What is a Coffee Bean

Author: Bliss Coffee Roasters  Date Posted:29 September 2020 

Let's explore what a coffee bean even is. Before you drink it, before we even roast it - what is it?

Inside the red fruit of coffea lie two coffee beans. Often to surprise, they are in fact hard and green in colour. That rich brown colour we are all familiar with will appear only after roasting. In fact, they aren’t beans at all. The red fruit is like a cherry you pick off a tree, although unlike the cherry, the seed is the prize, and the flesh is discarded.

In addition to caffeine, coffee is a brew of a thousand chemical compounds that could have potential therapeutic effects on the body. One key component, chlorogenic acid, is a polyphenol found in many fruits and vegetables. Coffee is also a good dietary source of vitamin B3, magnesium and potassium.

Often people just see coffee as a vehicle for caffeine, but it is a very complex plant beverage with several nutritional benefits.

With coffea’s estimated 124 species, most of flavours remain untapped; and perhaps will be forever, with an estimated 60 percent under threat of extinction, largely from climate change, disease, pests and deforestation.

What fills our mugs at cafes, the office, and on road trips are from two species: arabica and canephora, known as robusta.

Arabica fills specialty cafes and roasters, costs more than robusta and generally has a more delicate and enjoyable flavour profile. Robusta producers a harsher flavour, often described as bitter, is used more in instant coffees and some espressos because of the strength it provides and the low cost.

For all of the razzle-dazzle swirling around arabica, the fact remains it is an extremely similar to robusta. In years to come, we may see an increased amount of study research done in robusta coffee as the plant is more hardy than the arabica varieties. This could improve the quality and flavours of robusta coffees and increase the amount of regions quality coffee can be grown.


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