Coffee Cherries - The Deep Dive
Coffee cherries are the fruit of coffee plants. In this article we'll take a closer look at coffee cherries, including how they grow and what coffee is made from them.
What Are Coffee Cherries?
Coffee plants are small shrubs that produce coffee beans. The coffee bean is actually the seed of the coffee plant, and coffee cherries are the fruit that surrounds the coffee bean. Coffee cherries are typically red or purple when they are ripe and ready to be harvested.
Coffee cherries also look like small berries, and they actually belong to the same plant family as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. The name of that plant family is Rubus, and coffee is actually the only member of that family that is caffeine-containing.
Parts That Make-Up The Coffee Cherry
The coffee cherry has three main parts: the exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp.
- The exocarp is the outermost layer of the coffee cherry, and it's also known as the coffee husk or coffee hull.
- The mesocarp is the middle layer of the coffee cherry, and it's also known as the coffee pulp.
- The endocarp is the innermost layer of the coffee cherry, and it's also known as the coffee bean.
The Skin or Husk
The coffee cherry skin is thin and delicate, and it can be eaten. The coffee cherry fruit, on the other hand, is very bitter and not particularly palatable. Some coffee drinkers enjoy eating coffee cherries for the taste, but most people prefer to avoid the fruit and just drink the coffee made from the beans.
The coffee cherry skin is also where much of the coffee plant's caffeine is found. Caffeine is a naturally-occurring stimulant that coffee plants produce to protect themselves from predators.
The coffee cherry skin also contains coffee oils, which are responsible for the coffee's aroma.
The coffee cherry pulp is the fleshy part of the coffee cherry that surrounds the coffee bean. The coffee bean is actually the seed of the coffee plant, and the coffee cherry pulp is what protects the coffee bean as it grows.
The coffee cherry pulp is also where much of the coffee plant's sugar is found. That sugar is responsible for the sweetness of coffee.
The coffee bean is the seed of the coffee plant. Coffee beans are typically dark brown or black, and they are encased in a hard shell called the coffee husk.
Coffee cherries develop and ripen is a process that takes about six to eight months. The coffee cherry begins to grow shortly after the coffee bean is pollinated.
Once the coffee cherry has reached its full size, it will start to change color and become ripe. The coffee cherry will turn from green to yellow, then orange, and finally red or purple when it is ready to be harvested.
How Are Coffee Cherries Harvested
Coffee cherries are traditionally hand-picked, as it is difficult to mechanically harvest coffee cherries without damaging the coffee beans inside. After coffee cherries are picked, they are typically processed within 24 hours to remove the coffee bean. The coffee bean is then roasted to create the familiar coffee flavor.
Coffee cherries are typically harvested between October and February, depending on the coffee-growing region. For example, coffee cherries in Brazil are typically harvested from June to September.
Coffee cherries can be processed using one of two methods: the dry process or the wet process.
How Are Coffee Cherries Used?
Coffee cherries can be used to make coffee, of course, but they can also be used to make other products.
Coffee liqueur, for example, is made by soaking coffee cherries in alcohol.
Coffee cherry tea is another popular product made from coffee cherries. This tea is said to have more antioxidants than green tea.
Coffee cherries can also be used as a natural fertilizer. Coffee trees absorb nutrients from coffee cherries that fall to the ground, which helps keep the soil healthy.
The Benefits of Coffee Cherries
Coffee cherries are a good source of antioxidants, which can help protect your body against cell damage.
They also contain coffeeberry acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
Coffee cherries are also a good source of fiber and vitamins A, B1, B2, and C.
Other Health Benefits Include:
- Coffee berry acid has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Coffee cherries can help protect against cell damage.
- Coffee cherries are a good source of fiber and vitamins A, B1, B2, and C.
- Coffee cherries can help improve cognitive function.
- Coffee cherries may help reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
The Disadvantages of Coffee Cherries
Coffee cherries can have some disadvantages too.
For example, coffee cherries can be a choking hazard for young children.
They can also be a potential allergen for some people. If you're allergic to coffee, you may also be allergic to coffee cherries.
Coffee cherry tea can also have some side effects, such as upset stomach and headaches.
What is a coffee cherry?
A coffee cherry is the fruit of the coffee plant. The coffee bean is actually the seed of the coffee plant, and the coffee cherry pulp is what protects the coffee bean as it grows.
How long does it take for a coffee cherry to ripen?
It takes about six to eight months for a coffee cherry to ripen.
How are coffee cherries harvested?
Coffee cherries are typically hand-picked, as it is difficult to mechanically harvest coffee cherries without damaging the coffee beans inside.
Learn more about Coffee Plants
In this article we take a deep dive on coffee plants, explaining how they grow, where they can be found and what they look like.
Learn more about Coffee Flowers
This page describes coffee flowers, the flowers that grow on a coffee plant. Learn what they look like, how they grow, and why they are important to coffee bean development.