Can You Bring Coffee Beans On A Plane?

Last Updated on December 18, 2020

If you love coffee and drink good coffee regularly you might find yourself wondering ‘can you bring coffee beans on a plane?’ And if so, ‘how much coffee can be carried through airport security.

Don’t worry. This post has all the information you need about packing coffee in your carry on luggage.

You won’t need to give up your coffee fix just because you are traveling on a plane.

TSA Coffee Rules

Here is a screengrab of the relevant coffee regulations from the TSA website:

Yes, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says you can bring coffee beans on a plane in your carry-on luggage.

You can also bring ground coffee in hand luggage too but ground coffee is subject to the TSA powders rule.

This just means if you are bringing powdered or ground coffee in quantities over 12 oz you should take it out your carry on luggage and place it in a bin for inspection when you go through the airport security checkpoint.

The same goes for jars of instant coffee. If they are over 12 oz they might need to be inspected so remove them from your bag and allow for inspection.

Roasted coffee beans are not a powder and you shouldn’t need to remove them from your carry-on baggage for additional screening.

But you should be aware that beans, ground, or instant coffee could be subject to additional screening. The TSA officer may want to inspect your coffee and may need to open the coffee to do so. They are unlikely to open sealed bags or jars of coffee in original retail packaging.

The final decision of whether to allow coffee through security in your carry-on will be taken by the TSA officer.

Customs and Border Protection Coffee Rules

The TSA is only responsible for the security of flights.

They let you bring coffee on to planes because you can’t hijack the plane using roasted coffee beans.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t any other rules you need to be aware of.

If you are bringing coffee across international borders you might need to declare your coffee when you land. Check the rules of the country that you are flying into if you want to be sure.

You can bring roasted or unroasted coffee beans into the US on international flights. But as with all foods you’ll need to declare the coffee when you land. Failure to do so could result in a nasty fine.

Bringing Coffee Grinders, Makers, & Machines In Carry-On Luggage

There are no restrictions in packing coffee machines or coffee makers in your carry on luggage. You can even pack those single-serve coffee pods too. Your problem will be the size of the coffee machine but it’s not impossible.

Burr mill coffee grinders are allowed in carry-on luggage so long as they don’t have blades. Coffee grinders with blades need to be packed in checked luggage.

A while back I wrote a post about the best travel coffee maker. My favorite carry-on coffee maker is the Aeropress. You might want to check out that post if you are looking for a portable method for brewing up.

Here are the TSA talkin’ coffee makers on Twitter:

Taking Liquid Coffee On To A Plane

You can take liquid coffee through airport security if it’s packed inside your liquids bag.

That would mean a container of under 3.4 oz (100 ml) and packing it inside your quart-sized bag.

Of course, it would be cold but it might be preferable to drinking the coffee that is made on the airplane using the suspect water supply.

Drinks that you buy after airport security can generally be taken on to the plane.

However, the gate agents will probably have something to say about you trying to board the plane with a steaming hot coffee in your hand.

Most airlines don’t allow you to carry on hot drinks for safety reasons but the TSA don’t have a problem with it.

You could potentially buy an iced coffee and carry it on to the plane or refill a sealed coffee cup after security screening that you can’t spill over other passengers while boarding.

Other Stuff That The TSA Says About Coffee On Twitter

Angi found out that she could take single-serve coffee pods (k cups) on the plane but that creamer would need to go in her liquids bag.

The Verdict

Taking coffee beans on a plane is no problem. You might attract a little extra attention because sometimes some people use coffee to try to hide the smell of other illegal substances.

Not only can you bring coffee beans you can bring coffee making equipment too. Just be careful about import rules if you are flying internationally. Most countries in the world won’t have an issue with you bringing in a small bag of coffee beans for personal use.

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