What Is Coffee Classified As?

Coffee is classified as a beverage made from roasted coffee beans, belonging to the category of stimulant drinks due to its caffeine content.

Coffee is one of the most beloved beverages in the world, consumed by millions of people every day. But have you ever wondered what coffee is classified as? Is it a fruit, a vegetable, or something else entirely? In this article, we will explore the classification of coffee and give you all the information you need to know about your favorite morning drink.

So grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive in!

Coffee Origins

coffee poster

Coffee has a rich and fascinating history that dates back centuries. The origins of coffee can be traced to the highlands of Ethiopia, where it is believed to have been discovered by a goat herder named Kaldi.

According to legend, Kaldi noticed that his goats became more energetic after eating the berries from a certain tree. Curious about this phenomenon, he tried the berries himself and experienced an increase in energy as well.

From Ethiopia, coffee spread throughout Arabia and eventually made its way across Europe during the 16th century. Today, coffee is grown in countries all over the world including Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam and Indonesia.

How Does Coffee Grow?

The coffee plant belongs to the Rubiaceae family, which includes other plants such as gardenias and quinine. Coffee plants can grow up to 30 feet tall, but they are usually pruned down to about 6-8 feet for easier harvesting.

The coffee plant produces fruit called cherries that contain two seeds or beans inside them. These beans are what we use to make our beloved cup of joe.

Coffee plants require specific conditions for optimal growth: high altitude (between 3,000 and 7,000 feet), consistent rainfall (around six inches per month), and temperatures between 60°F -70°F.

There are two main types of coffee grown commercially: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica requires higher altitudes with cooler temperatures while Robusta prefers lower altitudes with warmer climates.

Types of Coffee Beans

Arabica is the most popular type and accounts for about 60% of the world’s coffee production. It has a mild flavor with hints of sweetness and acidity.

Robusta, on the other hand, is stronger in taste with a higher caffeine content than Arabica beans. It has a more bitter taste profile that some people prefer.

Liberica is less common but still worth mentioning as it offers its own unique flavor profile that can be described as smoky or woody.


It is grown in high-altitude regions with a mild climate and plenty of rainfall, such as Central and South America, Africa, and Asia.

Arabica beans are known for their delicate flavor profile that includes notes of fruitiness and acidity. They also have a lower caffeine content compared to other types of coffee beans like Robusta.

Due to its popularity among consumers who prefer specialty coffees over mass-produced ones, Arabica commands higher prices than other varieties. However, it’s also more susceptible to pests and diseases which can affect crop yields.


It has a stronger and more bitter taste than Arabica, making it less popular among coffee enthusiasts. However, Robusta beans have twice as much caffeine content as Arabica beans, which makes them an excellent choice for those who need a quick energy boost.

Robusta plants are easier to grow and maintain than Arabica plants since they are more resistant to pests and diseases. They also require less water and can thrive in lower altitudes with higher temperatures.

Despite its lower quality compared to Arabica, Robusta still plays an essential role in the global coffee industry due to its high yield production at a lower cost. Many commercial blends contain both types of beans for balance between flavor profile and affordability.


It is a rare type of coffee bean that makes up only 2% of the world’s coffee production. Liberica has a unique flavor profile that sets it apart from other types of coffee beans.

Liberica was first discovered in Liberia in West Africa during the 19th century, hence its name. It was later introduced to Southeast Asia where it became popular among local farmers due to its resistance to pests and diseases.

The Liberica tree can grow up to 20 meters tall and produces large fruits with irregular shapes compared to other varieties. The seeds are also larger than those found in Arabica or Robusta beans.

In terms of taste, Liberican coffees have been described as having a woody or smoky flavor with hints of floral notes depending on their origin. They are often used for blending purposes rather than being sold as single-origin coffees due to their rarity.

How Is Coffee Harvested?

The process of harvesting coffee beans can vary depending on the region and type of bean being grown. In general, there are two main methods used to harvest coffee: the dry method and the wet method.

The dry method involves allowing ripe cherries to dry naturally in the sun before removing their outer layers through a milling process. This traditional approach is often used in regions with low humidity and little rainfall.

On the other hand, wet processing involves washing freshly picked cherries with water to remove any debris or impurities before separating them based on weight using water channels or machines that use air pressure. This technique produces cleaner-tasting coffees but requires more resources such as water and energy.

Regardless of which harvesting technique is employed, it’s important for farmers to pick only ripe cherries by hand since unripe ones will not produce quality beans when roasted.

The Dry Method

This method involves drying freshly harvested coffee cherries in the sun until they are completely dry. The process can take up to four weeks and requires constant attention to ensure that all cherries are evenly dried.

Once the cherries have been picked from their trees, they are spread out on large patios or raised beds under direct sunlight. During this time, workers will regularly turn over and rake through them to prevent mold growth or fermentation.

This method is commonly used in areas with low humidity levels where there isn’t enough water for wet processing methods. It’s also preferred by some farmers who believe it produces a more flavorful cup of coffee due to its longer contact time with fruit flesh during drying.

However, this process has its drawbacks too; it’s labor-intensive since workers need to constantly monitor cherry moisture levels throughout drying stages manually. Despite these challenges faced by farmers using this technique today – many still prefer it because of its simplicity compared with other methods like wet-processing which require expensive equipment such as pulpers or fermenting tanks.

The Wet Method

This method involves washing the beans in water, which separates them from their outer layer of skin and pulp. The wet method is also known as washed coffee, and it produces a cleaner taste than other methods.

After harvesting, ripe cherries are sorted by hand or machine to remove any underripe or damaged fruits. Then they are placed into large tanks filled with water where they undergo fermentation for up to 48 hours before being washed again.

This process can be more expensive than other methods due to its high labor requirements and use of large amounts of clean water. However, it results in higher quality beans that fetch better prices on the market.

Many specialty coffees are produced using this method because it allows for greater control over flavor development during processing. It’s worth noting that some countries have limited access to clean water resources making this technique less feasible there.

Coffee Roasting Levels

Coffee roasting is an art form that requires skill and experience. There are several different levels of coffee roasts, each with its own distinct flavor profile.

Light roast: This roast is also known as a cinnamon or New England roast. The beans are roasted until they reach an internal temperature of around 356°F (180°C).

Lightly roasted beans have a light brown color and a mild flavor with no oil on the surface.

Medium roast: Also called American or regular roast, this level produces slightly darker brown-colored beans than light roasts but still has no oil on the surface. Medium-roasted coffees tend to be more balanced in acidity, aroma, and body than lighter roasts.

Dark Roast: Darker colored oils appear on these types of bean surfaces due to longer exposure times at higher temperatures during the process; French or Italian-style espresso blends fall into this category. Each type of coffee bean has its own ideal level for optimal taste profiles; however personal preference plays an important role when choosing your preferred brew strength.

Common Coffee Blends

The most common coffee blends include Arabica and Robusta, which are blended together in varying ratios to achieve different flavors.

Arabica is known for its delicate flavor and low acidity, while Robusta has a stronger taste with higher caffeine content. By blending these two types of beans, roasters can create a balanced cup of coffee that combines the best qualities of both.

Other popular blends include Colombian Supremo and French Roast, which combine different varieties from Colombia and other regions around the world. These blends often have distinct flavors that reflect their country or region of origin.

Coffee Brewing Methods

Each method has its unique characteristics that affect the taste, aroma, and strength of your cup of coffee. Some popular brewing methods include drip coffee makers, French press, pour-over, espresso machines and more.

Drip Coffee Makers: This is one of the most common ways to brew coffee at home or in offices. It involves pouring hot water over ground beans placed in a filter basket which drips into a carafe below.

French Press: Also known as plunger pot or press pot; it’s an immersion method where coarsely ground beans steep for several minutes before being pressed through a metal mesh filter by plunging down on top with a rod-like handle.

Pour-Over: A manual process that requires pouring hot water over freshly ground beans placed in paper filters held by cone-shaped devices like Hario V60s or Chemex brewers to extract flavors slowly while maintaining temperature control throughout extraction time frame.

Espresso Machines: These machines use high pressure (9 bars) to force hot water through finely-ground compacted puck resulting in concentrated shots used for lattes cappuccinos etcetera.

Each brewing method produces different results depending on factors such as grind size and bean quality.

Decaffeination Process

Decaf coffee goes through a process to remove most of the caffeine content while still retaining its flavor. There are several methods for decaffeinating coffee beans, including solvent-based processes and non-solvent based processes.

One common method is called “direct solvent” or “ethyl acetate” process. This involves soaking green (unroasted) beans in water to expand them and then rinsing them with ethyl acetate, which bonds with the caffeine molecules and removes them from the bean.

Another popular method is called “Swiss Water Process,” which uses only water as a solvent to extract caffeine from green beans without using chemicals that could affect their flavor profile.

It’s important to note that even decaf coffee contains some amount of caffeine – usually around 2-5 milligrams per cup compared to regular brewed coffee’s 70-140 milligrams per cup – so it may not be suitable for those who are extremely sensitive or allergic to this stimulant substance.

Health Benefits of Coffee

Studies have shown that moderate coffee consumption can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, liver disease, and certain types of cancer. Coffee contains antioxidants that help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.

In addition to its antioxidant properties, coffee can also improve brain function and boost energy levels due to its caffeine content. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and increases dopamine levels in the brain which leads to improved mood and cognitive performance.

However, it’s important to note that excessive consumption of coffee may lead to negative effects such as anxiety or insomnia due to high caffeine intake. It’s recommended for adults not exceed more than 400mg (about four cups) per day.

Negative Effects of Coffee

One of the most well-known side effects of coffee is its ability to cause jitters and anxiety in some people due to its high caffeine content. Drinking too much coffee can lead to insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns.

Another potential downside of consuming large amounts of coffee is that it can increase blood pressure and heart rate, which may be problematic for those with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions. Coffee can also irritate the digestive system and cause acid reflux or stomach discomfort in some individuals.

It’s worth noting that these negative effects are typically only seen when consuming excessive amounts of caffeine – moderate consumption (around 3-4 cups per day) is generally considered safe for most healthy adults.

Caffeine Content in Coffee

The amount of caffeine in coffee can vary depending on several factors, including the type of bean, roast level, and brewing method.

On average, an 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains around 95 milligrams (mg) of caffeine. However, this can range from as little as 30 mg for a decaf cup to over 400 mg for some specialty drinks like espresso or cold brew.

It’s important to note that everyone’s tolerance for caffeine is different and consuming too much can lead to negative side effects such as jitters or insomnia. It’s recommended that adults consume no more than 400 mg per day which equates roughly four cups of brewed coffee.

Fair Trade and Sustainability

Many coffee growers in developing countries are paid very little for their crops, which can make it difficult to sustain their livelihoods. Fair trade practices aim to address this issue by ensuring that farmers receive fair prices for their products.

In addition to fair trade practices, sustainability is also an important consideration in the coffee industry. Coffee farming can have negative environmental impacts if not done responsibly.

Sustainable farming methods prioritize soil health and biodiversity while minimizing chemical use.

Many specialty coffee roasters prioritize both fair trade and sustainability when sourcing beans from around the world.

The Coffee Industry

From the farmers who grow the beans to the baristas who serve them, coffee plays an essential role in many economies around the world.

Coffee is one of the most traded commodities globally, with over 25 million smallholder farmers producing it in more than 60 countries. The industry generates billions of dollars annually and provides employment opportunities for millions of people worldwide.

However, despite its economic importance, there are also significant challenges facing those involved in coffee production and trade. Issues such as low prices paid to farmers by middlemen or large corporations can lead to poverty and exploitation within communities that rely on coffee farming for their livelihoods.

Climate change poses a significant threat to future production levels due to changing weather patterns affecting crop yields and quality.

Coffee Culture Worldwide

In Italy, for example, coffee is an integral part of daily life and consumed in small amounts as espresso shots. The French enjoy their coffee with croissants or other pastries at cafes while reading newspapers or chatting with friends.

In Turkey, coffee preparation involves boiling finely ground beans in a pot called cezve before serving it unfiltered into small cups. In Ethiopia – the birthplace of coffee – traditional ceremonies involve roasting green beans over hot coals before grinding them by hand and brewing them using clay pots.

In some countries like Vietnam and Thailand, condensed milk is added to create sweetened iced coffees that are perfect for hot weather. Meanwhile, Scandinavian countries have embraced specialty coffees such as pour-over methods that highlight single-origin beans’ unique flavors.

So Is It A Bean Or A Seed?

Coffee is actually the seed of the coffee plant, which grows inside a fruit called a cherry. The coffee cherry starts out green and turns red when it’s ripe for picking.

Once harvested, the outer layers of the fruit are removed through either dry or wet processing methods to reveal what we know as green coffee beans (or seeds). These beans are then roasted to bring out their unique flavors and aromas.

So while you may hear people refer to them as “coffee beans,” they’re actually seeds that come from within a fruit. But no matter what you call them, one thing remains true: they make for one delicious cup of joe!


Is coffee a fruit or a bean?

Coffee is technically a seed of the fruit known as coffee cherries, despite its resemblance to beans.

Is coffee a fruit or a seed?

Coffee is a seed that comes from a fruit called the coffee cherry.

Is coffee a legume or a berry?

Coffee is a berry, as the coffee bean is a pit inside the coffee cherry fruit.

What is scientific name for coffee?

The scientific name for coffee is primarily Coffea arabica and C. canephora.

How does the coffee roasting process impact the flavor profile?

The coffee roasting process impacts the flavor profile by determining the development of acidity, sweetness, bitterness, and aroma in the final product.

What are the differences between Arabica and Robusta coffee varieties?

Arabica coffee variety is generally known for its milder flavor and lower caffeine content, while Robusta coffee variety has a stronger, more bitter taste and a higher caffeine content.

What role does the altitude play in the quality of coffee beans?

Altitude plays a significant role in the quality of coffee beans, as higher altitudes generally produce denser beans with more complex flavors and aroma profiles.