Can you eat coffee cherries? (+7 processing steps)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat coffee cherries?”, and how is the coffee processed?

Can you eat coffee cherries?

Yes, you can eat coffee cherries. Though it might not be as pulpy as other berries, it has a sweet and floral taste. The flesh of the cherry is thin and surrounds the coffee beans. Outside the beans is a slimy protective layer called the mucilage. The coffee cherry is very rough and sticky to chew.

The coffee tree produces aromatic white flowers that turn into coffee fruit. Unripe coffee cherries have a green color. They develop a darker red hue as they mature. Raed on if you want to know what does coffee cherries taste like.

What does a coffee cherry taste like?

Coffee tastes predominantly sweet. The sweetness varies with the variety of the coffee. This sweetness is coupled with some delicate flavors. These flavors can taste like watermelon combined with hints of raspberry or apricot. Some varieties might taste like mango or jasmine.

If you want to know what a fresh coffee cherry tastes like, you can brew yourself a cup of Cascara tea. Cascara tea is made from dried coffee pulp and retains much of the flavor and taste of the fresh berry. 

Cascara tea is also known as Coffee cherry tea. It tastes like coffee because of the caffeine present in it but retains the freshness and sweetness of the coffee cherries.

However, coffee berry did not gain much attention as a fruit you would eat in your day to day life. Because there is not much flesh like a fruit to speak of. Though the taste is pleasant, nobody would want to chew on rough and sticky skin.

Can you eat coffee beans?

Yes, you can eat coffee beans as a matter of fact but at what cost? Unroasted coffee beans are quite tough and you need strong teeth to chew these beans. Eating unroasted coffee beans or drinking their brew has been linked to assisting weight loss. But there are better and reliable options to try if you want to lose weight.

Eating roasted coffee beans does not sound like a wild idea. These are much more palatable than unroasted coffee beans in terms of texture and flavor. In fact, roasted coffee beans coated with chocolate has quite a humble audience.

The nutritional profile of a Coffee cherry

A coffee cherry, that weighs 100 grams provides about 144.9 calories and other nutrients in the following estimated amounts.

Calcium-425 mg

Magnesium-333 mg

Iron-49.6 mg

Sodium-15.7 mg

Caffeine-530 mg

Anti-oxidants-22 mmol

How is coffee processed?

After harvesting mature coffee cherries, they go through the following steps.

Processing the cherries

Drying of the coffee cherries is carried out in two ways.

  1. In the Dry method, coffee beans are laid out under the sun to dry out naturally. This method is popular in water-scarce countries. The aim is to get a cherry with only 11% water left. To prevent spoilage and even drying, the cherries are flipped over frequently.
  2. In the Wet method, the pulp, and skin are removed from the cherries just after harvesting. The cherries are dumped into water-filled fermentation tanks for 12-24 hours to dissolve the mucilaginous layer around the beans. In the end, the beans are dried.

Drying the beans

The coffee cherries processed by the wet method are dried to an 11% moisture content either under sunlight or in a machine dryer.

Milling the beans

Hulling machines remove the entire hull and the endocarp from the dry-processed and the wet-processed coffee cherries respectively. An additional polishing step removes any remaining silver layer from the cherries. Lastly, the beans are graded and sorted based on their size, weight, color, and other deformities.

Exporting the beans

Milled beans are shipped in jute or sisal bags or plastic containers.

Tasting the coffee

In this step, a cupper tests the coffee for its quality in a controlled environment. The coffee beans are crushed after visual inspection. A cup of coffee is brewed and the cupper first noses and then tastes the brew.

Roasting the coffee

Coffee beans are roasted at 550°F. The beans are constantly rotated to keep them from burning. This step involves Pyrolysis that contributes to much of the coffee’s flavor and aroma. Pyrolysis releases fragrant oils from the coffee beans. After roasting, coffee beans are cooled either using air currents or water.

Grinding and brewing

The coffee is ground, ready to be brewed in a cup. Finer grinds are brewed faster than the coarser grounds.


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat coffee cherries?”, and how is the coffee processed?


Sana Ameer

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *