Most people don’t give much thought to the coffee cherry. They see the green beans and assume that’s all there is to it, or maybe they think of the entire fruit as one entity—a “coffee bean.” But in reality, the coffee cherry is incredibly complex.
Coffee cherries are the fruit produced by coffee plants of the genus (or species) Coffea. Wild coffee trees can be found growing in Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, and several other countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa and Arabia. However, coffee beans are commercially produced in Latin American countries, including Brazil.
These cherries grow on a tree, are picked by hand, and then laid out to dry in the sun. When the cherries are ripe and ready for picking, they turn bright red. Once they’re dried out, they’ve turned into dark brown beans.
The coffee cherry is actually a multi-layered fruit comprised of many different components. Each one serves a unique purpose and is necessary for coffee’s growth, development, and flavor profile. Let’s take a closer look at the anatomy of this fascinating fruit!