Does Coffee Have Roaches? Myth vs Reality

Written by Brandi Allred
Updated: June 3, 2022
© Nuphoya/
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As you sip your steaming cup of coffee, the last thing you want to picture is a cockroach crushed up in your coffee grounds. But, does coffee actually have roaches? 

Cockroaches can be found just about everywhere in the world, from your office to the neighborhood fast food restaurant to ships out at sea. Wherever humans live, roaches live—even if we can’t see them. They’re one of the oldest types of insect on the planet; they’ve been around since the early Carboniferous period, over 300 million years ago. Today, there are almost 5,000 distinct species of roach, and scientists are discovering more all the time.

Here, we’ll learn all about cockroaches, and what other bugs you might find in the foods you consume every day. Then, we’ll examine whether or not there really are roaches in your coffee, and if so, how they get there. We’ll go over whether household coffee attracts or repels cockroaches, and what methods you can use to keep these disease carrying pests out of your home, and your coffee.

Are There Bugs In Our Food?

Though it may not come as a surprise to some, there are bugs in our food. Specifically, cochineals—a tiny, red insect native to subtropical regions of the Americas—are added to many foods. They’re used to create carmine, or, red dye. Without them, many of the foods we know and love would be lacking in their red color. So, if you happen to see the words, ‘cochineal’, ‘carmine’, or ‘red dye’ on an ingredients list, it means you’re eating bug parts.

But what about the bugs we don’t purposely add into our foods, and what about roaches in coffee? Well, disgusting as it may be, the FDA allows for a certain small percentage of contaminants (bugs) in all the foods we eat. Given that many of our favorite foods (coffee, chocolate, grains) are mass produced all over the world, it should come as no surprise that a few insects get in here and there.

Background on Cockroaches

Hissing Cockroach As a Pet - Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
If your coffee is pre-ground and mass produced, it contains ground up roaches


Cockroaches are familiar to many, but each species has its own unique look. Some are reddish brown, others are so dark that they’re practically black. They all have six legs and two long antennae. Most species have wings, and a few can even use them to fly. They range in size from only ¼ inch long to over four inches long. 

Roaches eat waste; they’re opportunistic generalists, and will eat everything from animal and human waste to leftover food and rotting vegetation. It is this predilection for finding food in unlikely places that draws them to things like coffee and chocolate during the production stage.

Are There Cockroaches in Your Coffee?

Does Coffee Have Roaches


So does coffee have roaches? Unfortunately, yes some coffee does have roaches.

There’s no way to get around it: if you drink mass produced, pre-ground coffee, then you’re drinking ground up cockroaches right along with your coffee grounds. It may seem disgusting, but it’s not just coffee that has roaches. Many of our favorite foods—chocolate included—also include ground up bugs. 

You may be wondering: how can this be allowed? Well, the FDA (the organization in charge of food safety in the United States) understands that there is no way to keep cockroaches out of mass produced coffee. Therefore, they allow a small amount of contaminants (roach parts) into every batch of coffee made. As long as the parent company keeps their bug content below that level, they’re free and clear.

How Do Cockroaches Get Into Coffee?

When coffee beans are harvested, they’re left in vast piles, waiting for processing. These piles of beans are irresistible to bugs, cockroaches in particular. The roaches crawl into the piles in search of food, and are inevitably ground up right along with the coffee beans. Roaches infiltrate chocolate in the same way, by getting themselves ground up right along with the cacao. 

Does Coffee Deter Roaches?

You may also be wondering if you can use coffee grounds around your home to keep roaches out. The answer, unfortunately, is no. Though coffee has a strong smell, it’s not particularly repellent to cockroaches, so they won’t stay away from it. Placing coffee grounds around your house won’t keep the roaches away, but instead, it will make a mess.

What do Cockroaches Eat
Cockroaches get into piles of coffee beans and end up getting ground up along with the beans


How to Keep Cockroaches Out of Your Home

If coffee won’t keep roaches away, what will? Well, there are a few simple steps you can take to make your home or business unappetizing to this least favorite of pests.

First, you should make sure that all leftover food is promptly cleared or put away. Don’t leave snacks out overnight, and never leave plates with food on them out longer than you have to. 

Be sure that you’re vacuuming or sweeping eating and cooking areas frequently to take care of any crumbs. Also, keep your home clean and clutter free – roaches love places to hide, and will even eat cardboard boxes.

Why Are Roaches Attracted to Coffee?

If you’ve ever had a cockroach infestation, you may have noticed roaches on or near your coffee. Rest assured; it’s not the coffee that brings the roaches in, it’s the foods around the coffee. Cockroaches really don’t care about coffee, they want the foods frequently kept near coffee. 

What Are Cockroaches Attracted to?

Roaches may not be drawn to coffee, but they are attracted to food, garbage, and waste of all kinds. Cockroaches find their way into mounds of coffee beans in search of food, which may just include other roaches that have climbed into the coffee beans and died. Roaches are not opposed to eating other roaches. But, regardless of who’s eating who, the answer is clear; if you drink pre-ground, mass produced coffee, there’s no way to guarantee that you’re not drinking ground roaches right along with it. 

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Does Coffee Have Roaches
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About the Author

Brandi is a professional writer by day and a fiction writer by night. Her nonfiction work focuses on animals, nature, and conservation. She holds degrees in English and Anthropology, and spends her free time writing horror, scifi, and fantasy stories.

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