If you like being the guy in your friend group who chimes in with “Actually, a tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable,” then this article is for you.
(Alternatively, if you just like learning lots of cool facts about coffee, this article is also for you).
Many people just assume that coffee is a vegetable. They are called coffee “beans” after all.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could get the recommended 2 - 3 daily cups of vegetables in by drinking 2 or 3 cups of coffee?
Well, you can’t. Coffee beans are—wait for it—a fruit.
(Personally, if I hadn’t already known the answer, I probably would’ve guessed “legume.” But apparently, legumes are fruits too. I’m.. We’re learning so much today!)
Most people would probably say that coffee doesn’t seem much like a fruit, but that’s partially because of how much happens to the beans before they get to us.
Believe it or not, the coffee beans you know and love start their life inside reddish or purplish “cherries.”
One of the reasons we call them cherries—besides the fact that they do sorta look like cherries—is that they have a “pit.”
Care to guess what the pit of a coffee cherry has inside it?
That’s right—inside the pit of a coffee cherry is where we get actual coffee “beans.”
Each cherry has two of them inside. It takes almost a year for a coffee cherry to mature after it flowers.
But at this stage, the beans aren’t quite what you grind up and brew into delicious caffeine goodness yet. The beans inside the coffee cherries are still green coffee beans at this point.
They still need to be harvested, processed, roasted, and preferably packaged before they make their way to the grinder on your kitchen counter.
Some of the apocryphal stories about the origin of coffee involve people (you know, goat shepherds, etc.) biting into or chewing on coffee cherries, but I don’t recommend you do this.
One, they don’t really taste like what we think of as “coffee” yet, and the exterior of an unroasted coffee bean is quite hard.
Think about how hard a really light roast bean is—now imagine how hard a “no roast” bean is.
Probably not something you want to bite into yourself, no matter how your goats are acting after they chew on them. In general, don’t imitate goat behavior. Goats chew on tin cans. I think. I’ve seen them do it in cartoons.
So there you go—coffee’s a fruit, coffee beans come from coffee cherries, legumes are fruit, and Bob’s your uncle.
Still, I’m sorry to report that you can’t get in the daily recommended 1 ½ - 2 cups of fruit by drinking 2 cups of coffee. But hey, fruit isn’t so bad. That orange one is pretty good.