Where Does Coffee Beans Come From? Origins of Coffee Beans

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks around the world. Did you ever wonder how that cup of joe ends up in your mug every morning? Most coffee-lovers don’t give much thought to where does coffee beans come from – they just enjoy it! But behind each fresh brew, there is an often long and complicated journey that brings its signature flavor and aroma to your senses. So let’s take a closer look at the process of harvesting and processing coffee beans, from cultivating carefully grown plants in exotic places all over planet Earth, to creating those delicious espresso shots for our espressos or cappuccinos with love.

What Is Coffee Beans?

Before we can appreciate the journey of coffee beans, it’s important to understand what they are. Coffee beans are actually the seed of a coffee plant, which is typically found in tropical regions like Africa and Central and South America. The seeds are encased in two different layers – an outer hull and parchment layer.

What Is Coffee Beans?
What Is Coffee Beans?

History of Coffee Beans

Coffee beans have been around since the 15th century, when they were discovered in Ethiopia. From there, coffee trading spread to the Middle East and then eventually Europe and the rest of the world. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1700s that coffee plants were first cultivated outside of Africa.

Where Does Coffee Beans Come From?

Where does coffee beans come from? Today most of the world’s coffee beans come from countries in Central and South America. Brazil is by far the world’s largest producer, followed by Vietnam and Colombia. The rest of the top ten producers are Indonesia, Ethiopia, India, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala and Peru.

Types Of Coffee Plants To Grow Coffee Beans

Discover the two main types of coffee plants: arabica and robusta, commonly used for coffee production. While Liberica and Excelsa also produce coffee beans, they are rare finds. Coffee beans grow from the coffee plant, which resembles a shrub and tree hybrid and can reach towering heights of over 30 feet. Coffee cherries are harvested from these plants, whose colors range from green to red and purple, indicating ripeness. Get to know the intricate process of coffee production in its entirety.


Arabica coffee dominates the global coffee industry, accounting for 75% of production. The largest coffee producers in the world, such as Ethiopia, India, Guatemala, Colombia, and Brazil, all grow arabica beans.

Specialty coffee brands, particularly those who offer blonde roasts, typically use arabica beans.

However, cultivating arabica is not without its challenges. The plant requires high elevations (2,000 ft+) and is more susceptible to pests than robusta coffee, making it more difficult and costly to produce.

Thanks to its flavorful characteristics, arabica is the premier choice for coffee enthusiasts worldwide.


Robusta coffee makes up the other 25% of global production and is a much hardier plant than arabica. Robusta grows at lower elevations (less than 1,300 ft) and can resist pests more effectively, which lowers its cost of production. In addition to being cheaper, robusta beans boast twice as much caffeine than arabica, making it an ideal choice for espresso roasts.

How Coffee Become Coffee Beans?

After harvesting coffee cherries, prompt processing is essential to retain their freshness and firmness. Depending on the location of the plantation and resource availability, there are two methods of processing employed.

How Coffee Cherries Become Coffee Beans?
How Coffee Cherries Become Coffee Beans?

Dry Method of Coffee Processing

In areas with limited clean water, the traditional method of drying coffee cherries in the sun prevails as the optimal choice. Reminiscent of raisin production, the cherries are meticulously spread out and rotated throughout the day to ensure all sides receive ample sunlight. To prevent mold or fungus growth caused by dampness, large protective covers are implemented during rain showers. This process typically lasts for several weeks, until the moisture content of the cherries falls below 11%, primarily dictated by the weather.

Wet Method of Coffee Processing

In places with plentiful water sources, the wet processing method is used. The coffee cherries are washed and the beans separated from their hulls, usually by a pulping machine. This process separates the cherry’s exterior layer (hull) from its inner seed (coffee bean). Afterwards, the beans are placed in tanks where does coffee beans come from, typically overnight. The result is a lighter tasting coffee bean with milder acidity.

Read more: best coffee shops in dallas

Bagging the Coffee Beans

The final step of coffee production is the ro and bagging process. Here the beans are roasted to various depending on the desired flavor profile and then packaged in air- bags. The must be ground before being brewed in order to extract essential oils that bring out their true flavors.

Milling Coffee Beans

Milling is the last step before packaging, and it involves removing the outer layer of parchment that still covers the beans from wet processing. There are two main types of milling: dry and wet. During dry milling, no water is used to remove the parchment layer; instead, machines are used to scrub the beans until all traces of parchment are removed. Wet milling uses a wet process to remove the parchment layer, by soaking the beans in water and then passing them through a series of screens and filters.

Roasting the Coffee Beans

Next, the coffee beans are put through a roasting process that brings out their flavor and aroma. The level of roasting will vary depending on the desired taste profile, from dark roast to light or blonde roast. Afterward, the beans are cooled using air vents in order to stop them from cooking further and preserve their flavors.

What Factors Affect the Quality of Coffee Beans?

Many factors affect the quality of coffee beans, from the type of plant to their growing conditions and processing methods. Arabica plants are known for their superior flavor profiles, but they take more time and effort to cultivate compared to robusta beans. The soil composition, elevation, and climate all play a role in determining the bean’s characteristics as well, making the taste and aroma of each harvest slightly different. Finally, the processing method used makes a difference in the flavor profile, with wet processed beans being milder than those that undergo dry milling.

Do Different Plants Produce Different Coffee Beans?

Yes, different plants can produce coffee beans with unique flavor profiles. Arabica beans are typically associated with specialty coffees due to their complexity and balance of flavors. Robusta beans, on the other hand, have higher caffeine content and tend to be used in less expensive blends or as a base for espresso roasts. Other varieties like Liberica and Excelca are more difficult to come by, but they offer their own distinct flavor profiles as well.

Do Different Plants Produce Different Coffee Beans?
Do Different Plants Produce Different Coffee Beans?

How Long Does It Take For A Coffee Plant To Grow Coffee Beans?

It typically takes about three to five years for a coffee plant to begin producing beans. The process of growing and harvesting the beans can take up to nine months, depending on the type of plant and growing conditions. It is important that the cherries be picked when ripe in order to get quality coffee beans, as unripe fruits will produce a dull and astringent taste.

How Do You Get Coffee Beans?

Coffee beans can be found in most grocery stores, specialty coffee shops, and online retailers. The best way to get fresh coffee beans is to buy from a local roaster who sources their beans directly from the farms. Local roasters will also offer more variety in terms of bean origin and roast profile, allowing you to find the perfect blend for you.

How To Make A Delicious Cup Of Coffee With Coffee Beans?

The best way to make a delicious cup of coffee is to start with high-quality beans and use the right grind size for your brewing method. If you’re using a French press, for example, you should aim for a coarse grind that will allow the essential oils in the beans to be extracted properly. Once you have selected the right grind size, the next step is to add the correct amount of beans and water. Finally, brewing time will vary depending on your preferred strength and flavor profile. Experimenting with different techniques can help you find your perfect cup of coffee!

Conclusion: where does coffee beans come from

Coffee beans come from coffee plants, which take up to five years to produce fruit. Once ripe, the cherries are harvested and processed using either wet milling or dry milling to remove the parchment layer and reveal the seeds inside. The seeds are then roasted according to preference in order to bring out their flavor and aroma. Quality of the beans is affected by the type of plant, growing conditions, and processing methods used. Finally, coffee beans can be found in grocery stores, specialty shops, and online retailers. With a little experimentation, you can find the perfect blend for your perfect cup of coffee.

FAQs: coffee beans

Where is the best place to grow coffee beans?

The best way to grow coffee beans is in countries with high altitudes and warm climates, such as Ethiopia, Colombia, Mexico, and India. These areas are known for having ideal conditions for growing Arabica plants, which produce the most flavorful beans.

Do all coffee beans come from the same place?

Discover where the majority of coffee beans originate from – a belt that encompasses the Equator and spans the globe. These beans are gathered from trees grown in various regions, such as Africa, Asia, Indonesia, and Latin America.

How many coffee beans are there?

Discover the distinct flavors of the 4 main coffee beans: Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, and Liberica. At NESCAFÉ, we expertly blend two of these varietals for a perfectly balanced cup.

What makes coffee beans different?

The tastes and smells of coffee are influenced by factors such as where and how the beans are cultivated. Just like how wine from different vineyards has distinct characteristics, coffee from various regions can offer a diverse range of flavors, colors, and shapes.

What makes a good coffee bean?

Discovering high-quality coffee beans involves a pleasant bitterness rather than a rancid or sharp taste. The color is another determining factor, with unroasted, or green coffee beans, exhibiting a pale, yellowish-beige hue with a touch of green.

Are all coffee beans healthy?

Coffee beans are naturally low in calories and do not contain any trans fat or cholesterol. The presence of antioxidants may provide some health benefits, such as reducing inflammation, protecting against free radical damage, and improving heart health. However, adding sugar and cream to coffee can significantly reduce its nutritional value.

How long do coffee beans last?

Discover how to keep your coffee fresh with these simple tips. Whole coffee beans can last up to a year in a sealed package, while ground coffee has a shorter shelf life and should be consumed within a few days of opening. Keep your coffee at its peak flavor for longer with our expert advice.

Do all coffee beans have oil?

The term “coffee beans” can be deceptive as they actually begin as seeds from a fruit. These seeds contain essential components for plant growth, including oils. While all coffee contains oil, it may not always be visible as it is dependent on the duration of roasting.

Does the coffee bean matter?

The flavor and aroma of coffee is the result of careful cultivation, harvesting, and roasting. Different beans will produce different flavors, so it’s essential to find a blend that best suits your palate. By taking the time to explore different origins and roast types, you can craft the perfect cup that brings out the fullest flavor of every bean.

How do you make coffee beans better?

Find out how to make the most of your coffee beans with these expert tips. Start by selecting high-quality, freshly roasted beans from a reliable source and store them in an airtight container away from heat, light, and moisture.

Are coffee beans better fresh?

Freshly roasted beans will always produce the best results. Look for a reliable roaster who can provide you with freshly roasted coffee on a regular basis. Buying in small quantities and frequently is the key to getting the most out of your beans.

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