One thing that coffee lovers often neglect to think about is where coffee beans come from. In fact, many coffee consumers may be unaware of how coffee is grown. To help clarify, let’s address the question of where coffee originates.
Where does coffee come from?
Although we make coffee using coffee beans, they aren’t really beans. I mean, does a coffee bean taste anything like a pinto, kidney, black or white bean? No, it does not and that is because these coffee beans are in actuality, seeds!
Coffee is a fruit and like many other fruits, grows on trees and the coffee beans are the seeds of the red, coffee fruit. The coffee fruit closely resembles cherries, which is why it is commonly referred to as coffee cherries. Coffee is harvested in its fruit form before it is processed for its coffee. To extract the coffee bean or rather coffee seed, the fruit is put through what is known as a “pulper” to remove the fruit from the seed. Another method for removing the seeds is to dry the seed directly inside of the red fruit.
This fact about coffee can be eye opening to coffee lovers because it help explain why different coffees have differing ranges of fruit-like flavors. A coffee’s flavor is dependent on numerous factors including how the coffee is grown, the type of roast, processing and brewing method. In previous posts we have addressed how growing conditions and different coffee roasts impact flavors but what does processing have to do with flavor?
The processing of coffee beans play a major role in producing specific flavors. For instance with the natural process, which is the most common way for coffee farmers to process coffee cherries, coffee is processed through a natural dry process. During this process, the coffee cherry or bean is left inside of the fruit and as a result, the bean is able to absorb some of the characteristics found in the flavourful skin of the fruit. It is no wonder that when beans are dried in this natural state, they take on a full body with undertones of citrus and lime with strong flavors of sweet strawberries.
With a washed or wet process, the profile of the coffee will be more clean. With washed coffees, the beans are separated from the cherry during a process known as de-pulping. Since the beans aren’t dried within the fruit, coffees that undergo this type of processing have less flavors of fruit and more of the seed.
Now that we have explained that coffee originates from a fruit, you should have a better understanding of coffee’s fruity flavors. It should now make perfect sense that you morning cup of Joe has a fruity flavor profile.