How To Dry Oily Coffee Beans Like A Boss!

How To Dry Oily Coffee Beans Like A Boss!

Last updated on October 22nd, 2023 at 17:54

Oily coffee beans can be annoying, especially when it comes to your coffee grinder and your beloved home espresso machine or other coffee maker.

That gunk ain’t no fun to clean up!

(but it is easy).

This article is about oily coffee beans and how to dry oily coffee beans, and other questions related to the subject, such as why are coffee beans oily? and many more.

Keep reading to find out all you need to know about oily coffee beans and how to dry them.

Why Are Coffee Beans Oily?

Starting at the very beginning — why exactly are coffee beans oily?

Your oily coffee beans become oily as a result of the lipids that rise to the surface of the roasted coffee beans from the inside. It is a result of the roasting process. Long roasting times at a high temperature, like dark roasts, Italian roasts and French roasts, bring the oil from the inside to the outside more readily than other dark roasts.

Oily beans can be a result of the oxidization process on beans of any roast level. The more they are exposed to oxygen the more their surface will become oily.

If your favorite light roast or lighter roasts of coffee turning a little oily you are probably hoping there is a way of still getting the best out of them and salvaging them.

Why Are Coffee Beans Oily
Why Are Coffee Beans Oily?

Read: Espresso powder Vs Ground espresso

Can You Dry Oily Coffee Beans?

So, let’s now talk about getting your oily coffee beans dry and if there is something that you can do anything to get rid of the coffee oils and the surface oil on your beans.

One thing you should not do, that you should never do is try to wash the oily sheen from the surface you will just end up with a watery flavor free Cuppa Joe.

So Can You Dry The Oily Surface On Your Beans?

Unfortunately, the answer is no.

The biggest problem, if you want to call it a problem, it is more of an issue than a problem, is the oily beans causing damage to your coffee making equipment like your coffee grinder or semi-automatic or super-automatic coffee machines including your home espresso machine, Nespresso machine or any machine you may have to make coffee with.

The biggest inconvenience is obviously with all in one machines as these are more difficult to take apart and clean.

Generally speaking, it is not at all an issue if you are brewing using non-oily coffee beans like light roasts and medium roast. It only becomes an issue if and when you start brewing with dark roast coffee beans.

The result is the oil clogs your grinder, and you end up with an oily layer of gunk in the pipes and tubing of your coffee machine. Your coffee maker starts to make coffee that is off tasting, has a poor flow rate and, in the worst of cases can make you sick due to the build up of mold.

This does not mean that you should avoid beans that are oily or have a high level of greasiness and a lot of oil.

It does not even mean that you should try to dry or remove the coat of oil from your beans. It only means you need to schedule in a regular maintenance program and give your machine a good clean to prevent the build up of oil and give it a good rinse out after every use by running a hot water cycle through your automatic coffee machines.

As far as grinders are concerned, you should look for and use a ceramic conical burr grinder.

If it is a concern to use oily beans, you can use a different brewing method and use a French press to brew with oilier coffee beans.

If you have concerns about coffee beans that are oily due to exposure to oxygen, you can blend them with other beans or recycle – down cycle them to be used as an espresso powder for cooking purposes, such as a coffee rub for steaks.

Can You Dry Oily Coffee Beans
Dark Roasted Beans Are Oily

Read: Espresso Vs Coffee taste

How To Dry Oily Coffee Beans

As stated above, there is no way for you to dry your oily coffee beans. With the passage of time, the oils in coffee beans will be released.

Coffee, we should never forget, is a food product and, like all food products, will go off with time.

Here are a couple of methods that you can try out.

Method One: The Paper Sandwich

This is a very easy way to dry the oily surface layer from oily beans. Simply you are going to transfer the oil from them to materials that are absorbent.

Good quality kitchen paper is perfect for this. It is a method that will take you longer and more effort.

Step 1: Cut The Air Supply

Preventing air and oxygen from accessing your beans can be achieved with good storage. Religiously, I keep my beans in a proper container designed with a one way valve to permit carbon dioxide to escape and inhibit air from entering.

Also, store the canister in a cool dark place.

Step 2: Make A Sandwich

Place your coffee beans on top of two or three layers of paper towels that are laid on a flat surface and cover them with an equal number of paper towels on top, making a paper towel and oily coffee bean sandwich.

Step 3: Gently Pat Your Beans

Gently pat your coffee beans with your hands. Your paper towel will absorb the oil from the coffee. Change your paper towel and repeat the process as many times as required until they are dry.

Method Two: Getting Salty!

This method, similar to the above method, uses an absorbent material, this time salt.

Step 1: Cut The Air To Your Coffee Beans

As the first method above, move your beans and store them in an airtight container. It is really in your best interest to invest in a proper coffee canister for the storage of your coffee beans. Good storage can help them to last longer, keep them fresher for longer.

Step 2: Immerse Your Coffee Beans

Since you can’t really dry the oils from your coffee beans at all that much you can transfer the oil to another material. In this case, I suggest you use salt. Any salt is fine or corn starch to remove the oil on beans.

I prefer salt as it is surprisingly not an issue for coffee and is used in the rather famous and tasty Vietnamese salt coffee which brightens up old coffee beans.

  • Using an airtight container, cover the base in a layer of salt. Ensure the layer is about 1 inch deep.
  • Put an even layer of coffee beans on your salt base layer. Don’t have too many coffee beans in the one place. Now cover your beans with salt until they are completely covered.

Step 3: Transferring The Oil

  • Leave the beans in your salt container for an hour or two to absorb the oil. When your salt becomes greasy, the salt has done its job.
  • Check the beans after removing the salt from a few of the beans. If they are still greasy, you will need to repeat the process.

Step 4: Cleaning Up Your Salty Coffee Beans

  • When the oil has been absorbed by the salt, and your coffee beans are now dry. Remove them from the container with the salt.
  • Simply put them in a bowl or plate and give them a good toss. If there is still a bit of salt sticking to your beans, you can put them in a sieve and give them a very good shake. The salt should easily drop off the beans.

Are Oily Coffee Beans Bad For Coffee Machines?

Not really but they can be if you don’t maintain your coffee machine well.

If you have a good preventative maintenance schedule of cleaning it properly with distilled white vinegar once per week or every other week, you will prevent your oily coffee beans from clogging up your coffee maker.

Better still, just run a cycle of hot water after you use your machine by pouring boiling water into the water reservoir and running a few cycles with no coffee and just water to rinse it out and help to stop the oil from building up.

Give your grinder a good brush and air out to stop coffee particles from building up. The oils, you will need to give it a clean every week or every other week.

Are Oily Coffee Beans Bad For Coffee Machines
Oily Beans Are Not Too Bad For Your Coffee Machine

How To Avoid Oily Coffee Beans

I don’t particularly advise avoiding oily coffee beans at all, or any coffee beans. Coffee is love, the beans that you enjoy most.

If you must avoid oily beans, simply stop using the dark roasts and go for medium roast coffee or light roast coffee beans.

To avoid or prevent oil from building up simply store them perfectly which is in an airtight coffee canister with a one way valve and store that canister in your fridge or freezer.

There are no better conditions in which to store them.

Are Oily Coffee Beans Good Or Bad?

A coffee bean that is oily from the roasting process is a good sign. It is a sign of freshness for dark roasted beans that have been roasted within the past few days.

The older these beans get, the drier they become. Storing them well will help you to keep them for longer.

Oil caused by poor storage and contact with oxygen and the oxidization process is a bad sign. It is a sign that your beans are going off. This is what usually occurs with medium and light roasts as they get older and go off.

Best Coffee Grinder For Oily Beans?

The best coffee grinder for oily beans, and for any other type of coffee beans, is undoubtedly a conical ceramic burr grinder. They are better over all due to less heat dissipation, are easier to clean and help you to get a better tasting coffee.

As insane and crazy as that sounds, yes, even your grinder can contribute to the overall taste of your cup of coffee.

Less heat dissipation and keeping it clean and free from old stuck coffee grounds is why.

A manual hand coffee grinder is also a good choice for the same reasons.

Frequently Asked Questions About – How To Dry Oily Coffee Beans

What To Do If Coffee Beans Are Too Oily?

If your coffee beans are too oily and of a very dark roast, an Italian roast or French roast consider a larger and more coarse grind size regardless of your brewing method. The larger grind size will help to extract the chocolatey flavors people enjoy about deep dark roasted coffee. You’ll avoid the stronger bitter notes.

Is It OK If Coffee Beans Are Oily?

Yes, it is absolutely normal for fresh dark roasted coffee beans like a French or Italian roast to have a glossy shine from the oil. This is because of the roasting level brings out more of the coffee oils to the surface.

Dark roasted coffee beans are oily because of the roasting process. Fresh oily coffee beans are needed for espresso shots. Without the presence you will not get the rich crema on top.

Will Oily Coffee Beans Clog Grinder?

Yes, unfortunately oily coffee beans will clog your grinder which can be problematic when it comes to cleaning it. The rule of thumb, which works very well for many coffee lovers, is to clean the grinder after every use with a soft wet sponge to help prevent oil for building up.

Why Do Some Coffee Beans Look Oily And Others Dry?

The reason why some coffee beans look dry and other look oily is due to them being of a different roast level. Medium roasts and light roasts have not yet started to release the oils from the beans. Dark roasted coffee beans have more oil on their surface due to more of the oils making their way from the interior to the exterior surface.

Yes, vinegar and baking soda are both great for removing coffee oils from your coffee brewing equipment, your grinder and all your coffee gear.

Both are cheap and readily available and must be dissolved with water.

The water droplet technique is a personal thing. Some coffee lovers love it, while some people prefer to use the stick technique to discharge static. There are other techniques for removing static build up.

Experiment and find which suits you best.

Frappé-Ing It All Up – How To Dry Oily Coffee Beans

If you keep your light and medium roasted beans stored properly in the best possible way, you will not need to worry so much about learning how to dry them.

With your dark roasted beans, there is not much you can do as they are oily naturally due to the roasting process.

If it needs to be, and you need to dry your oily beans before they go off, use the salt technique, it’s easier, effortless and gets the job done.

By reading this far you now know how to dry oily coffee beans.

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Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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