Quick Sip: From Fruit Seed to Coffee Cup

Claire Lafferty
3 min readOct 23, 2020

Did you know the coffee tree is actually a fruit tree?

Coffee trees produce berries that turn bright red as they grow, known as coffee cherries and the seed of that cherry is none other then a coffee bean! But where do these cherry producing coffee plants even grow?

The majority of coffee is grown in what is known as the coffee belt region, which is the area near the equator where temperatures are around 70 degrees with a moist, tropical climate — prime coffee plant growing weather.

The known sites best for growing these plants are Central and South America, Africa and the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Due to the differences in soil and variations in exact climate conditions, each area offers distinct flavors to their coffee.

Many coffee brands mark which region the beans are from, but some don’t appear to have an exact location, and this is because some coffees are single-origin, and some are blends.

  • A coffee marked as single-origin means all the coffee beans were harvested from the same place
  • A coffee blend consists of a mixture of beans from different locations.

Blending beans from various regions create new coffee flavors, providing even more varieties!

Once the farmers harvest the coffee cherries, they are then stripped of the outer berry to reveal the green bean inside. These beans then move to the next stage, the roasting. Roasting is another crucial stage in determining the characteristics of how the coffee will taste. The beans are brought to high temperatures very quickly and then cooled just as fast, once the desired roasting time is complete.

Since the beans start as green, the longer they are roasted, the darker they become, and this is also a step in creating the flavor profile of the various coffees. This is also where the different kinds of roast get their name; light, medium, and dark.

Learning how to roast coffee properly is genuinely an art and a science.

After the beans roast, time is of the essence to truly get the most flavor out of the beans. Keeping the beans whole until ready to brew helps keep the flavor longer; but, the widespread belief that storing grounds in the freezer has not proven to aid in keeping the freshness. However, whether whole bean or pre-ground in bags, there is still much to be enjoyed about these little beans because another essential step is brewing the coffee.

Brewing is when hot water pours through the coffee grounds; the water then absorbs the compounds, passes through a filter, and produces the “golden” liquid. There are several different methods to use when brewing coffee.

  • The most popular being a standard drip coffee, where the coffee is made in a coffee pot, pouring the water in one compartment and grounds in another, and then the machine automatically does the rest.
  • Other popular methods include the pour-over, where the hot water is physically poured over the grounds, filtered through a paper filter, and produces a single cup.
  • Another technique is the French press, where the grounds are left to freely float in the water for a few minutes and then pressed down to filter out before pouring.

These are just a few ways consumers craft coffee into that delicious drink that many have come to know and love.

But what about espresso? Is that coffee too?

Yes, espresso is simply a more concentrated coffee form. When ordering, it is known as an espresso shot and is typically about 2 oz. of coffee. The “shot” is produced by highly pressurized hot water quickly running through finely ground beans. Typically people enjoy their espresso shots best when added to a cup of steamed milk, creating the latte, but espresso shots can be had by themselves as well.

From the beginning, it took a lot of experimenting with turning the cherry seed into the cup of coffee that millions enjoy every day today. With all the different brew methods, flavors, and ways to enjoy the caffeinating bean, chances are there is something for most people out there to enjoy. And if you already have a love for the drink, why not try it in a new form or flavor?

Besides that nice warm feeling of the first sip in the morning (or afternoon) the next best part about coffee is the experimenting!



Claire Lafferty

// the first question should not be the last question, neither should the first cup of coffee be the last cup //