What to Know About Coffee Fruit

Medically Reviewed by Zilpah Sheikh, MD on September 25, 2023
4 min read

‌If you start your day with a cup of coffee, you must be familiar with coffee beans. But what is coffee fruit?

The beans used to brew your morning coffee are the roasted seeds of the coffee fruit. Once the seeds are removed, the fruit is generally thrown away.

However, research has shown that the coffee fruit has various health benefits and uses.

‌Coffee fruit, also known as coffee cherry or coffee berry, is a small, round stone fruit produced by the coffee plant. It is about the size of a grape and grows in bunches on the coffee plant. When raw, it is green in color and turns into a deep red, reddish-purple, or yellowish-red color as it ripens.

The coffee bean lies within the pit of the stone fruit. Raw coffee beans are extracted from the fruit for processing and roasting to make coffee, while the fruit is discarded.

‌Coffee plants are grown in tropical regions and can carry several coffee berries with different levels of ripeness. There are two main types of coffee plants:

Coffea Arabica (Arabica). This coffee originated in Ethiopia. Its coffee beans are flat and long. Arabica coffee is mild and aromatic and contains lower caffeine content than Robusta coffee. It accounts for 70% of the world's coffee supply.

Coffea canephora (Robusta). This coffee is grown in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Brazil. Its beans are round and small. Robusta coffee is stronger than Arabica, containing 50% to 60% more caffeine than Arabica. It’s mainly used in blends and instant coffees. It accounts for 30% of the world’s coffee supply.

‌Studies have shown that the coffee berry has numerous health effects, from increasing brain function to boosting immunity.

The coffee fruit is considered to be a superfood because it is rich in the following nutrients: 

  • Caffeine
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • Magnesium
  • Antioxidants
  • Chlorogenic acid
  • Quinic acid
  • Diterpenes (cafestol and kahweol)

What we don’t know is the exact amount of coffee fruit that you should eat.

‌Research is being conducted and scientists are working to discover the benefits of coffee berries. Some of those potential health benefits include the following:

Coffee fruit is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. Coffee berries are filled with antioxidants and polyphenols, such as chlorogenic acid. They protect your body from free radical damage, which can cause oxidative damage to cells and result in diseases.

Coffee fruit can protect your brain. Studies have shown that coffee fruit helps protect your brain from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other age-related diseases. The protective effects of coffee berries is because of the procyanidins or polyphenols. Coffee fruit raises your levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a protein that protects your brain cells from damage and improves brain function.  

Coffee fruit can lower blood pressure. A recent study trial has shown that chlorogenic acid present in green coffee extract can potentially decrease blood pressure. Coffee berries have the potential to lessen the risk of heart disease and stroke. However, we need to do further research to study the exact effects of coffee fruit on heart health. 

Coffee fruit can promote weight loss. Some studies suggest that green coffee fruit extract can help promote weight loss. Chlorogenic acid has been shown to reduce weight and burn fat. However, we need more research to show how coffee fruit can promote weight loss in humans.

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. However, human trials haven’t been done yet. 

Coffee fruit has anti-cancer effects. Coffee is known to ward off the formation and spread of cancer, especially liver and endometrial cancer. Several animal studies have shown that coffee fruit has anti-cancer properties. However, more research is needed for us to understand if coffee berries can help protect humans from cancer.

Coffee fruit can promote anti-aging. Coffee fruit’s powerful antioxidants can help your skin look youthful. Several manufacturers use coffee berry extracts in their skincare and cosmetic products.

‌Coffee fruit has several health benefits, but you should use moderation. Consuming high doses may result in health risks and side effects. Although studies show that animals don’t tolerate high doses of coffee fruit extracts well, we need to do safety and effectiveness studies in humans.

You can find coffee fruit products at health stores and pharmacies in the form of juices, extracts, pills, and capsules. You can also find it in supplement form. Because it can help maintain your skin, skincare and cosmetic makers are adding more and more to their products.

Talk to your doctor before you try coffee fruit. They’ll help you decide if it’s a good choice for you based on any health conditions you may have.