Does Coffee Really Contain Roaches?

Does-Coffee-Really-Contain-RoachesIf coffee is what keeps you going every day, there is something you need to know. Your favorite coffee beans contain roach fragments, no matter how expensive they are.

Cockroaches are not mixed specifically during coffee production. Instead, these bugs are natural pests of most coffee plants, so they become a part of coffee production. You won’t find roaches as a whole in coffee because they are present in small bits.

But before you plan to cut coffee from your life, know that cockroaches and insects are a part of different processed and naturally-grown foods. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for even the heavy machinery to remove these tiny bugs lingering on the food items.

So is consuming coffee with roaches a health hazard? Let’s find out.

Are There Cockroaches in Coffee?

Coffee, especially grounded, can contain cockroach bits and pieces. But, as terrible as it sounds, you shouldn’t worry about your health as the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) allows the consumption of insects in natural foods.

A study found that insects, including cockroaches, infest 4 to 10% of green coffee beans. Removing these pests is almost impossible, so they’re roasted and ground with coffee beans.

A pest control company, Terro, also found that a human takes around 136,000 insect fragments through coffee every year.

If you’re worried that these nasty bugs can cause health hazards after consumption, you don’t actually have to. That’s because roaches are cleaned alongside the coffee beans during production.

So don’t expect to see whole roaches roaming in your coffee jar. Their fragments would be so small that you won’t even see them.

What Does the FDA Say About Roaches in Coffee?

The FDA allows roaches to be in the coffee in a specific percentage. The institution labels the presence of cockroaches in coffee as “unavoidable defects in food.” So it officially allows coffee to have roaches as natural contaminants.

That’s mainly because removing bugs and insects from natural products is almost impossible. But if the quantity of roaches is too high, the FDA will discard the coffee as “unfit for human consumption.”

So you’ll only have traces of roaches in your coffee. This quantity doesn’t threaten human health, so you’re not going to get sick after drinking roach-containing coffee.

How Do Roaches and Coffee Mix?

Coffee manufacturers don’t mix roaches into coffee knowingly. These pests are naturally present around the coffee plants, and they love to eat freshly-picked coffee cherries. So, they become a part of the coffee manufacturing process.

Cockroaches linger on the coffee cherries when they are dried and transformed into beans.

Many cherries are harvested at a time, so it’s practically impossible to remove the tiny roaches from them before processing. Unfortunately, farmers in many areas don’t have the right tools and machinery to separate pests from the crops.

Cockroaches stick with coffee beans during every stage of the process, including:

  • Harvesting the coffee cherries
  • Processing the cherries
  • Beans drying and milling
  • Exporting beans
  • Roasting the beans
  • Grinding the beans

Of course, cockroaches die in the process and are present only in traces in your coffee.

Which Coffee Contains Cockroaches?

Since roaches are almost impossible to eliminate, they are present in every type of coffee. Most coffee companies go beyond their way to clean the coffee beans as much as possible, but these bugs are still there.

Here are some types of coffee containing cockroaches:

Whole Bean Coffee

Whole bean coffee has a fresh and rich flavor since the buyer grinds the beans fresh when making the drink. Since the beans are not ground in the process, they don’t contain cockroaches. That’s because these beans are roasted separately from ground coffee.

You can clean the coffee beans before grinding them. However, it’s impossible to tell the difference between cockroach fragments and ground coffee.

Pre-Ground Coffee

Pre-ground coffee isn’t processed as finely as instant coffee. After the cleaning and roasting stages, this coffee is delivered to coffee shops.

Moreover, pre-ground coffee is made from huge coffee stockpiles vulnerable to pest infestations. So, it is more likely to contain cockroach fragments. But the amount is so tiny that you don’t have to worry about it.

Ground Coffee

It gives a fresh taste to your coffee. But, like other types of coffee, it isn’t free from roaches since you can’t tell whether your coffee contains bugs or not.

But the good thing is that ground coffee undergoes more processing than pre-ground coffee. So the roach fragments would be processed before reaching you.

Do Nescafe and Starbucks Contain Cockroaches?

Starbucks and Nescafe try to maintain the highest standards, but their coffee harvesting and manufacturing occur in the same places as ordinary brands. Unfortunately, this means cockroaches are always present near the plants and are processed alongside.

One notable thing to remember is that Starbucks also uses a reddish-pink dye, known as cochineal extract, made of ground insects. But fortunately, its use has been limited.

Simply put, insects are present in all types of coffee, regardless of the brand.

Do Cockroaches Trigger an Allergy?

Cockroaches can trigger human allergies after consumption. Although present in a very negligible amount in the coffee, these tiny bugs may cause specific allergies in humans.

If you feel unwell every time you drink a cup of coffee, it could be possible that the roaches are the real culprit. People with cockroach allergies will likely experience a few allergic reactions after consuming coffee.

Some commonly occurring allergies are:

  • Sudden headaches or migraines
  • Itchiness
  • Severe cramps
  • Asthma attacks
  • Hives

The only way to remove cockroaches from coffee is by spraying pesticides on the plants. However, that’s even more dangerous to your health than consuming coffee with roaches. Pesticides are a proven threat to the environment, plants, and wildlife.

If you’re allergic to roaches and experience any of the above symptoms, your only choice is to stop consuming coffee.

But that won’t be a practical option. You’re already consuming traces of roaches in chocolate, cheese, and various cereal. So there’s no way you can eliminate cockroaches from your diet.

Note: Any other ingredient in the coffee, such as milk or cream, can also cause an allergic reaction in humans.


Does Coffee Attract Roaches?

Coffee can attract some roach species, while it may repel others. It’s believed that burned coffee grounds repel cockroaches, and brewed coffee attracts these bugs. So there is no one answer to this question.

What Percentage of Bugs Are Allowed in Coffee?

The FDA allows 4 to 10% of coffee beans to have insects and molds, including cockroaches. This percentage is the safest limit for humans, and any quantity more than it can result in health hazards.

What Foods Have Bugs in Them?

All processed and natural foods have bugs, such as cheese, coffee, nuts, chocolate, spices, tea, and cereal products. Insects naturally live in the plants and crops, making it hard to separate them from the food. So they are processed alongside.

What Other Bugs Do Coffee Contain?

Coffee may contain borer beetles, leaf miner, mealybugs, antestiopsis, mollusks, and multiple microscopic parasites. All of these insects are present near the coffee plant naturally. However, out of all of them, the coffee borer beetles are more likely to occur because they can quickly burrow inside the cherries.


Coffee makes an energizing and delicious drink that keeps us active all day long. However, it contains multiple bugs and molds, including cockroaches, borer beetles, mollusks, and mealybugs.

Here is a summary of what we learned in this article:

  • All these insects are so small that it’s almost impossible to remove them from the food.
  • The FDA allows 4 to 10% of green coffee beans to have roaches.
  • Pre-ground and ground coffee is likely to have roaches, while whole beans are safe from these bugs.
  • Nescafe and Starbucks coffee also contain roach traces
  • Cockroaches can trigger an allergy in people already allergic to these pests. So if you experience asthma, hives, or irritation every time after consuming coffee, slight chances are that your coffee contains roaches. But it could be milk or cream causing the allergy.