The coffee bean is instantly recognizable by its appearance and also from the roasted coffee beans’ aroma as they are ground. However, one word in the statement may not be true. In your favorite coffee shop, you’ll see it everywhere, coffee made from the finest Arabica coffee beans, or for something less popular; you can see Liberica beans and much more.
However, like many coffee drinkers, you may wonder or are told that coffee beans for all the world’s coffee are not beans and are something else. You may come to ask, are coffee beans legumes, then? If you are baffled, you are not alone.
Arabica beans, Robusta Beans, and even green coffee beans are all portrayed as something they are not by marketing and coffee roasters. In our guide, you can learn more about beans that are not beans, such as cocoa beans, the ones that come from coffee trees to make your Coffea Arabica, and more. By the end, you’ll find that coffee beans come from coffee fruit and are just the seeds. (Learn How Much Does A Coffee Mug Weigh)
Are Coffee Beans Legumes or Beans?
Knowing the meaning of the word “legume” can help you see why is a coffee bean considered one thing when it is another. The term “legume” describes members of the Fabaceae family and includes black beans, peanuts, chickpeas, etc.
Beans belong to this family, even if the term “bean” describes anything small and often kidney-bean shape or oval. Unless a member of this family, they are mislabeled, and you can see many beans called beans, where in fact, they are not.
Coffee is unrelated to the legume family because it doesn’t develop in a fragile pod. Also, coffee plants are not legumes and don’t belong to that family. Also, the fruit can’t be classed as legumes or beans. Note: Not all legumes are beans, which adds to the confusion, such as peas and soybeans. In addition, a green bean falls into the vegetable group.
Are Coffee Beans Nuts or Beans?
Unlike legumes, which typically contain multiple seeds per pod, nuts typically contain just one and require tools to open, such as nutcrackers. You can refer to many as “nuts,” although this botanical term mainly speaks of seeds with hard shells, like true beans. So, you’ll find famous nuts like walnuts and almonds aren’t technically nuts.
Now, you may ask, is coffee bean or nut? Coffee seeds are rock hard, yet the coffee beans come without a hard outer shell or internal structure; hence they cannot be classified as nuts. The definition of a nut is something that has a hard shell covering a seed.
Coffee seeds are what we find inside and are classed incorrectly as Coffea Arabica Beans or Robusta Beans. The coffee cherry, from which the beans are extracted, is a soft, fleshy fruit of the coffee cherry you can break open by hand.
Fruits or Berries?
If it’s not a bean, a legume, or a nut, does the coffee fruit still belong to the coffee tree? Finding the answers to these questions should be as simple as looking at the coffee plant before the beans are picked.
Although it is commonly referred to as a tree, the coffee plant is actually more of a bush. The dark green coffee plant will eventually produce fruits that are deep purple fruits as the coffee plant grows.
These fruits are small and oval in shape and develop as the plant matures. During the harvesting process, the coffee bean is taken from this fruit.
Although they have no relation to cherries, this fruit is commonly referred to as a coffee cherry as they look like small cherry-like fruits. Consequently, coffee beans are not really fruits.
The green bean isn’t a fruit but a component of the fruit from which we extract the contents for roasted beans from the roasting process and coffee grounds during coffee production. (Learn How Many Tablespoons Are In A Pound Of Coffee)
Are coffee berries?
It’s interesting to see that we also share a common misunderstanding regarding berries. Berries are a type of drupe, a fleshy fruit that has thin layers all the way through. Some common examples of botanical berries are bananas, eggplants, tomatoes, and actual cherry fruit.
Is a coffee cherry a berry if it needs the fleshy layers often associated with berries? Two coffee seeds are typical for the most common type of coffee cherry. Each of these two seeds is covered in a thin layer of silver skin called the epidermis, and the flat sides face each other.
Because of the rigidity of the skin covering the coffee fruit seed, coffee beans are not berries.
The Botanical Class For Coffee
So far, the part that coffee beans are found within fruits is the only indicator of their genuine fruit. Discover the proper name for a coffee bean by reading up on the botanical classification plant used by coffee experts.
Coffee cherries, the fruit from which coffee is extracted, are drupes. In contrast to the soft layers of fleshy that enclose the seed in berries, the drupe (or stone) fruit has a hard parchment coating.
Cherries, peaches, and mangoes are all examples of drupe fruits. Do you recall my analogy of a coffee bean to a pit from a peach? Despite their size difference, peaches and coffee cherries are anatomically identical.
Simply put, a coffee bean is the fruit seed of a drupe. Something like a cherry pit or a mango seed is a good analogy that contains the juicy pulp of the whole fruit.
However, you may find the seed-to-fruit ratio different than other fruits, and the bitter flavor and unique taste we love in our cup of coffee comes from the coffee cherries rather than sweet-tasting fruits.
What Botanical Family Do Coffee Plants Belong?
We have already shown that coffee plants are not legumes and are not a member of the nut family (Fagaceae). Because of the wide range of drupe fruits, no single family can be said to include them all. On the other hand, coffee is a member of the Rubiaceae family.
Arabica coffee is the most widely consumed type, accounting for over 70% of all coffee production when farmers grow coffee. Despite these species being less common, you can still get blends at your local supermarket that contain Robusta and Liberica beans.
When shopping for coffee, inquire about the specific species and type, as each has its distinct flavor profile.
How Many Steps Are There For Harvesting Coffee Beans?
Getting the beans from the coffee fruit to the roasted coffee beans is lengthy. It would take even longer using the traditional method as they dry many things in sunlight rather than in ovens.
- Coffee trees should be planted.
- Collect the coffee cherries.
- Use a wet method to process the cherries.
- Put the beans in the dryer.
- Mill to remove the endocarp and then sort them.
- Promote as “green coffee” exports
- The quality can be guaranteed by conducting taste tests.
- The beans need to be roasted and ground.
While most coffee drinkers buy roasted and ground beans, some coffee connoisseurs purchase green coffee beans and roast them themselves.
Are Coffee Beans Actually Beans?
Coffee beans are seeds inside of fruit called coffee cherries. They aren’t technically beans, and the coffee tree isn’t part of the legumes family. Beans are seeds of a coffee cherry, which isn’t real.
Why coffee beans are not beans
One definition of a bean is the seed from which a legume plant is cultivated. For example, peas, chickpeas, lima beans, and peanuts are all legumes because their fruit develops inside a pod on the plant. Put another way, a seed is not a bean if it matures into a plant that is not a legume. People who think coffee beans are beans often get confused at this point.
Coffee cherries are the fruit of the Coffea plant, from which coffee beans are obtained. Since these cherries do not develop within pods, the Coffea plant cannot be classified as a legume; thus, coffee beans cannot be considered beans.
Can seeds be beans?
Yes. All beans are seeds, in reality. However, not all seeds are beans. It is generally agreed that the term “bean” refers to any seed that develops into a legume. If it doesn’t grow, it’s simply just a seed.
What is a coffee bean?
A coffee bean is the seed of a coffee plant from which coffee is harvested. Inside each coffee cherry or fruit on the plant are two coffee beans, or seeds. In common parlance, each of these seeds represents a single coffee bean. Coffee beans may appear to have split in two; however, this is not the case. What you see within the cherry is the same thing you’d find in a bag of whole, unground coffee.
The only distinction is that it is still a pale green tint because it has not been roasted. Inside the coffee cherry, the two halves of these spherical coffee beans face each other.
Each cherry from a pea berry coffee plant only contains a single coffee bean, hence the name. About 5 percent of the time, a peaberry will form when just half of a seed is fertilized. Since these coffee beans are so uncommon, they fetch a high price.
Why coffee beans are not considered fruit
For those unfamiliar, seeds are the fruit-bearing structures that form after a plant’s flowers have withered. The coffee bean does not qualify as a fruit under this definition because it does not produce seeds. On its own, it can function as a seed.
Despite this, the Coffea tree is a fruiting plant. The fruit that is cultivated is called a coffee cherry. (Learn How Much Creamer To Put In Coffee)
Why coffee beans are not considered nuts
Nuts and legumes differ in a few key ways. The seeds of legumes typically contain more than one pod. When they are ripe for picking, the pod will open independently. Typically, a nut will have one seed inside within a hard shell that won’t crack on its own.
Since coffee does not have a hard shell, it cannot be classified as a nut. The cherry fruit is where it develops.