We all strive to eat healthy foods that make up a balanced diet. For the most, many of us know what this means and what classifications foods fall into. While meats and vegetables are easy to categorize, some foods don’t easily fall into defined categories.
The regular daily cup of coffee is one crop that can be perplexing, as for many. It’s hard for many to know if a coffee plant is a fruit, vegetable, or what? To make things more confusing, trying to determine what food group coffee belongs to doesn’t have a straight answer.
Coffee is classified as “calories for other uses” and is not included in any of the USDA’s major food groups, including dairy products, vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins, or fats and oils.
Coffee sits with other non-nutrient-dense foods (soda, alcoholic drinks etc) in a special category by the USDA that provides users a calorie allowance for eating them as part of a healthy diet. In our guide, rather than confusing information, you can learn more about these plants and why they sit alone when they are called coffee fruit?
By the end, you’ll know more, as other readers found, that taking the first sip can help to increase physical performance, so it doesn’t matter what group the Coffea plant sits in.
Where Does Coffee Fall In The Food Pyramid?
Before looking where coffee fits in the list, it’s good to know the sections and what you should consume from each food group.
- Fruit: Aim for two cups of fruit each day with a four-ounce piece of whole fruit comprising oranges, pears, apples, or bananas counting toward one cup. You can drink fruit juice, yet the juice doesn’t include as much fiber and contains more sugar.
- Vegetables: Vegetables should be half of your plate at every meal. When cooking some veggies like spinach, it’s good to remember they shrink; thus, you may not be eating as many veggies as you think. Examples of starchy vegetables are green peas, lima beans, and white potatoes.
- Grains: Whole grains rather than refined grains should be eaten.
- Protein: Around six ounces of protein foods should be eaten daily. If you have a 3 oz serving of chicken, you can calculate easily. If you’re eating plant-based protein, you need to monitor your intake.
- Dairy: Dairy is vital because it contains calcium to help strengthen bones. A single cup of dairy contains 8 ounces of milk, one cup of yogurt, or 1.5 ounces of hard cheese.
Coffee is not a vegetable, but it has many health benefits.
Coffee beans include minerals like riboflavin, manganese, potassium, magnesium, and niacin. These are all B vitamins that benefit brain function, cell health, and metabolism. (Learn How Much Cream And Sugar To Put In Coffee)
One cup of coffee contains 11% of your daily riboflavin requirement. That implies two cups of coffee a day provides approximately a fourth of the crucial vitamin.
We all know coffee is high in caffeine. Caffeine boosts both energy and mood when it reaches the brain. Caffeine also increases metabolic rate, making it easier to burn fat.
Coffee contains antioxidants, including ferulic acid, which is regarded as the best. As a result, coffee consumers have healthier livers and a lower risk of stroke.
Is Coffee Considered A Food?
If coffee stems from a bean, is it a vegetable? You can ask, what food group are beans in, and where does coffee fit?
Well, there are many questions. For example, do all beans make a vegetable? Beans, such as green beans, lima beans, and shell beans, are vegetables, yet others, like edamame, are proteins.
Coffee grows, and unlike other plant-based foods, a coffee bean lacks any nutritional value.
Despite this short and to-the-point response, this statement has one problem. Beans aren’t technically veggies. Instead, beans are a type of legume.
To make matters even more complicated, coffee beans aren’t technically beans. They are, in fact, seeds, despite their name, and thus fall outside the fruit and vegetable group.
Coffee is grown on shrubs and bushes and yields the coffee cherries, which are the little red fruits. The seeds of those small red fruits are coffee beans.
Coffee isn’t a fruit or a vegetable. But, because the beans are the seeds of fruits, they must be fruit.
Parts of it you can eat, yet they offer no nutrition compared to a lima bean of foods in the protein group.
It isn’t too bad, considering drinking liquids from coffee seeds can reduce blood pressure.
What Food Group Is Iced Coffee In?
If you have milk in your iced coffee, it can sit in the dairy group. The coffee cherry is a fruit; however, the coffee bean is only a fruit component. (Read About Barista Outfits)
The coffee cherry has a rough, bitter skin and a juicy, sweet interior. The unattractive layer beneath the flesh is essential to protect the delicate coffee bean inside.
Is coffee a vegetable? Coffee beans are seeds, and their fruits are coffee cherries. Almost all coffee cherries are picked by hand. The older the coffee plant, the more coffee cherries it yields.
After picking, you’ll find two ways to remove the coffee bean.
The Dry Method
The dry technique is traditional. First, they dried the coffee cherries naturally by spreading them out in the sun and rotating them. Then coffee roasters mill, hull, and extract the beans from inside.
The husk dries out with the coffee cherries in the sun. Cascara is the name given to the fruit’s husk. Cascara herbal tea is a great way to enjoy all the coffee cherry bits without eating the fruit. It’s high in antioxidants and caffeine to help you fight diseases.
The Wet Method
The wet approach is more complicated. First, sort the good coffee cherries from the bad. Then, they peel the nice ones, discard the husks, and pull out the seeds.
The wet process is used by most coffee growers to remove the pulp or fruit surrounding the bean by soaking and fermenting the seeds.
Regardless of the procedure, all coffee cherries must be dried and milled. The final step of making coffee starts with the roasting process of the dried fruit.
Green coffee beans are unroasted coffee beans. They are just roasted to form those lovely brown coffee beans.
However, green coffee beans are now drunk and roasted coffee beans by coffee drinkers. However, a green bean doesn’t contain as much flavor.
Where Does Coffee Grow?
There are three main types of coffee plants in use, and they grow around the world. The different varieties affect the taste of the bean and then the taste of your coffee cup.
The Coffea Arabica plant produces roughly 60% of all coffee beans. Arabica plants are native to Brazil, Ethiopia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Rwanda. Guatemala, India, and Mexico also grow Arabica coffee. (Read Average Pay For Starbucks Barista)
Coffee plants thrive in warm, humid conditions. Most Arabica-growing countries are subtropical. But Arabica beans vary. There are around 20 types of Arabica beans worldwide.
Despite modest variances in varietals, Arabica coffee is generally regarded as the most popular. It has a sweeter taste than other types and often contains fruit, berry, and chocolate notes.
Robusta coffee beans are from the Coffea canephora plant and account for roughly 40% of all coffee worldwide. In Africa and Indonesia, they can be grown at lower altitudes than Arabica beans.
Contrary to the sweet Arabica bean, Robusta beans have a more robust flavor. They have twice the caffeine of their more famous counterpart.
Coffea canephora produces more coffee cherries per tree than Arabica.
If you want something rare, Liberica beans make up only 2% of the world’s coffee. Africa, Malaysia, and the Philippines produce Liberica. Places where the average temperature is 65-80°F and rarely drops below 32°F.
Southeast Asia produces Excelsa coffee beans. These coffee beans used to be classified separately, but now they’re part of the Liberica family. These beans do well in humid subtropical climes but prefer between 65 and 80 degrees.
Is Coffee A Fruit Or Nut?
Although the coffee cherry is a fruit, the coffee bean is only a part of it. The outside of the coffee cherry is hard and bitter, while the center is juicy and sweet.
Underneath the flesh is an unappealing covering that feels slimy but essential to protect the valuable coffee bean.
The answer to whether coffee is a vegetable is a resounding no, and in ways, it is both a nut from the cacao tree that you get from the coffee beans, which themselves are seeds, and from here, the coffee cherries are fruits they generate.
How Does Coffee Grow?
The coffee cherry is a tiny, fleshy fruit that becomes red when fully mature. Coffee cherries can take on the appearance of small purple fruits or take on a yellowish tinge.
They can be seen on tall shrubs and bushes that resemble berry bushes. They have waxy dark green leaves. It takes roughly a year for a newly planted tree to begin blossoming and at least another year for it to bear fruit.
Remove the husk from the coffee cherry to reveal an inner pulp layer.
Inside that pulp, you’ll find one of two things: a coffee seed with flat sides that look like ordinary coffee beans or a single round bean, commonly known as a peaberry.
A peaberry is found in less than 10% of all coffee cherries. Therefore, the fruit is considerably more likely to produce two flat beans instead.
Regardless of whether there are one or two seeds in the fruit, each bean is extracted, dried, and roasted. Seeds can make great roasted coffee, or there are other areas of use such as soft drinks.
With all this, unlike most plant-based foods, coffee grows as part of over one coffee group, depending on the plant you are looking at.