What Is a Coffee Bean? The Anatomy of The Coffee Cherry

February 21, 2019

Where does your coffee come from? You may know that coffee is a plant and recognise that the beans came from a bright red coffee cherry. But what is inside that coffee cherry and what does it mean for your cup?

The different parts of the coffee cherry have an impact on processing method and on your coffee’s final profile. Let’s take a look at the basic anatomy of the coffee cherry to better understand our daily brew.

Understanding The Coffee Plant

The beans we roast, grind, and brew to make coffee are the seeds of a fruit. The coffee plant produces coffee cherries, and the beans are the seeds inside.

Coffee trees can naturally grow to over 30 ft/9 m. But producers prune and stump plants short to conserve the plants’ energy and to help harvesting. Smaller trees have better yield and quality in a limited space.

Each tree is covered with green, waxy leaves that grow in pairs and coffee cherries grow along its branches. Depending on the variety, it takes three to four years for a coffee plant to produce fruit. The National Coffee Association USA states that the average coffee tree produces 10 lbs of coffee cherry per year, which results in around 2 lbs of green beans.

But there are different varieties of coffee and their beans have many different characteristics. Size, flavor, and disease resistance vary, among other factors.


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