Coffee beans

3 min


Ever wondered what kind of plant coffee comes from? Coffee beans start off green – they’re the raw seeds of the ‘coffee cherry’.

COFFEE GROWS ON TREES Where does coffee come from?

Did you know that coffee is a fruit? Green coffee beans are the seeds inside the fruit of the coffee tree.

Coffee trees produce red coffee cherries that are harvested by hand when the fruit is ripe. Inside the cherries are the green beans we roast to make the coffee you know and love.


All of a coffee’s taste and flavour potential is held within this green seed. This potential is ultimately unleashed through roasting the green coffee. Not all green beans are the same. They can look and taste differently depending on where they were grown, the type (varietal) of the coffee tree they came from, and how they were processed.



Once the cherries are harvested from coffee trees, they’re processed in several ways, depending on the coffee’s origin. Three of the most common approaches to processing are: washed, semi-washed and naturally-processed.

The end result of each is that the fruit of the coffee cherry is stripped away, leaving only the green coffee. Each method of processing contributes to the final taste you’ll experience when you drink it. But before it’s enjoyed in a cup of coffee, the beans have to be roasted. 


Green coffee beans can look and taste differently depending on their origin, varietal and how they’re processed.


Coffee roasting is the process that brings out the flavours we look for in coffee. During roasting, the beans go through a chemical reaction called the “Maillard reaction” which causes sugar browning, caramelization and all-around deliciousness.
Starbucks® roasts green coffee beans to bring out their aroma, acidity, body and flavour. Each coffee is roasted to a unique taste profile to highlight these inherent flavour characteristics: that’s why roasting is a true craft. Starbucks® roasters are skilled at roasting to bring out the potential of each distinctive green coffee.



Bringing out flavour

Roasting brings out coffee beans’ aroma, acidity, body and delicious flavour.

Roasting is part art, part science. The art of roasting allows Starbucks® roasters to create flavour; science is leveraged to ensure consistency. This is how we turn the green coffee beans taken from the coffee cherry into the flavourful, aromatic coffee customers know and love.


Next time you brew and sip a cup of Starbucks® coffee at home, why not take a moment to remember where it all began? 


Coffee sustainability <p>Meet some of the agronomists and farmers working to help make coffee sustainable so you can enjoy coffee well into the future.</p> 7 min


Why arabica beans? <p>The most essential ingredient in your cup of coffee? The beans. Here’s why we choose to use 100% arabica beans.</p> 3 min


C.A.F.E. Practices <p>The cornerstone of Starbucks<sup>®</sup> ethical sourcing approach to buying coffee is Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices.</p> 3 min