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Are Coffee Beans Nuts?

If you love drinking coffee, you may be fascinated by the different types of coffee beans you see in roasters or coffee shops.

There are many coffee beans in the world, and they all have a unique flavor and aroma. Some are better for brewing espressos, while others are best for cold brews. There are also those that make better drip or percolator coffee.

coffee beans nuts

While you consider these facts about coffee, you may think of them as beans. But are they really beans, or are they nuts? Can you put them in the same category as peanuts, cashew nuts, or macadamia nuts?

We’ve asked that question mainly because some people consider coffee beans nuts. There has been a debate concerning this issue for some time. Let’s explore it.


Why Do Some People Call Coffee Beans Nuts?

Coffee beans are one of the products we harvest from trees that are placed in the wrong category based on people’s misconceptions. Some people think they are berries, while others refer to them as the fruits of coffee trees.

There are also those that say coffee beans are nuts. These are the people that seem to be far out there when it comes to describing coffee beans. After all, coffee beans look like berries, and they are referred to as the fruit of a coffee plant before they are processed. So, why call them nuts?

One of the reasons for misclassifying coffee beans as nuts is their appearance after processing. They are usually dark or pale and round with a partition in the middle that may remind you of peanuts. That similarity to small nuts gives some people the idea to call them nuts.

Some coffee processes also make some people to mistakenly refer to coffee beans as nuts. An example is the roasting of coffee beans with pine nuts during the production of piñon coffee beans.

These factors give coffee beans the reputation of being nuts, but they are not. There are also other names assigned to them that are wrong. Let’s look at a few of them.


Other Misleading Terms Used to Refer to Coffee Beans

There are also those that think coffee beans are a type of bean due to the term “beans” that is included in their name. That may also occur because of their similarity to beans in size and shape.

But the truth is, the term “beans” is scientifically used to refer to the fruits of leguminous plants that are always in pods. Some examples are peas, red beans, and peanuts.

On the other hand, coffee beans are ensconced in cherries until they are processed. Therefore, they are not the same thing.

Some people also refer to coffee beans as fruits or cherries because they are the products of the coffee plant. That is incorrect because the cherries from which we get coffee beans are the fruits of the coffee tree and not what is inside them.

In reality, coffee beans are seeds. They are usually harvested from cherries that are red in color when ripe. Once coffee cherries undergo processing, only the seeds of the cherries are left, which is what we refer to as coffee beans. They are the light, medium, or dark roasts you get on grocery store shelves that are used to brew Espressos, Americanos, and milky coffees such as Lattes.

You may feel like knowing coffee beans are seeds is not enough for you to stop thinking of them as nuts. How do you differentiate them? Here are a few facts.


The Difference Between Nuts and Coffee Beans

Several characteristics differentiate coffee seeds from nuts. First off, nuts have a hard outer shell, while coffee seeds have a soft pulp around them that makes up the coffee cherry.

There is also the fact that all coffee seeds, apart from Peaberry Coffee seeds, are found in pairs in one cherry. On the other hand, nuts are harvested as single nuts in a pod, some examples being hazelnuts.

You should also consider that a seed is a structure that you can use to grow a plant, which is why coffee beans are called seeds.

And while beans belong to the leguminous family, coffee beans are not a part of them. Coffee plants come from the Rubiaceae family, while beans come from the  Fabaceae family.


Different Types of Coffee Beans

Once you know that coffee beans are seeds, you may wonder about the different varieties available. That will broaden your knowledge of coffee beans, ensuring you make the best choice when purchasing coffee beans.

Coffee beans are classified into three categories. These are Arabica coffee beans, Robusta coffee beans, and Liberica coffee beans.

Arabica coffee beans make up about 70 percent of the coffee produced in the world. That may be because they can self-pollinate themselves.

The quality of coffee that Arabica coffee beans make is also preferred by most coffee drinkers. These dark, flat, and oval beans brew coffee characterized by sweet fruity undertones and chocolate flavors.

Liberica coffee beans are quite different from Arabica beans because of their teardrop shape and larger size. They are rare coffee beans grown in Malaysia and other Asian countries with a fruity and floral aroma.

These coffee beans make bold, woody-tasting coffee that’s traditionally served black in the Asian countries that produce them. They are an ideal bean to use in coffee blends.

Robusta coffee beans are the third category of coffee beans found in the world. They are also known as Coffea Canephora beans.

These round, pale-colored coffee beans are considered inferior to Arabica or Liberica coffee beans despite their higher caffeine content. They are characterized by nutty flavors and are often used to brew highly – caffeinated brews such as Espresso.

Although there are three major groups of coffee beans in the world, they differ in terms of flavor depending on the country that produces them.

For example, Arabica coffee beans grown in Sumatra have a different flavor from those produced in Kenya or Harrar in Ethiopia, even if they have fruity undertones. That makes coffee an exciting beverage that you can learn a lot from in terms of the flavors of different coffee beans and how to brew the best coffee with each bean.



Now you know what to call a coffee bean. You don’t have to think of them as nuts or legumes, as is common with some people with little knowledge concerning coffee beans. You can now refer to them as the seed found in a coffee cherry which is the fruit of a coffee plant.

So, the next time someone tells you coffee beans are nuts, be sure to tell them they are seeds and why.

We’ve also given you the different types of coffee beans available. Why don’t you make a hobby out of trying them? There are many exciting coffee brands, such as Peaberry coffee, that you may enjoy. It will be fun discovering what differentiates one coffee blend from another.


Also read Are Coffee Beans Real Beans?