Why coffee fruit is a superfood!
My name is Vanessa and I am a co-founder of I Am Grounded.
The most common question I get about I Am Grounded is around coffee being a fruit. So, I wrote this informative and easy to digest blog for any curious minded people to learn more about coffee and its fruit.
By now you may have guessed that coffee is actually a fruit! This juicy red fruit doesn't taste like coffee instead resembles a berry-like flavour. The cherry is picked, washed /naturally processed, sorted, and de-pulped in order to retrieve the small seeds it encompasses. The seeds will eventually make their way down the coffee chain ending up in your home country either roasted or as green beans, and eventually brewed.
But where did it all begin?
About 1000 years ago, the Oromo people of Ethiopia made what was arguably the world's first energy snack, mashing together goat fat and coffee cherries for a natural buzz. In the 1800's coffee became an imported good along with sugar and cocoa and began its notoriety in European trading house. The caffeine would give traders the burst of energy they needed to trade stocks and conduct business. As coffee made its way across the globe, our addiction to this delicious brew also grew, and today we consume roughly 3 billion cups a day.
Meanwhile at origin, when not upcycled the remaining pulp and skin of the coffee fruit, is thrown into a pile of other cherries, breaking down and leeching into the surrounding environment.
The Environmental Problem
Each year, millions of coffee drinkers sip on their coffees without knowing the truth behind their cup. On a global scale, the coffee industry produces approximately 10 billion kilos of coffee fruit waste annually to make those cups of coffee. Talking about carbon dioxide emissions, that’s about 16.6 million tonnes of CO2 or 0.2% of the world's CO2 emissions. To understand the huge impact, we must understand first that coffee is actually a cherry that grows on a shrub, and at least 80% of the coffee fruit is wasted during processing. In fact, it is one of the only fruits where the seeds are consumed and not the fruit itself.
Packed Full of Antioxidants
Details of the amount of Polyphenols & Antioxidants in the Coffee Cherry Pulp.
Effect of Whole Coffee Fruit Extract on BDNF (whole coffee fruit NOT pulp).
Potential alternative uses of coffee by-products by the International Coffee Organisation - good overview of positive potential for coffee waste by-product use and benefits.
Article on the wet process management of the coffee cherry and the negative impacts on waterways and river systems - Specifically in Ethiopia.