Exploring the Unique Flavor of Coffee Cherry

5 min read SEP 24, 2023

Many think coffee is a dark, bitter, caffeinated drink made from brownish beans. However, atologically, coffee is much more complex than that. It comes from the seeds of the coffee cherry, which grow on a fruit tree. The cherries resemble berries and start green before turning red as they ripen. Once the cherries are picked, the skin and pulp are removed, leaving behind the seeds you roast and grind to make coffee.

It isn’t until after the seeds are roasted that they are called coffee beans. You might be curious why people prefer to drink coffee instead of eating the fruit more directly. Don't worry, we are going to deep-dive into everything you need to know about coffee cherries.

Is it possible to consume coffee cherries?

As modern consumers, you expect all fruits to be deliciously sweet, which you usually find in supermarkets. However, nature doesn't always produce fruits suitable for making smoothies or adding to fruit salads. Most fruits you encounter daily have been selectively bred to become perfect snacks. It's worth noting that the banana you know today is only 7000-10,000 years old, and the wild version had so many seeds that the ancestors might have ignored them.

The coffee cherry hasn't gained popularity like strawberries or cherries mainly because consuming them has no nutritional benefit. If you try eating a coffee cherry, you'll notice that most of it is made up of skin and seeds, which are green beans. The skin is rough, and the pulp sticks to the seeds like the slimy parts that don't come off a peach stone.

The flavor of a ripe coffee cherry is delightful, surpassing that of a ripe mango. It can be described as sweet and fresh, reminiscent of a combination of watermelon and apricot.

The main issue is very little fruit flesh on the coffee cherries. However, it is safe to consume coffee cherries. Some animals do eat them.

According to a famous story, coffee was discovered when an Ethiopian herder named Kaldi noticed that his goats became more energetic after eating coffee cherries.

You may also be familiar with kopi luwak, a coffee made from cherries eaten and excreted by the Asian palm civet. However, let's refocus and return to the main topic.


Humans were initially drawn to the coffee plant not for its tasty fruit but for the stimulating effects of its caffeine. Ironically, caffeine, a defense mechanism of the coffee plant against pests, became the reason for its romance with humans.

After removing the pulp, the coffee seeds are very dense, making grinding the green coffee beans difficult. But the beans become fragile and easy to grind and brew during the roasting process.

Although coffee roasting plays a crucial role in determining the beverage's taste, the first coffee roasters likely considered it necessary to make a stimulating caffeine drink. While the coffee plant's agricultural conditions greatly influence specialty coffee's flavor, the final product's taste differs significantly from that of the coffee fruit. This difference can be compared to a cooked steak and a raw piece of beef.


If you want to taste the flavor of the coffee cherry but can't visit a coffee farm, you should try Cascara tea. Cascara is made from dried coffee skin and is a popular byproduct among Latin American coffee farmers. It is often called coffee cherry tea because it is more similar to tea than coffee.

According to the source, cascara is a beverage that has a unique flavor of coffee cherry and is both sweet and refreshing. It also contains caffeine levels similar to black tea. If you get it from a reliable and trustworthy producer, you can even eat it, similar to raisins or dried cranberries. There are conflicting views on its health benefits and potential risks of mold and mycotoxins, with the European Union banning its sale until further studies are conducted.

If you're a coffee lover, trying cascara can be a great experience. It's recommended to buy it from a trustworthy seller with a good aroma to ensure it's safe to consume. Trying it a few times is low risk. However, if you're concerned about mold, consider visiting a coffee farm to taste freshly picked organic cherries. Additionally, you can read an article on making coffee if you're new to it.

Frequently asked questions

Is coffee cherry tea safe to consume?

Cascara is generally considered safe to consume as it comes from a reliable and trustworthy producer and has an acceptable smell. However, there are conflicting views on its health benefits and potential risks of mold and mycotoxins, with the European Union banning its sale until further studies are conducted.

Where is the best place to buy coffee cherries?

The best place to buy coffee cherry is directly from a reputable producer or vendor, such as an organic farm or online seller. Always ensure that you are buying from a reliable source and that the product's aroma is acceptable before consuming it.

How do I make coffee cherry tea?

To make coffee cherry tea, boil water in a pot. Add the cascara to the boiling water and steep it for 5 minutes before straining the tea into a cup or mug. You can add honey, sugar, or other sweeteners as desired. Enjoy.

What flavor does coffee cherry have?

Coffee cherry has a unique, earthy flavor that is slightly sweet with hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and sometimes even honey. The taste is typically similar to dark chocolate or toasted nuts.

Are there health benefits to drinking coffee or cherry tea?

Some studies suggest that coffee cherries may have potential health benefits, including antioxidants and improving digestion. Additionally, the caffeine in the cascara may help to increase alertness and focus. However, more research is needed to understand the full extent of how consuming coffee cherries can affect human health.

How should coffee cherries be stored?

Coffee cherry is best stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to six months. To help preserve its flavor, keeping the cascara away from moisture, heat, and light is also important.

Check out Lifeboost Coffee Medium Roast.


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