Here's What Would Happen If You Brewed Coffee With Unroasted Beans

Coffee is such a fascinating beverage. Aside from the fact that the hot drink does a great job of waking us up in the morning, it can also be made in a variety of ways. Terroir, processing methods, roasting times, temperature, and brewing methods all affect the flavor of your cup of joe. While we may quibble over whether we prefer a medium or dark roast, one thing we don't typically question is whether to roast. Roasting coffee beans, according to the National Coffee Association, unlocks the flavor that's inside a green coffee bean. 

The process of roasting causes chemical changes in the bean, and Lincoln and York explain why we roast coffee beans by saying, "In short, coffee beans are roasted so that they become coffee as we know it." As coffee beans roast, they become darker in color, caramelizing the flavors of the bean, according to Kopi Luwak Direct. They also lose moisture and become more brittle, ready for grinding and brewing into a deep, flavorful pick-me-up.

What does unroasted coffee taste like?

It is possible to brew a beverage from green, unroasted coffee beans, but it won't even vaguely resemble what you expect from a cup of coffee. Green coffee beans have grassy, vegetal flavors, according to Kopi Luwak Direct, which explains that while you can eat green coffee beans, you may not enjoy the flavor. Green coffee beans are harder and denser than roasted beans, which means they can be hard on your coffee grinder, explains Hayman Coffee.

Brewing coffee with green coffee beans can entail grinding the beans, or you can use whole beans, soaking them overnight, and then simmering them on the stovetop in water. But what will your green coffee taste like? Kopi Luwak Direct is pretty blunt, saying, "you would most likely end up with a bitter, unpleasant-tasting beverage." Hayman Coffee explains the process of brewing with green coffee beans, but, interestingly, doesn't describe the flavor of the resulting beverage. 

Coffee With Conscience notes that if you love roasted coffee, you may be less-than-enchanted with green coffee, describing it as more herbal and milder in taste, though fully as caffeinated as roasted coffee. So, yes, you can brew coffee from green coffee beans. They're safe to consume, though you may not love the flavor. The delicious taste we associate with coffee comes primarily from the roasting process, and green coffee beans are — in a sense — unrealized potential.