Burnt Coffee: Is it Bad for You and How Can You Fix It?

Are you wondering if burnt coffee is bad for you? Then you need to know that burnt coffee may harm not only your health but also the environment.

Not only does burnt coffee has a bitter taste, but it also does more harm than good to your health. If you do happen to have some burnt beans on hand, don’t worry; there’s still some hope. You can always roast them again and get a better flavor instead.

Let’s assume that since it has an impact on us, burnt coffee is indeed unhealthy.

Why is Burnt Coffee Bad?

Burnt coffee has the chemical acrylamide in it. It is a poisonous chemical that can cause serious health hazards to people if they drink burnt coffee.

Not only is acrylamide found in burnt coffee, but it is also found in some other foods, like potato chips and French fries.

Acrylamide can cause cancer if people drink burnt coffee on a regular basis over the course of several years or decades. It has been proven that this chemical is present in burnt coffee at high levels due to the method by which it is processed.

Studies have shown that drinking burnt coffee for a long period of time will dramatically increase your chances of developing cancer after long-term exposure to carcinogens.

This chemical has been shown to have adverse effects on your health. It can affect the nervous system when consumed in large quantities.

The Effect of Roasting Coffee on the Acrylamide Amount:

Studies have shown that a small amount of an acrylamide compound is present in roasted coffee beans. If a person keeps using the roasted beans, then it can start to cause some real issues or may turn into cancer.

Acrylamide is a side product of roasting coffee beans, so acrylamide levels depend highly on the roast level.

Less roasting results in lighter-colored coffee beans that have more acrylamide as compared to the dark-colored coffee beans that are roasted a bit longer. It does not mean you should start drinking over-roasted coffee; it is too bitter to drink. So, make sure your coffee is roasted correctly.

How Do You Burn Coffee?

There are three most common ways to burn a coffee. Here they are;

Stale Beans:

Raw coffee beans last longer than roasted ones. Once the beans are roasted, they start decomposing after coming into contact with oxygen. It results in stale coffee, which has a burnt taste. They can also decompose because of heat and moisture.

In the same manner, the coffee grounds can stale more quickly as compared to the coffee beans. It is because the area of exposure of coffee grounds to oxygen or moisture is greater as compared to the surface area of the beans.

To avoid this problem, don’t grind the beans in advance. In order to avoid stale beans, buy small packs. In this way, you will be getting new ones after some time and won’t be worried about them getting stale.

Once you have opened the pack, don’t leave it carelessly to decompose. Instead, put it in an airtight jar to inhibit its contact with moisture and oxygen.

Coffee Pot Left on Heat for a Longer Period:

When you leave your coffee maker on heat all day long, the water will evaporate, but the caffeine cannot. Caffeine keeps on warming up and starts burning. Not only will you burn coffee in this way, but you can also burn the coffee maker or its wiring. Sounds like a hazard, right?

This is the reason that people who enjoy having a warm cup of coffee all day long often complain of burnt coffee at the end of the day. The worst thing is that they don’t clean their burnt maker regularly, which can also make the coffee taste burnt.

Over-Roasted Coffee Beans:

Anything that has been through the heating process longer than it needs to will taste burnt. The same goes for coffee beans. They are already roasted at high temperatures; leaving them there for a longer time will surely give your coffee a burnt taste, even if you have ground and brewed the beans carefully.

To avoid this problem and to bless your taste buds, start by buying raw coffee beans and roasting them by yourself. Not only do freshly roasted beans taste good, but they are also healthy.

How Do You Know if Coffee is Burnt?

There are several ways to know if your coffee is burnt or not. One way you can tell is by looking at the color of it. If it has a very dark brown or black appearance, then there’s no doubt that it’s burnt and should be thrown out immediately.

Another thing you could do is just take a sip of your coffee grounds before using them in an espresso machine. If they taste burnt, then toss them away because they will ruin the flavor of your morning cup of coffee.

Do check the expiry date. If it has passed its shelf life, throw the coffee away.

What Does “Burnt Coffee” Taste Like?

If your coffee tastes slightly bitter with harsh tones, then this means the coffee has been burnt. This means it may include acrylamide, which has been proven to cause cancer over time when consumed regularly.

If your burnt coffee tastes like burnt toast or burnt potatoes, then it’s time to throw away your coffee and get a new batch. Because you know that the beans have been burnt fully and taste absolutely terrible.

Tips to Avoid Burning Coffee:

Here are some tips to avoid burnt coffee;

  • Don’t leave your coffee in the heat for too long. If you think it’s burnt, throw it away, make a new batch, or get some more beans. Try to brew coffee fresh every time if possible.
  • Always make sure you buy high-quality beans from a well-known coffee industry. Do check out the expiry date before buying and keep track of it if you have bought a large pack that’s going to last longer.
  • Don’t grind beans too far before using them, because this can also cause burnt-tasting coffee.
  • Don’t forget to clean your coffee machine regularly so burnt-old flavors don’t accumulate in it over time.

Coffee Roast Buying Tip:

When buying coffee, look for ones that have light brown color to them—oftentimes, they are called “medium roast.” Avoid buying “light roast” coffee because of its high acrylamide content. There is a misconception that “dark roast” coffee is burnt. No, it’s not.

Actually, it’s better for your health as it contains less acrylamide. Some coffee drinkers argue that coffee roasting increases the amount of caffeine, but that’s just an argument and not a fact. Both the coffee beans, dark and light roasted, have almost the same amount of caffeine in them.

Instant Coffee vs Ground Coffee

You are less likely to burn your instant coffee as it comes in the form of a powder that is made from roasted and ground beans that have been through the brewing process already. It is actually the brewing process in which you can burn your coffee grounds, resulting in a bitter taste.

Though some people prefer instant coffee in their hectic lives because it’s easy to make and has less caffeine, real coffee lovers know that freshly brewed coffee tastes much better.

Moreover, instant coffee has more acrylamide. Don’t just opt for it because it has fewer chances of getting burnt; it’s going to cause the same harm as burnt coffee. So, make your decisions wisely.

Which Type of Coffee Contains Acrylamide?

Acrylamide can be found in all types of burnt coffee, but it is not present in non-burnt coffee.

Some people have also reported that they felt ill after drinking burnt coffee due to its high level of caffeine content. However, other chemicals associated with carcinogens produce negative effects on health conditions like heart problems, etc.

This is why burnt coffee can be very dangerous for your health and should only be consumed in moderation.

Which Type of Coffee Does Not Contain Acrylamide?

Coffee that has been exposed to the right temperatures during the roasting process contains less acrylamide than burnt coffee, which means it will have fewer negative effects on your body.

Because of the way it is processed, black tea also contains high levels of this chemical, but green tea does not contain any at all due to how it is manufactured. Instead, green tea works as an antioxidant and can protect you from diseases like cancer.

Green teas are a great alternative if you want to avoid drinking burnt coffee or black tea, which may cause long-term health problems.


Burnt coffee is not good for your health because it contains high levels of acrylamide. It will have a burnt taste to it and can cause some people to become ill after being consumed in large quantities over time. Fortunately, you can avoid these diseases by knowing the reasons why you burn the coffee and finding solutions for them.

Mian Mohsin (MohsinZox)

About Author:

I'm Mian Mohsin the founder of the DeesCoffee. Here, I share step-by-step guides and explore different coffee products from my personal experience. Learn more...

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