Why Are Starbucks Coffee Beans So Oily?


This post contains affiliate links and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking our links.

Why Are Starbucks Coffee Beans So Oily?

Coffee aficionados everywhere love Starbucks coffee and swear by its quality. However, some people have noticed that their coffee beans are very oily and can be off-putting to some coffee drinkers. So, why are Starbucks coffee beans so oily?

Starbucks coffee beans are very oily due to the length of time taken to roast the beans and the temperature at which they are roasted to make ‘dark roasts.’ The extended storage time after roasting also contributes to the oiliness of light and medium beans. 

If you’ve ever wondered why some coffee beans seem oilier than others, you’re not alone. This is determined by several factors, including the type of bean, the roasting process, and how the beans are ground. Keep reading to learn more about why Starbucks coffee beans are so oily and how it affects the taste of your cup of java.

What Makes Coffee Beans Oily

Coffee beans are naturally oily, and the oil is what gives coffee its flavor. However, when you roast coffee beans, the oils can become rancid. This is why it’s important to store coffee beans in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. When the beans are exposed to air or heat, the oils begin to break down, and the flavor of the coffee gets affected.

When it comes to coffee, there are a lot of factors that go into why certain beans are more oily than others. It all depends on how the bean is roasted and the type of bean used.

For example, darker roasts are more oily because they are roasted for longer. This causes the beans to lose more moisture, making them more oily. 

Additionally, certain types of beans simply have more oil inside them. This includes Robusta beans which are commonly used in cheaper coffees. 

Let us look at the factors that make Starbucks coffee beans so oily in more detail.

Darker Roasted Beans Tend To Be More Oily Than Lighter Roasts

It is no secret that Starbucks coffee beans are incredibly oily. In fact, many people have speculated about why this is the case. While there could be multiple reasons for this, a few factors seem to stand out.

First of all, it is essential to note that the coffee beans used by Starbucks are of a higher quality than what is typically found in grocery stores. They are also roasted for a more extended period, which allows for more oil to be extracted from the bean. 

Additionally, Starbucks uses a dark roast style of coffee, leading to more oil being present in the final product.

So why does all of this matter? Well, the higher quality beans and longer roasting time result in a more flavorful cup of coffee. The oil from the beans also helps to create a richer mouthfeel and body. 

In a nutshell, Starbucks coffee beans are oily because the company roasts them longer than most other coffee chains. This allows the oils to seep into the beans, making them more flavorful.

If you dislike the taste of dark roast coffee beans, you can always opt for the Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend (available on Amazon). This is a nut-free medium roast espresso whole bean coffee blend with notes of hazelnuts and brown sugar, produced in Italy.

Starbucks Uses Only Arabica Coffee Beans

When it comes to coffee, Starbucks is known for using only the finest beans. And when it comes to those beans, the company goes for 100% arabica. That’s why their dark-roasted coffee beans are so oily.

One of the main reasons that Arabica beans are more oily than Robusta beans is because they have a higher oil content. While Arabica beans contain about 10-15% lipid content, Robusta has only 10%. That’s why Arabica beans are better at retaining their flavor and aroma and tend to be more expensive. 

The oiliness of the beans is what gives Starbucks coffee its signature flavor and aroma. It’s also what makes the coffee so rich and full-bodied. So if you’re looking for a cup of joe packed with flavor, you know where to go.

Here’s a list of some non-oily coffee beans that you can try out.

Stale Old Coffee Beans Are Often Oilier in Nature

Most people often think that the fresher the coffee beans the better. However, with Starbucks coffee beans, many people sometimes find that their light and medium roasted beans are as oily as their dark roast beans. Why does this happen?

It turns out that Starbucks coffee beans are often stale by the time they reach the customer. This is because Starbucks roasts its beans in bulk and then ships them to stores around the country. By the time the coffee beans reach the customer, they have often been sitting on a shelf for weeks or months.

Stale coffee beans are often oilier in nature because the oils have had time to break down and seep out of the bean. This is why many coffee lovers believe Starbucks coffee tastes “oily” and “heavy.” 

The oils in coffee beans also affect how long the coffee stays fresh. Have you ever noticed that ground coffee goes stale faster than whole beans? This is because the grinding process breaks open the bean’s outer shell, exposing more of the oil to oxygen which causes it to go rancid quicker. 

Whole beans last longer because they keep their oils protected inside the bean until they get exposed to water during brewing.

Unlike dark roasted beans, light and medium beans are never too oily and shiny in texture. So next time you’re looking to make a great cup of coffee, don’t be afraid to throw those old beans that have been sitting in your pantry for a while.

All these factors come into play when Starbucks is choosing which coffee beans to use and how to roast them. They take all the above factors into account to create the signature taste that so many people love. 

So next time you’re enjoying a cup of Starbucks coffee, remember that it tastes so good because of the care that goes into selecting and preparing the perfect coffee bean! 

How Do Oily Coffee Beans Affect the Taste of Coffee

It’s no secret that Starbucks has had so many problems with its pretty oily coffee beans. Take a look at the video below:

And while this might not sound like a good thing, it actually is. The oil from the beans helps create that rich, bold flavor that we all know and love.

But why does Starbucks coffee taste so good if the beans are oily? It all has to do with the way they’re roasted and preserved afterward. 

Too Dark, Too Richer

Coffee beans are naturally oily. The oil is what gives the bean its flavor and aroma. 

You see, when coffee beans are roasted, they start to release their oils. And the longer they roast, the more oil they release. That’s why dark roast coffees tend to be more flavorful than light roast coffees – they’ve been exposed to more heat for longer, releasing more oils.

The oiliness of a coffee bean affects the flavor and mouthfeel of the coffee. More oily beans will produce a coffee that is richer and has more body or crema

That’s why darker roasted coffee beans are best suited for espresso shots – although too many oily beans can clog your grinder in the long run.

However, the oils can also make the coffee somewhat bitter if not extracted properly. As a result, it’s important to use a good quality coffee maker when brewing Starbucks coffee at home.

I recommend the Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine (available on Amazon). The built-in AquaClean system in the device means you can go up to 5,000 cups without descaling.

Too Old, Too Unpleasant

The oils in coffee beans can also go rancid over time. This is why it’s important to buy fresh coffee beans and store them properly as coffee absorbs the flavor of whatever is around it. 

That said, a good coffee pot will only improve with age. That’s why you’ll notice that your coffee tastes better when you use a good-quality pot. 

So what’s the best way to store coffee beans? 

Proper storage means keeping them in an airtight container, in a dark, cool place. If you buy whole beans, grind what you need for each cup of coffee and then store the remaining beans in a container in the fridge or freezer. 

I recommend using the airtight Veken Coffee Canister (available on Amazon) that sports a date tracker thus you will know when your coffee was roasted. It also comes with a scoop for easy measuring.

If you don’t know which is the right coffee bean to buy, watch this guide:

If you use Starbucks coffee beans and want to know how long they last and how to store them, click on the link to read my guide. [How Long Do Starbucks Coffee Beans Typically Last?]


Java enthusiasts know Starbucks coffee beans are some of the best in the business. But what many don’t know is why they’re so oily. It all depends on the roasting process and the type of bean used. 

Starbucks uses dark roast Arabica coffee, which brings out more of the natural oils in the beans. This gives the coffee a richer flavor and aroma.

The downside to this is that the coffee can sometimes taste burnt or bitter.

Others believe the oiliness has to do with the long gap between the roasting and actual usage time.