The Taste of Coffee Cherries: A Deliciously Unexpected Experience

When we think of coffee, we often picture a steaming cup of aromatic brew. But the journey to that beloved cup begins with a humble fruit: the coffee cherry. Bursting with vibrant flavors and intriguing nuances, the taste of coffee cherries offers a delightful and surprisingly unique experience. In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of coffee cherries, delving into their flavors, harvesting process, and potential for culinary exploration. Get ready for a deliciously unexpected adventure.

The flavor spectrum of coffee cherries

Coffee cherries offer a range of flavors beyond what we typically associate with coffee. The flavor profile of coffee cherries can vary depending on several factors, including the coffee variety, growing region, and ripeness. Here are some flavor characteristics commonly found in coffee cherries:

  1. Sweetness: Ripe coffee cherries often have a pleasant sweetness reminiscent of berries or stone fruits. This natural sweetness can range from delicate and floral to bold and syrupy, adding a delightful dimension to the taste experience.
  2. Acidity and Sourness: Coffee cherries can have a bright and tart acidity that adds vibrancy to the flavor. This acidity can be reminiscent of citrus, such as lemon or orange, or more complex, such as green apple or cherry-like tartness.
  3. Floral and herbal undertones: Some coffee cherries offer subtle floral or herbal notes that create an intriguing aromatic profile. These delicate nuances can be reminiscent of jasmine, lavender or even hints of tea-like qualities.
  4. Fruitiness: Coffee cherries often have a natural fruitiness that can range from bright and citrusy to deep and berry-like. Depending on the variety and ripeness, flavors such as strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, or even tropical fruits such as mango and pineapple may be present.
  5. Wine-like acidity: Some coffee cherries have an acidity similar to the nuanced complexity found in wine. These cherries may offer notes reminiscent of grapes, red wine, or even specific varietals such as pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon. This wine-like acidity adds a pleasant tang and depth to the flavor profile.
  6. Earthy undertones: Coffee cherries can have earthy undertones, evoking flavors of moss, forest floor or even subtle hints of cocoa or dark chocolate. These earthy characteristics contribute to the overall complexity of the coffee cherry flavor.
  7. Floral and tea notes: Some coffee cherries have delicate floral or tea-like notes reminiscent of jasmine, bergamot or chamomile. These aromatic nuances can add an elegant and refreshing dimension to the taste experience.

Harvesting and processing coffee cherries

The process of transforming coffee cherries into the familiar roasted coffee beans requires careful harvesting and processing techniques. Understanding these steps can provide a deeper appreciation for the flavors encapsulated within coffee cherries:

  • Selective harvesting: Skilled coffee farmers selectively hand-pick ripe coffee cherries when they have reached their optimal sweetness and ripeness. This meticulous process ensures that only the finest cherries are collected, enhancing the overall quality of the flavor.
  • Processing Methods: After harvesting, coffee cherries are processed to remove the outer layers of the fruit and extract the coffee beans. There are two primary processing methods: the washed (or wet) process and the natural (or dry) process. These methods produce different flavor profiles. Washed processing often results in cleaner, brighter flavors, while natural processing can intensify fruity and fermented notes.

The health benefits of Coffee Cherries

The health benefits of coffee cherries extend beyond their tantalizing flavor, making them an intriguing addition to a balanced lifestyle. While coffee beans are commonly associated with the energizing properties of caffeine, the cherry fruit itself offers a number of potential health benefits. In this article, we will explore the remarkable health benefits of coffee cherries, highlighting their antioxidant content, potential anti-inflammatory effects, and other notable contributions to overall well-being.

Rich in Antioxidants

Coffee cherries are packed with antioxidants, which are beneficial compounds that help protect the body from oxidative stress and cellular damage caused by free radicals. These antioxidants include polyphenols such as chlorogenic acids, quinic acids, and caffeic acids. Research suggests that these compounds may contribute to several health benefits, including

  • Anti-aging effects: Antioxidants in coffee cherries may help combat the harmful effects of free radicals, potentially reducing the signs of aging and promoting youthful-looking skin.
  • Cellular protection: The antioxidant properties of coffee cherries may support overall cellular health and protect against oxidative damage associated with chronic disease.

Potential anti-inflammatory effects

Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injury or infection. However, chronic inflammation has been linked to the development of several health conditions. Coffee cherries contain certain compounds that have potential anti-inflammatory effects, including

  • Anthocyanins: Anthocyanins are pigments responsible for the vibrant colors of coffee cherries. They have anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation in the body and potentially contribute to overall health.
  • Quinic Acid: Quinic acid, found in coffee cherries, has shown anti-inflammatory effects in some studies. It has the potential to modulate inflammatory pathways and contribute to a balanced inflammatory response.

Nutrient Density

Coffee cherries have an impressive nutrient profile, offering an array of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. While the exact composition may vary, coffee cherries may contain notable amounts of

  • Vitamin C: Coffee cherries are a natural source of vitamin C, which plays an important role in supporting the immune system, collagen synthesis, and overall well-being.
  • Potassium: Coffee cherries are a source of potassium, an essential mineral important for maintaining proper electrolyte balance, nerve function, and muscle health.
  • Fiber: Coffee cherries contain fiber, which supports digestive health, aids in satiety, and helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Potential Brain Health Benefits

Recent research suggests that coffee cherries may offer certain benefits for brain health and cognitive function. Some studies have suggested that the compounds found in coffee cherries, such as chlorogenic acids and polyphenols, may have neuroprotective effects and support brain health as we age. While more research is needed, these early findings point to the potential cognitive benefits of coffee cherries.

It’s important to note that while coffee cherries offer potential health benefits, individual responses may vary. In addition, more research is needed to fully understand the extent of these benefits and their specific mechanisms of action. As with any diet, it is recommended that you consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle.

Culinary exploration with coffee cherries

Beyond their role in coffee production, coffee cherries offer exciting culinary possibilities. The unique flavor profiles of coffee cherries can be explored in a variety of culinary creations. Here are a few ideas to inspire your culinary adventures:

  • Coffee Cherry Infusions: Infusing coffee cherries in water or other liquids can create flavorful beverages. Experiment with cold brews, syrups, or even cocktails to harness the natural sweetness and fruity essence of coffee cherries.
  • Coffee Cherry Desserts: Incorporate coffee cherries into desserts such as jams, sorbets, or baked goods. Their vibrant flavors can elevate traditional recipes and add a delightful twist to your sweet creations.
  • Coffee Cherry Pairings: Just as we pair wine with food, coffee cherries can be paired with certain dishes. Consider the fruity and tart characteristics of coffee cherries when selecting cheeses, chocolates, or savory dishes to create harmonious flavor combinations.

Coffee Cherry Varieties

Coffee cherries come in several varieties, each with its own distinct flavor profile. Some notable coffee cherry varieties include

  • Bourbon: Bourbon cherries are known for their sweetness and rich flavor, often with notes of caramel, chocolate, and red fruits.
  • Typica: Typica cherries are known for their delicate and nuanced flavors. They can have floral, tea-like or even wine-like characteristics, making them highly sought after by coffee connoisseurs.
  • Geisha (or Gesha): Geisha cherries have gained international recognition for their exceptional quality and unique flavor profiles. They often have vibrant floral notes, such as jasmine or bergamot, along with citrus and tropical fruit undertones.

Exploring different coffee cherry varieties allows coffee lovers to discover a wide range of flavors and experiences, adding another layer of excitement to the world of coffee appreciation.

Coffee Cherry Cascara

Cascara, which means “shell” or “skin” in Spanish, refers to the dried outer skin of the coffee cherry. This byproduct of coffee processing has gained popularity as a flavorful and caffeine-rich ingredient. When brewed as a tea or infused into other beverages, Coffee Cherry Cascara offers a distinctive flavor profile that combines notes of dried fruit, hibiscus and earthy undertones. It offers a unique and enjoyable alternative for those seeking a different coffee experience.


The taste of coffee cherries is a revelation, offering a wide range of flavors beyond what we typically associate with coffee. Exploring the natural sweetness, acidity and intriguing undertones of coffee cherries offers a delightful and unexpected gastronomic experience. From the careful harvesting and processing methods to the culinary possibilities they offer, coffee cherries invite us to embark on a flavorful journey beyond the traditional cup of coffee. Embrace the deliciously unexpected and enjoy the remarkable flavors that coffee cherries have to offer.


What does a coffee cherry taste like?

A coffee cherry has a unique flavor profile that combines sweetness, brightness and fruitiness. When consumed alone, the pulp of a coffee cherry has a mildly sweet taste with a subtle tang. The flavor can vary depending on the variety and ripeness of the cherry, but often has notes of tropical fruits such as berries, citrus, or even floral undertones.

The outer skin of the coffee cherry, known as the cascara, contributes additional flavors. Cascara is often dried and brewed as a tea, offering a distinct flavor profile that includes notes of dried fruit, hibiscus, and earthy undertones. Overall, the flavor of a coffee cherry is a delightful blend of sweetness and fruitiness, and often carries the aromatic characteristics of the coffee beans from which it is eventually extracted.

Does coffee cherry taste good?

That is not to say that the coffee cherry isn’t tasty; it is quite pleasant, to be fair. A ripe cherry is very sweet and tastes like a watermelon combined with raspberry or apricot. While it can taste great, there is not enough flesh to justify eating it like other fruits.

What is coffee cherry good for?

Coffee fruit can boost immunity.

Early studies have reported that coffee cherry extract can improve immune function and activate immune cells in mice. Due to its nutritional properties, it may also have a beneficial effect on human immune cells.

Do coffee cherries have caffeine?

Coffee beans are the seed of a fruit, commonly referred to as a coffee cherry. This small, fleshy fruit can vary in color based on its variety, but is most often yellow or red when ripe. The cherry itself contains caffeine (that’s how coffee gets its caffeine) and is high in antioxidants.

What does coffee cherry tea taste like?

Much like coffee, the taste of cascara can vary greatly depending on origin, varietal, and processing method. Our cascara tends to have a dry, mildly fruity taste with black-tea like tannins, light acidity, and sweetness. We enjoy the distinctly Kona flavor and think you will too.

Can I eat a coffee cherry?

You can eat the cherries, brew the husks, taste its unusual flavor in the form of a dessert, or even buy a skin product made from coffee cherries.

Is there cat poop in coffee?

Kopi luwak is made from coffee beans plucked from civets’ feces. This is bad news for civets. It’s the world’s most expensive coffee, and it’s made from poop. Or rather, it’s made from coffee beans that are partially digested and then pooped out by the civet, a catlike creature.

Can you eat coffee berry?

Yes, the coffee fruit is edible. It is not toxic to human beings and animals. There is not a lot of pulp surrounding the coffee beans but you will get a refreshing taste when you eat the coffee fruit. You will also get a dash of caffeine which is why most people chug on coffee.

Is coffee berry good for you?

High in antioxidants

Coffee fruit is loaded with beneficial antioxidants and polyphenols. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful compounds called free radicals, which can otherwise contribute to cell damage and chronic disease over time ( 1 ).