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Help! My Coffee Beans Are Oily, Is This Bad or Not?

In the 4th wave of coffee trend, before deciding on the roast of a coffee variant or species, most micro-roasters undergo what we call coffee profiling. Coffee profiling is having a set of parameters that define how a coffee should be. It is defined by temperature and time. It is more on art than science and it takes years of training to become an expert roaster with the ability to read the beans and make decisions in a matter of seconds. So you are in good hands if you got an experienced and expert coffee roaster. 


During the roasting process, there are rapid chemical changes that take place brought by high temperatures. The roasting stage brings out the aroma and flavor locked when it was still green coffee beans (GCBs). Unlike GCBs, roasted beans smell like coffee and weigh less because of the moisture loss.


Many coffee roasters have a different roast profile name depending on their craft. You may hear of french roast, full city roast, city roast, espresso roast, blonde roast, and many but generally, we can categorize the roasts into light, medium, medium-dark and dark roast.


Light Roast

From the name itself, light roasts are light brown, high in acidity, and generally preferred for milder coffee variants. There will be no oil on its surface (on the coffee beans) because they are roasted long enough for the oils to break through on the surface.


Medium Roast

Medium roasts are medium brown in color and have a stronger flavor, slightly sweeter and balanced flavor, aroma, and acidity compared to light roasts. It has also a non-oily coffee beans surface.


Medium-Dark Roast

Medium-dark roasts are rich, dark in color, and have some oil on the surface. In this type of roast, flavor and aroma emerged acidity disappears.


Dark Roast

This type of roast produces shiny black beans with an oily surface and developed bitterness. The darker the roast, the less acidity coffee has. Dark roast coffee beans took a longer time to roast, thus the longer the beans are roasted, the oilier they are. 


Oil in the coffee beans is important for brewing results. Without the oil, espresso would have no crema, and lots of aromas and flavors of the darker roast beans come from the oil. So it is just normal.


Final Thought

All coffee beans contain oil which is released in the roasting process. Roast level, like the taste notes, is subjective and most of the time depends on the preference of the roaster but take note that the next time you see shiny beans and catches your attention, remember that more oil comes to the beans’ surface during longer roasting time. Oily beans are not necessarily bad beans.


At Good Beans, we have our coffee profiling before deciding on the roast level. We have blonde roasts, medium roasts, medium-dark roasts, and dark roasts coffee beans. Check us out and our locally produced coffee sourced directly from our partner farmers.



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