We have all seen whole coffee beans in the store and coffee shops, but did you know that it didn’t start out being that dark brown to black color? That’s right, the original color is actually green.
Let’s back up for a minute. The blooms on the coffee shrubs (yes, they are not trees) are small, fragrant and white. After the bloom dies back, it leaves a coffee “cherry”, but some people call them “berries”. The inside seed, which is the coffee bean, is unripe at this stage and green in color. As the berry matures, it changes to yellow and then to red. By now you are probably shaking your head. You have never seen any red coffee beans! That’s because they turn dark when they are dried.
The two main types of coffee beans ripen at different times. Arabica beans ripen in 6 – 8 months; robusta beans take longer to ripen in 9-11 months. The plants bloom for several months each year, but before you go planting your own, you need to know that it takes approximately 5 years for a coffee plant to produce its fruit. The plus side to that is they can produce fruit for 20 years or more! They grow in over 70 different countries and are original to Africa and southern Asia.
Basic math tells you that it takes about 70 beans to make one cup of coffee. If you drink only one cup per day, you will need to plant about 5 coffee bushes. But let’s be real. Not only do most Americans drink more than coffee than that, but what about your family members and guests? It’s probably better to stick with purchasing as much coffee as you want from your favorite retailer. Plus, there is no having to care for your coffee plants that way!