Are Roaches In Ground Coffee? Well, Why Do You Ask?

Hi! My name is Arne. After a few years as a barista, I've dedicated myself to a mission: To bring more good coffee to the people. To this end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

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You just heard someone mention that there are roaches in ground coffee, didn’t you? And like most people that have heard this claim, you need to know if it’s true, right?

You just heard someone mention that there are roaches in ground coffee, didn’t you? And like most people that have heard this claim, you need to know if it’s true, right?

Well, as technologically advanced as we humans are, there are still some things that are simply impossible to control. So, the answer to your question is yes, it’s entirely possible for you to have ground up cockroaches in your coffee.

But wait!

Before you swear off your daily latte macchiato forever, let me explain what I mean and why those bug parts may not be as big a deal as they sound.

Overview: Are Roaches in Ground Coffee?

Roaches in coffee – it’s a horrifying thought, isn’t it? Believe me, It gets worse. There are lots of insects in coffee, as well as in the majority of foods you eat. In fact, it’s literally impossible to avoid what the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers “unavoidable defects” in raw food products.

I know the last thing you want to think about as you’re drinking pour over coffee is if there is insect filth swirling around in there. But, that opens up the door to a metric ton of other questions: how is that safe for human consumption? Do ground up cockroaches change the flavor? And, most importantly, do they add extra fiber?

A Dead Cockroach. Was It in Your Ground Coffee?

Originally, this revelation about cockroaches in coffee came from an interview with an entomologist about his work with dung beetles. He recounted a story about a colleague who would go out of his way to find a coffee shop that used freshly ground coffee beans. This was way before the Starbucks era, by the way.

When asked why, he replied that there were roaches in ground coffee and that he was allergic to them.

Don’t worry, you’ll never find big chunks of bugs floating in your morning beetlejuice … I mean, coffee. Any particles, if they are present at all, are so tiny and in such trace amounts that they won’t be noticeable.

Of course, that begs yet another question: how do cockroaches get in there in the first place?

How Do Roaches Get Into Ground Coffee?

A Fresh Green Coffee Bean.

While cockroaches aren’t huge fans of the coffee grounds you use at your house, they really like eating freshly processed green coffee. This is where they, and other insects, get into the coffee food chain. There’s no way to avoid bugs when you process raw products.

In fact, some pests like leaf miners and beetles are already in the coffee cherries as they are being harvested. Thus, it’s virtually impossible to get all the bugs out of the cherries.

A Handful of Fresh Coffee Cherries that May Have Roaches in it. Arne wonders.

So, the cherries are picked and processed as best as they can be and everything gets roasted. Even if a batch of Kenya coffee is insect infested, it’s still not a complete loss, as the roasting process will destroy a lot of the contaminants.

Nonetheless, there will inevitably be some bug and cockroach bits that make it through and get mixed up in the grinding process. So, how much actually lands in your cup of coffee? And exactly how many roach feet are we talking about, anyway?

Does the FDA Allow Roaches In Ground Coffee?

Arne Helps with Drying fresh Coffee Beans on a Farm in Brazil.

According to the FDA, green coffee beans are allowed to have a certain percentage of mold, dirt and bugs (including roaches) present in a harvest. The number it stipulates is ten percent or less in a batch of beans.

That translates to about four to six percent that may end up in foods we consume, after complete processing from farm to table.

That doesn’t mean everything has cockroaches in it. However, a certain amount of bug fragments are always possible. That said, it’s such a small percentage that there’s no real reason for concern.

Do Roaches in Ground Coffee Affect Our Health?

Freshly Roasted Insects at a Market in Thailand.

As I mentioned above, that four to six percent of bug bits does not introduce any health hazards to humans. It’s just super gross to think about.

It also seems to be a part of our culture to be more creeped out about consuming bugs. Indeed, some other cultures eat bugs as part of their regular diet. I don’t know about the cockroach, but critters like mealworms and crickets are actually a good source of fiber. Plus, chocolate covered ants are a tasty treat!

In addition to that, once upon a time companies like Starbucks used a natural food coloring called cochineal extract to color their drinks. This extract actually comes from a special type of bug, and produces a pink or red color.

The takeaway from this is that insects are not all bad when it comes to using them in food.

While the FDA says pests in food aren’t a health hazard, keep in mind that humans can still be allergic to cockroaches. If you get a really bad headache or itch all over after drinking a cup of joe, it may not be the coffee itself that’s causing the reaction. Feel free to shudder at that particular thought.

How Can I Avoid Roach Poop Coffee?

Roasting our own Coffeeness Coffee Beans in Frankfurt with backyard coffee.

In light of all this information, you must be wondering how to avoid brewing up a few unwanted pests in your Bodum French press or drip coffee maker. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if you can avoid it entirely without completely giving up coffee. Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can do to minimize the chances.

First of all, buy yourself whole coffee beans. It’s the pre ground kind that’s more likely to have issues with pesky cockroaches and the like. Whole beans that have been roasted are picked through a second time to make sure each bag of coffee is up to standards and looks good.

Then, get yourself a nice coffee grinder and grind your own beans fresh whenever you prepare coffee. It’s a win-win situation. You don’t have to worry about what’s in your coffee grinds, AND you get a better tasting coffee.

Lastly, buy your whole bean coffee from smaller, independent roasters. They have to adhere to the same criteria set forth by the FDA. Further, since their operations are smaller, they tend to pay more attention to detail when selecting and preparing their coffee beans.

Verdict: Are Roaches in Ground Coffee?

Are Roaches in Ground Coffee?

To sum it up, if you drink coffee, chances are at some point you may have enjoyed a cockroach fragment or two. There’s no need to panic, though; the FDA enforces guidelines as to what level of “unavoidable defects” is acceptable in our food supply. Some bug products are even beneficial, like the cochineal extract I mentioned above.

It’s important to note that insects such as cockroaches can be present in all kinds of processed food, not just coffee. Turns out it’s nearly impossible to have raw foods at the growing stage be totally free of pests.

However, there are ways to avoid the possibility of ingesting those creepy crawlies. You can buy whole beans and grind them yourself, and choose private roasters to make sure you’re getting quality coffee beans.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Are you ready to swear off your cup of joe forever, or switch to using whole bean coffee? I, for one, will still enjoy my favorite beetlejuice every morning. I look forward to your questions and comments!

Are Roaches in Ground Coffee? FAQ

Definitely! Places that mass produce pre ground coffee, if they have a roach problem, are going to have such issues whether coffee is packaged in pods or bags. That’s because while the packaging is different, the source is the same.

The FDA identifies several types of contaminants that can be found in pre ground coffee, including but not limited to: chemicals, molds, sticks, twigs, insects and insect parts, including cockroaches.

Cockroaches have been identified as allergen producing bugs, and affect people very much like dust mites. So the answer is yes, it’s possible that insect fragments in pre ground coffee, such as cockroaches, can trigger an allergy.

No, roach particles or other bugs and contaminants don’t affect the taste of your coffee. That’s because there’s such a tiny amount that actually reaches the final product, it’s hardly detectable at all.

As popular as Kopi Luwak is, I wouldn’t advise drinking a coffee that touts the wonders of roach poop. Let’s just say the sharks on Shark Tank probably wouldn’t be impressed by that product.

Actually, finding anything like bug bits or cast skins in your ground coffee is extremely unlikely. But, heaven forbid you actually find a cockroach leg in your ground coffee, contact the manufacturer immediately. I think it also goes without saying you probably want to make a cup of tea instead that day.

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