature and relish the rich flavors they promise. Cheers to many more cups of delicious coffee! Enjoying oil-rich beans is a great way to explore bolder coffee flavor profiles. Ensure you store coffee seeds correctly to avoid them from becoming rancid due to oxygen and to prevent the oils from beginning to evaporate. Look for proper packaging to maintain them.


Why do some coffee beans have an oily surface?

Coffee beans have natural oils inside them. When they are dark roasted, the prolonged exposure to heat causes these oils to come to the surface, giving the beans their oily appearance. During roasting, the green coffee beans become oily when they reach high temperatures as the oils emerge.

Does the presence of oil mean the coffee is fresher?

Not necessarily. While it’s true that freshly roasted dark beans might exhibit more surface oil, the presence of oil mainly indicates a longer or more intense roast rather than freshness. The presence of oil mainly indicates a longer or more intense roast rather than freshness.

Can I use oily beans in my espresso machine?

Yes, you can. However, it’s essential to regularly clean your coffee machine, especially the grinder, as oily coffee beans can lead to more frequent clogs. Oily coffee beans like Arabica can be used for espresso coffee to produce a thick crema.

Do oily coffee beans have more caffeine?

The oiliness of a bean doesn’t directly correlate with its caffeine content. Generally, dark-roasted coffees, which are often oilier, have slightly less caffeine than light-roasted coffee beans because some caffeine breaks down during the extended roasting process.

Is it bad for coffee beans to be oily?

Not at all! It’s a natural outcome of the roasting process for some beans. Many coffee enthusiasts love oily beans for their rich and robust flavor. However, if you’re not a fan of strong, bold coffee, you might opt for medium or light roasts instead.

What to keep in mind when roasting coffee beans?

When roasting, the roaster needs to carefully monitor roasting temperature and time to control how the cellulose breaks down, affecting the final flavor of the brewed coffee.

Intrigued by the mysterious and flavorful world of coffee? Visit the lido18.com homepage to plunge deeper into my extensive coffee knowledge and join me on a journey of exploring the finest coffee beans!