Why You Should Avoid Oily Coffee Beans With Super Automatic Espresso Machines

Krups super automatic coffee maker
Krups super automatic espresso and coffee machine

by Lars H

Super automatic espresso / coffee makers have a bean topper located on the top, designed for storing whichever beans you choose and feeding them right into the machine when you make a coffee or espresso drink.

Even though other bean types can be prepared conveniently, oily beans do not work well with super automatic coffee makers, as they often stick to its different parts, which eventually may spoil it.

Most super automatic machines warn you in the instructions to avoid oily beans. And if you’ve tried to use them anyway, you might have noticed that they get caught in the hopper and the grinder makes a high pitched whirring sound that indicates not enough beans made it into the grinding area. So with this in mind, you should be careful when choosing coffee beans, as many “espresso roasts” can be oily.  

So as much as you might like your favorite coffee that tends to have oily beans, you need to avoid them so they don’t clog up your automatic espresso machines over time.

Here’s more information on why oily beans are bad for your automatic espresso machines and why you should avoid them.

Why Are Coffee Beans Oily? 

Every coffee bean type has oil, even though this is more pronounced in some others. Experts have even argued that the oil level in coffee seeds determines freshness. So they assume that these beans should be regarded as fresher than their non-oily counterparts, which is untrue. The main reason why oil content differs in various seeds is the roasting process they have undergone and the factors involved in this process. 

So the following factors involved in the roasting process would determine how oily a bean would be. 

Roasting temperature

Due to the texture of each seed, this process often occurs in very high temperatures ranging between 370°F to 540°F. Once the coffee seed gets into the roaster, it starts with a pale green color, and upon subjecting it to intense heat, it begins browning. Each seed contains oils within them, and under such temperatures, the oils are released. 

Usually, most coffee brands carry out the process under different temperatures, and this difference influences how much oil their blends have. 


Timing is a significant cause of the oily nature of coffee beans, as it is responsible for the different roasts available. It takes about fourteen to twenty minutes to obtain a regular medium roasted coffee. It may, however, take longer or quicker depending on the quantity involved and the extent desired. 

The number of minutes spent roasting a bean would determine how dark and oily it would eventually become, as prolonged heat allows more oils to rise. Dark roasted beans are often more oily than others since they have spent a long time under intense heat. 

Storage period

Roasting alone does not cause beans to become oily, as even dry roasts can turn somewhat oily over time which is where storage periods come in. Naturally, these beans produce oil with time, so as long as they remain in storage, the more their oil content doubles until they eventually become dry and stale. So keeping your coffee beans in storage can increase how oily they are, thus making them not ideal for your espresso maker.

Why You Should Avoid Oily Coffee Beans For Your Espresso Machine

Oily beans often taste great, but are not ideal for use with super automatic coffee makers. So save them for a regular coffee machine or use them with your Aeropress or Chemex pour over instead. Detecting the oil volume in whole seeds can be tricky, so you might never realize how oily they are until brewing is underway, which in most cases ends badly. 

Therefore, you should avoid oily beans to prevent the following: 

Experiencing clogged grinders

The first thing that happens when you use oily coffee beans with your super automatic espresso machine is that the coffee grinders clog as the coffee grounds easily stick to each other. So instead of getting a smooth and delicate coffee ground, you will get tiny mounds that are stuck together. 

As a result, you may get a coffee not as great tasting as you imagined or one filled with plenty of bean particles. The oil produced from these seeds can also get stuck within your grinder, which would ultimately stop it from functioning as intended, and over time, it would lose its ability to grind your coffee beans even though it continues to spin. 

Sticky parts

The oils can get sticky quickly, which is ultimately harmful to your espresso machine. The first part affected will be the bean hopper and its wall. Once this part becomes sticky,  coffee grounds will no longer flow easily. 

Besides, the oily residue will eventually make your coffee taste burnt and make the machine’s parts pass through a rancid taste. The rancid oil undoubtedly leaves an unpleasant aftertaste–producing a nasty-tasting coffee.

So to avoid such happening, it is best to avoid oily beans.

General malfunctioning

All machines start malfunctioning once their parts become impaired, and the espresso coffee maker is no different. The leftover oils are stuck to the different components, and it is only a matter of time before they become clinging and clumpy to your espresso machine components. Once this continues, each part of the appliance will eventually stop functioning. The residual oil will clog your machine grinder and ruin it eventually. It’s often expensive to send them in for repair, where they have to be painstakingly taken apart and cleaned in a way that isn’t easy to do if you’re not a repair pro. Trying to do it yourself can easily permanently break your machine.

What Is The Ideal Roast For Espresso Makers 

A light roast will produce a poor espresso taste, devoid of the espresso’s regular rich feel, while dark roasts will damage your brewing equipment. This makes these roast variations not so ideal for espresso. You can choose either the medium roasts or medium-dark ones to enjoy a lovely tasting espresso made with an espresso machine. But if you’re making coffee (or Americano) most of the time with your super automatic, lighter roasts still work fine. They just don’t tend to taste as good as espresso shots.

A regular medium roast forms under temperatures between 410°F and 430°F with a slightly dark shade of brown. It is ideal for these coffee makers because they have very little oil on their surface so grinding them is an easy task since the oil does not stick. Coffee enthusiasts with a flair for mix experiments will find this roast excellent, especially for its balanced taste. 

Roasting of medium dark blends begins at 455°F and for a slightly extended period compared to the medium ones. They are ideal due to the premium body texture they develop during roasting. Espresso machines also function effectively with these seeds, thus producing a finely prepared beverage. 

Choosing The Best Bean Type For Espresso Makers

In choosing seeds for such appliances, you should go with those that you can repeatedly prepare without fault or any grinding issues. The first thing to consider with the safety of your appliance in mind is the type of roast involved. A medium or medium-dark roast is ideal for these coffee makers.

The next thing which should influence your choice is the look and texture of the beans. If the oily sheen is very visible, you should avoid using such coffee beans with your automatic espresso machine. In addition, when the seeds seem oily upon touch, that is an indication that it will affect how your machine operates. You’ll know it when you see it, so don’t use the beans if they look too oily!

Finally, the coffee blend also determines whether or not such blend can be used with these coffee makers as each undergoes different roasting conditions. Some come with a higher oil content than others. However, try to choose those with balanced oil levels as they offer excellent flavors and work well with these machines. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Would Drying Oily Beans Remove The Oil? 

Maybe your favorite coffee beans have ended up turning oily. You may have thought about drying them and wondered if it’s possible to dry oily coffee beans. Unfortunately, it’s impossible. Some people have been tempted to wash the beans thinking that should solve it. While oil may be taken away eventually when you wash it, it will produce a flavorless, disappointing espresso. 

The best solution to such problems is to mix up the oily coffee beans with dry, fresh, and lighter ones. That way, you would have solved the problem of excess oil clogging your espresso machine and causing it to become sluggish. This method will also balance out the taste that oily coffee beans give. Put them in your espresso machine in a considerable proportion such that the new, fresh, and dry ones are more than the oily ones. 

If you end up with oily beans, you can always grind them and use them in a regular coffee machine, or with an Aeropress or Chemex or other pourover coffee baker.

What Grinder Can I Use For Oily Beans? 

Most of the coffee beans roast in the market are oily beans. However, we have established that the superautomatic espresso machines should not be used with the oily coffee bean. So for those who love a dark roast coffee, the burr grinders would be a great alternative to the super automatic coffee machines if you still want to make coffee from oily beans. The burr machine grinders are simple appliances that can easily be separated, so cleaning is an easy task, regardless of how many stains the oily coffee bean leaves behind. 

Can My Coffee’s Taste Be Affected By Its Oily Nature?

Oily beans are formed from an extended period of coffee roasting, giving off a burnt feel like they have been excessively roasted. Asides from this flavor, brewing these seeds in an espresso machine will result in rancid oil sticking to several appliance components, which produces a terrible tasting coffee with an awful aftertaste. 

Can I Clean My Espresso Machine After Using Oily Beans?

Usually, this is not as easy as it sounds, but it depends on how long the appliance has been used to prepare such beans. You can only remove the beans from the hopper using a vacuum after a single use. However, you would require the services of a professional if your appliance had been used for these bean types repeatedly. 

In most cases, you would need to change specific components that would have been damaged by getting it professionally repaired, or get a new coffee maker. 

Final Words

Most times, oily beans are dark roasted coffee that has undergone intense heat temperatures for an extended period when compared to regular roasts. You should avoid using them with the automatic coffee machines, especially if you want your superautomatic espresso machine to last long. 

They may damage your appliance and ruin your coffee, which can be annoying. 

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