Did you know that coffee, most people’s favourite beverage, has its origin in fruit? Coffee is made from the seeds of the coffee cherry which grows on trees and not bushes. These coffee cherry trees can reach heights of up to 30 feet. There is a vast variety of coffee cherries but they all contain two seeds or beans apiece.
The coffee cherry starts its life as a flower which is pollinated by bees and other insects. Over the next two months, the flowers develop into clusters of red, yellow, or orange fruit which are then ready to be harvested. This time can vary greatly depending on growing conditions such as temperature, humidity, and rainfall.
Once the coffee cherries reach an ideal state of ripeness, they are harvested manually which is an extremely labour-intensive operation. Skilled workers carry out this task by hand-picking the fruit from the trees. Much care is required to rapidly and effectively gather the ripe cherries using a gentle tug to remove them.
After the coffee cherries are harvested, they are sorted and processed by removing the fruit’s outer shell to reveal the two beans inside. The next step is for these beans to be cleaned, dried, and roasted to create the well-known and much loved beverage, coffee.
The coffee cherry is a fruit with a distinct flavour. However it is not typically consumed unlike the popular beverage that is made from it. A coffee cherry's flavour will vary depending on the type of coffee bean it contains and the growing conditions. It is frequently described as having a sweet and somewhat tangy flavour somewhat akin to a cranberry or cherry. The flavour of a ripe coffee cherry has been compared by some to that of a tropical fruit like guava. Despite their interesting and distinctive flavour, coffee cherries are rarely eaten as fruit because of their hard exterior and harsh aftertaste. Instead, they are mostly picked for the coffee beans found within.
In conclusion, the coffee cherry is a fascinating and complex fruit that has been cherished for centuries by millions of people all over the world. The production of coffee is a true monument to the strength of nature and the human spirit, from its humble origins as a flower on a coffee cherry tree to the delicious and energizing beverage we love and enjoy.