Coffee = Plant?

The question of “where does coffee come from” is one of legends and folklore. A simple explanation, coffee beans are the seeds of the coffee plant.


Coffee plants are woody evergreens that can grow up to 10 meters tall when growing in the wild. Most of the world’s coffee grows within the "Bean Belt", the area around the equator between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer. This region includes parts of Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.


Coffee beans develop inside a “cherry” that grows from these plants. In fact, the term “coffee bean” is misleading; the beans we roast to make coffee are actually seeds. You’ll usually find two of these seeds inside each cherry-like fruit of the coffee plant.


Coffee producers pick these cherries at just the right level of ripeness needed for them to express the most delicious flavor possible. Each type of coffee has its own specific maturity and harvesting process, depending on how long it takes for it to hit peak taste quality. After the coffee cherries are harvested, the beans are extracted from the fruit and, eventually, roasted.


It is at this point that the coffee finally becomes the dark brown bean we all recognize.