TSA Rules: Can You Bring Coffee Beans in Your Luggage?

Aug, 25, 2023

Coffee is one of the world’s greatest treasures. As a barista of many years and a self-professed coffee enthusiast, I understand the need for a good cup of coffee. As an avid traveler, I’ve learned the ins and outs of taking my favorite coffee beans with me anywhere I go. 

When traveling, many coffee lovers wonder if they can bring their coffee grounds or beans with the. Can you bring coffee in your checked luggage on an international flight?

This post will dive into everything you need to know about bringing coffee on a plane, including the differences between coffee grounds and coffee beans, domestic and international flights, and carry-on and checked baggage.

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Can You Bring Coffee on a Plane in the USA?

Yes, you can bring coffee on a plane in the USA. You just need to obey the TSA’s rules and regulations. As far as TSA is concerned, coffee lovers are more than welcome to bring their coffee beans and coffee grounds through airport security and onboard their plane.

There are some caveats to this. Firstly, the Transportation Security Administration only has jurisdiction in the United States. The story for coffee on international flights originating in other countries may be different.

Secondly, liquid coffee is not allowed to be brought through security. So no, you can’t stop at Starbucks before going through the security line!

Thirdly, it’s important to recognize that U.S. Customs and TSA are very different agencies. Just because you can bring something on a plane doesn’t mean you can keep it when you land. Thankfully, this doesn’t matter on domestic flights within the USA, where coffee is always allowed to be transited around.

Starbucks white disposable hot cup

Coffee in Checked Baggage in the United States

Coffee beans are permitted in checked baggage in the United States, both ground and whole. If your coffee beans are ground, it’s a good idea to pack them in your checked baggage.

TSA is occasionally pickier with powdery substances during the screening process, and ground coffee could fit that description. If TSA agents decide to enforce this powder rule on your coffee grounds, you’ll likely want to get rid of the coffee afterward anyway.

Coffee in Carry-on Baggage in the United States

Coffee beans are also permitted in carry-on luggage in the United States. People don’t always check bags, and you can rest assured that your unprepared java is allowed in your backpack or carry-on, too. There are no specific requirements for bringing coffee on a plane in your carry-on.

The only catch is that carry-on bags have to go through the airport security checkpoint. An X-ray machine could flag ground coffee as a suspicious powder-like substance, triggering additional screening. As mentioned above, this is a common reason to pack coffee grounds in checked baggage if you are checking a bag.

coffee grounds spilling out of brown starbucks coffee bean paper bag

Can You Bring Coffee on an International Flight?

You can bring coffee beans on international flights that originate in the United States. But this doesn’t mean that you can keep them when you land! Every different country has different Customs rules about coffee, you are always subject to the rules of your destination country.

You obey the security rules of the country you board in, and the customs regulations of the country you land in. It is your responsibility to determine whether your destination country has specific guidelines about importing coffee. 

The good news is that coffee is considered more of a commercial product than an agricultural product. As long as it is in its original packaging, you’re unlikely to need any increased scrutiny. Agricultural products such as fresh fruits are barred in many places, but pre-packaged coffee is usually fine.

Can You Bring Coffee in Checked Luggage on International Flights?

In the vast majority of cases, you can bring coffee beans in your checked luggage on an international flight. Some countries have stricter restrictions on pre-packaged food items, but most countries will let you bring virtually as much coffee as you want.

The TSA controls what is allowed in baggage on flights departing from the United States and Puerto Rico, and they have no restrictions about the quantities or types of coffee beans that you can bring.

I often bring coffee in checked luggage on international flights. I love to buy fresh espresso roasts in Italy and I often pick up local blends while in Mexico. I’ve never had an issue passing through U.S. Customs and Border Protection, nor in any other country I’ve traveled.

The Exception Is Whole Coffee Fruit

While you’re usually free to bring virtually unlimited quantities of roasted coffee beans, the exception is coffee cherries. Whole coffee cherries are an agricultural product, and they may need to be disclosed to Customs when you arrive at your destination. Different countries have different rules about whole coffee berries and other agricultural products, and it’s important to respect Customs laws during all international travel.

Is There a Limit to the Amount of Coffee You Can Fly With?

Technically, there is no volume or weight limit to how much ground coffee you can fly with in the USA. However, the final decision always rests in the hands of a TSA officer. TSA screenings are often a crapshoot, and while there are no official quantity limits, too much of anything in your hand luggage appears suspicious.

As a general rule, I’d bring no more than two or three pounds of coffee in my bag. There are very few reasons you’d ever need more than this for a trip, and great coffee can be found in almost any destination in the world if you run out.

Fresh single espresso shot being brewed at a coffee shop in Italy

Specific Rules About Other Coffee Appliances

Coffee beans aren’t the only coffee product you might want to take on a plane! From coffee machines to coffee grinders, there are other appliances you may be thinking about packing for your upcoming trip. Here’s everything to know.

Can You Bring a Coffee Grinder on a Plane?

You can bring a coffee grinder on a plane in the United States. But if it has blades, which most coffee grinders do, the blades must go in a checked bag. You may bring the base of the grinder through TSA security checkpoints if you want, but the blades must be removed and packed in check-in baggage. 

If your grinder doesn’t have removable blades, the whole thing needs to be packed in your checked baggage. TSA recommends wrapping the blades in a protective material to ensure the safety of any TSA agents inspecting your bag.

Can You Bring a Coffee Maker on a Plane?

You can bring a coffee maker on a plane, depending on what type of machine it is. Large espresso machines can be difficult to pack in your luggage! 

There are no TSA rules about packing a coffee machine. In fact, TSA actually recommends that you pack your coffee maker in your carry-on to keep it from getting damaged. While there are many different types of coffee makers, they’re all permitted as long as they do not have sharp edges or contain liquid.

Personally, I think that traveling with a large coffee machine is more hassle than it’s worth. There are two great coffee machines that I recommend looking into instead, which are both much more portable.

1. RJ3 Cold Brew Maker

This is my favorite coffee maker of all time. It is simple, easy to clean, pretty tough to break, and makes a delicious cold brew. I often pack this when I go on long trips.

2. Picopresso Portable Espresso Maker

This little espresso maker packs a punch. It’s a fan favorite on Amazon due to its portability and the shockingly good espresso that it makes. While a bit pricey, it beats the hassle of hauling a big coffee maker through the airport and can be used anywhere!

Where to Find More Information

If you’re ever wondering whether or not you can bring something on a plane, the best resource is the TSA website. This website has a helpful tool that spells out TSA regulations for travelers. By searching for the item you have in question, you’ll be able to see any rules regarding that item in both checked baggage and carry-on baggage.

Thanks for reading my post about bringing coffee on a plane. Hopefully, this post answered any questions you have about using cell phones while flying. If you have any questions or thoughts, drop a comment below.



Hi, I'm Greg. I'm an avid traveler who has traveled to over 50 countries all around the world with my wife and kids. I've lived in Italy, Mexico, China, and the United States, and I dream of moving abroad again in the future. With this blog, I provide my audience with detailed destination guides to my favorite places and pro-tips to make travel as stress-free as possible.

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Meet The Author - Greg

Hi, I'm Greg. I'm an avid traveler who has traveled to over 50 countries all around the world with my wife and kids. I've lived in Italy, Mexico, China, and the United States, and I dream of moving abroad again in the future. With this blog, I provide my audience with detailed destination guides to my favorite places and pro-tips to make travel as stress-free as possible.