Oily Coffee Beans – Is this a good thing?
Some people love their oily beans, but some despise those. There are different opinions on oily coffee beans; however, most of them can’t state the reasons for their dislike.
There have been many stereotypes and negatives attached to oily beans; some think dark roasts and oily beans are the same. Some baristas and coffee lovers have a downward look on shiny coffee beans. But the truth is, there’s so much more to love these beans if only people would read more about them.
Oily beans have both downsides and upsides; you just have to learn about them. This blog will provide you with information and explanations as to why the oil in the coffee is one of the qualities that completes your best cup of coffee.
Oily Coffee Beans – Explained
There is much discussion about this topic, and it is also not fully understood. There is nothing inherently wrong with oily beans. Some people blame oily coffee for poor brewing results, and some people even claim the oil is the reason that the coffee is stale.
However, all of these are fallacies. Oil plays an essential part for the brew to turn out great. In the process of roasting, oil is released from coffee beans. Darker roasts release significantly more oil. In the absence of oil, there would be no foam in espresso. In darker roast beans, oils are a big part of the aromas and flavours. Therefore, beans with oil are normal.
Why are some coffee beans shiny?
The roasting process allows coffee beans to extract gases and oils. Thus, the longer the roasting time is, the oilier the beans will be. Oily coffee beans are neither bad nor good; just a property of dark roasted coffee beans.
Please note that beans that are darkly roasted but not shiny may mean freshness or staleness.
Why are oils rarely seen if it’s normal?
Between three days and three weeks after roasting, the oils start to surface on the coffee bean. It is possible to have beans roasted two weeks ago and have no traces of oils, yet the oils are still there. Moreover, Dark roasted coffee products have a shorter shelf life than lighter roasts, which you should consume if oils are present immediately. Upon releasing the oils, the shelf life decreases very quickly because the oil starts evaporating the minute it surfaces.
A belief says that if your coffee beans have no oil, it’s either too young or too old.
The longer the roasting process is, the more properties burn off, namely: caffeine and sugar. Dark roasts contain a lower level of caffeine than light roasts, despite their more intense flavour. This is due to the reduced amount of sugar. Therefore, darker roast tastes less sweet and more bitter than lighter roasts. The darker the roast is, the stronger and bolder the flavour becomes.
Espresso coffees are traditionally made with darker roasts since it’s easier to extract both solubles and coffee oils with them. However, a very dark roast for espresso may not turn out good.
For a person with a sweet tooth, a lighter roast would suit you the best. A lighter roast is the exact opposite of a dark roast, for it has natural sweetness and sugars. They will taste brighter and milder.
Some coffee lovers do not prefer lighter roast because they find it dull and flavourless.
When is the presence of oil on a coffee bean good?
No one may believe it, but oil can actually be a sign of something good. Dry coffee beans mean they have been sitting in the storage for a long time. Therefore, an oily coffee bean means that it has been recently roasted.
Avoid dry, dark roast coffee beans! When it comes to coffee beans, the oily ones are the best. They tend to be darker because they lost little of their oils in the roasting process. To get that perfect cup of coffee every time, opt for oily beans.
Darker coffees are usually great to drink within a few days, while lighter coffees can be enjoyed more if they have some time to ferment. Buying a coffee roasted a week or two ago could be the best decision in your life.
Staleness usually begins around the two-year mark. So enjoy your coffee that is less than three months old.
Why is Coffee Traditionally Roasted Dark?
Coffee became more popular over time, resulting in greater demand for it. Therefore, companies came up with the solution to roast a cheap coffee for an extended time, covering the sour taste. The main reason revolves around practicality.
Further, dark roasts are more suitable for espresso extraction since brewing naturally releases darker, bolder, and oilier notes.
Therefore, roasters still sell cheap coffee in disguise as a dark roast. It would taste smokey, though.
Baristas Use ‘Good’ Coffee
The dark roast may mean affordable yet good coffee; baristas won’t give in. They prefer quality and well-sourced coffee.
Moreover, there may be instances where some beans a little darker enhances the flavours, especially those from South Americans such as Chile or Colombia. Speciality coffee shops roast up to medium-dark occasionally, but never darker.
What oily beans do to your espresso machine
Big coffee chains still serve dark greasy coffee beans due to their consumer’s high demand for coffee. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if people enjoy them a lot; however, there are reasons as to why coffee companies should stop selling oily beans in espresso machines.
Oily beans can damage espresso machines and grinders
Oil from darker roasts can damage your espresso machines. These oils from the beans can be left in the espresso machine and grinder, which can cause blockage or burrs. And would eventually stop working. You don’t want that since it may cause you more money in the future.
Home cafes should try staying away from using oily beans; big coffee chains don’t have a problem because they can pay for the maintenance and repair fees. But for starting home cafes, or small restaurants, paying for such costs would hurt the bank. The best option would be investing in industrial coffee machines since they can handle oil better.
Flavoured coffee has the same effect
Brewing flavoured coffee beans can also damage your beloved espresso. Though, you can opt to add flavoured syrup into your coffee after having it brewed. That way, you won’t be causing harm to your espresso machine, but you would get to enjoy your all-time favourite flavoured coffee.
What you should do
Here are some solutions and tips you can do to avoid harming your espresso machines. Of course, the most obvious is by using medium-dark and lighter coffee beans.
However, if you desire a darker roast, then regular cleaning of the machine can be a way to prevent it from becoming damaged. If neglected, prepare to buy a new appliance or grinder within six months.
It will be easier to separate the plastic part from the rest of the grinder to wash it with soapy water. If you can, use a dry kitchen towel to clean the machine’s features that use electricity, such as the burrs. Using a thin paintbrush is also an excellent way to start!
Words from a Barista
During my barista days, I scheduled my grinder and machine for a cleaning routine. I cleaned the machine every night. Whilst, grinder cleaning routine varies from coffee shops to coffee shops. However, I learned that cleaning it twice a week will get you the best results. Here’s to a no-oil problem!
Other Brewing Methods
Other brewing methods vary depending on the grinder that you use. There will be instances where the grinder deals well with oily coffee beans; unfortunately, some don’t.
Burrs, for example, are a problem. Burrs will begin to become sticky once coffee oils coat the surfaces. Therefore, the sticky surface would retain finer coffee particles and ensure the burrs had extended exposure to a rancid coffee residue. Cleaning the grinder more often would prevent this from happening.
Moreover, chute clogging is also an issue. Since some grinders are not suitable for oily coffee, clumping together and sticking in the chute would occur. Taping the grinder, shaking it, unclamping using a stick or modifying grinding machines can be some ways to remedy. However, there’s no real fix for this, and replacing your grinder with a more suitable one for oily coffee would be your best option.
To sum up
There is nothing wrong with oily coffee beans; they are just a sign of a well-roasted dark roast. If you enjoy the power of an extra dark roast, go for the oily beans, but take care with your espresso machine.
And everything would boil down to your preferences.