Can You Bring Coffee Beans on a Plane?

  • Author: John Parker
  • Last Updated: November 16, 2022

I love a cup of strong black coffee first thing in the morning to get my caffeine fix but I have never felt the need to actually take my own with me.

However, to some coffee lovers, taking their own favorite coffee on a trip is a must.

But can you take coffee beans on a plane?

The Quick Answer: Fortunately you can take your favorite coffee beans in your carry on bags with you when traveling and also in your checked luggage. But if flying internationally it can depend on the country you are visiting so you will need to check the local regulations.

The following information gives the full rules regarding taking coffee beans on a plane through airport security and internationally through customs.

Coffee beans on a plane

Can you bring coffee beans through airport security?

You should have no problems at all bringing coffee in any form, either as coffee beans, ground coffee, instant coffee, coffee bags or coffee pods, through the security checkpoint in your carry on baggage. Note: roasted coffee beans and unroasted coffee beans are treated the same.

However, instant and ground coffee could be treated as a powder so the restrictions that apply to powders that restrict you to carrying no more than 12 ozs might apply, depending on the discretion of the security agent you deal with at the security checkpoint. It would be advisable to leave the coffee in its original packaging, if possible.

If traveling from a US airport the Transportation Security Administration only mention taking liquid coffee through security on the TSA website where they state if you are carrying liquid coffee it will be subject to the TSA liquid rule and will have to go in a quart sized bag with your other liquids through the screening process, including passing through the x-ray machine.

Coffee (liquid)

Carry On Bags: Yes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)
Checked Bags: Yes

The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.

The following passenger used the #AskTSA service on Twitter about bringing coffee beans in carry on baggage:

Asktsa coffee beans

Read “How to pass through airport security quickly” for more airport security advice.

Can you bring coffee beans on a plane in checked luggage?

You can take as many coffee beans in checked baggage as you like on domestic flights and the same is true when it comes to bringing ground coffee, soluble coffee or coffee in some other form.

The only thing you need to consider is, if you are traveling internationally, that the country you will be entering allows you to take coffee beans or other types of coffee through customs and into the country.

See the section below about declaring coffee at customs.

Can you bring ground coffee on a plane?

Can you bring ground coffee on a plane?

If you intend to travel with ground coffee then, provided you don’t intend to take very large quantities, you should have no problems taking it through airport security and on a plane in your carry on.

Ground coffee will probably be treated as powder, which has particular airport security rules, so could be subject to the maximum 12 ozs rule. Any more than this should go in a checked bag.

This passenger asked the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) through Twitter if ground coffee (actually coffee grounds) was allowed in carry on:

AskTSA coffee grounds

Can you bring K-cups on a plane?

There are no restrictions, other than the size of your luggage, on the number of K-cups or other coffee pods that you can take in either carry on or checked bags.

Can you bring coffee on international flights?

Whether you are flying on domestic and international flights really makes little difference as to your ability to bring coffee beans or any form of coffee on a plane or not. What is more important is if you intend to take them into the country you are traveling to rather than just using them during the flight.

You can certainly bring specialist coffee on an international flight to make coffee on board on board the aircraft, provided the cabin crew will oblige with hot water.

If you want to take them into the country with you then you need to check that country’s regulations. See the next section.

This is a passenger enquiring with the TSA about bringing coffee beans on a plane into the US

Can you bring coffee on international flights

Do you have to declare coffee at Customs?

Do you have to declare coffee at Customs?

Having a few coffee beans or coffee pods in your carry on luggage may seem insignificant but you may have to declare it if traveling to some countries since it falls both within food and plant categories.

Even if you are allowed to bring it into a country you may still have to declare it on the customs form you will be given to complete by the cabin crew before you land. Failing to declare it could bring a fine so make sure you complete the customs declaration carefully.

As an example, Australia has some pretty strict rules regarding what can and can’t be brought into the country but surprisingly allows coffee even though it must be declared.

The Australian government website states:

​Coffee is permitted into Australia for personal use if it is in one of the following forms:

– roasted, ground or instant coffee (up to 10 kilograms)
– roasted coffee beans (up to 10 kilograms)
– green coffee beans (up to 5 kilograms).

The coffee must be in clean and new packaging and free from live insects and other contamination.

Kopi Luwak/Civet coffee, including whole beans, ground or for instant use, is allowed into Australia if:

– the beans, or the beans from which the product is made, have been roasted
– the product is commercially prepared and packaged
– the product is imported in an amount up to 1 kilogram
– the product is for the personal consumption of the person wishing to import it.

www.abf.gov.au https://bit.ly/33B6RdV

However, although it can be brought into the country IT MUST BE DECLARED on the customs form otherwise a penalty will be imposed and the coffee confiscated.

You should check the website of the relevant country you are traveling to in order to check their customs regulations.

How to travel with coffee beans on a plane

There are a few things you should consider doing when you pack coffee beans, coffee powder, coffee berries or even single serve coffee pods in your hand luggage.

  • Where possible, particularly if you are carrying a larger quantity of coffee in your carry on bag, try to keep it unopened in the original packaging.
  • Don’t carry powdered coffee in a plain resealable bag as it is likely to at least be pulled aside for further testing. Keep it in the original package.
  • It may well be that you can buy almost any type of coffee you may want at your destination so perhaps consider not taking it with you and buying it there instead.

Bringing coffee making equipment on a plane

Incredible some people do actually ask about coffee grinders and coffee makers so I thought I would mention it.

You can bring a coffee grinder, coffee maker and even a coffee machine on a plane if it will fit in your luggage.

Other articles

If you found this article on can you bring coffee beans on a plane useful then some of my other airport security articles may be of interest:

Can you bring tea bags on a plane

Can you bring snacks on a plane?

Can you bring food on a plane? A complete list