What Food Group Is Coffee In? Gateway to the World of Coffeeholic

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Coffee is a very famous drink, preferred by many people worldwide for its distinctive flavor, aroma, and ability to trigger the conscious system. After drinking coffee, you can wake up immediately, feeling enthusiastic and energetic to start a working day. 

However, there is one common question that many people ask when they start drinking coffee: What food group is coffee in? Is it harmful to their diet? Is there any nutrient they should avoid? Scroll down this post to find out the answer!

What Food Group Is Coffee In?

The Coffee Plant Itself Is A Fruit

What food group is coffee in? It is in the FRUIT group. In terms of science, coffee has the composition of beans, so it can be considered as “fruit” because beans are in “fruit.” 

What about coffee’s main function? Even though coffee is extracted into liquids, its main ability is not to supply water but to energize. So, we’d better not put it in the “drinks” group. “Fruit and vegetables” is the most correct.

A Short Clarification

Let’s dive deep into coffee’s features to understand more about this amazing “fruit.” 

In terms of nutrients, coffee seems to have nothing common with other fruits and plants in the same food group. It does not have vitamins, minerals, or the ability to trigger the metabolism process. Contrastly, coffee, if overused, can block the metabolism procedure – opposite to what vegetables do.  

Although coffee belongs to the “fruit and vegetables” group, if you classify food for diet making, please do not put it into “fruit.” It is quite special – functionally, not belonging to any particular category!

When consuming coffee, you should pay attention to what you are adding to it. Sugar, honey, milk, cream, everything is soluble with coffee, but they will make different nutritional functions. For example, coffee with milk provides a sweet taste and is suitable for chilling at noon. Meanwhile, we suggest using coffee with sugar in the morning to be energized.

How Many Food Groups Are There?

Theoretically, there are seven food groups classified on the nutrient elements. All the food in the same group share the same major nutrient and serve the same nutrition demand for humans.

Drinks

Water, coffee, tea, etc. – anything that has the liquid form and does not share a distinctive nutrition need (like milk) but provides water will be categorized to this group. 

Sugary products

Based on the name, you can immediately recognize the main characteristic of this food group. All food belonging to “sugary products” must contain a high amount of sugar like sugar, jam, chocolate, candy, cakes. Soft drinks can be classified as sugary products with their high amount of sugar components.

Dairy products

In the previous segment, we mentioned “milk isn’t from the drinks group,” – so here is the group it belongs to: Dairy products are the compilation of products originating from milk. So, dairy-originated food like milk, yogurt, cheese, butter all belong to this category.

Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables (and juices) are combined in one class. The main purpose of this food group is to supply minerals and fiber. However, for some cases, scientists put high-fat fruits like coconuts, avocados into the fat group below, not this group. The categorization is just subjective, not fixed.

Fats 

High-fat fruits like coconut belong to this class, and some dairy products like butter and cheese can be classified in this section. Yet,  there is no fixed position. Cream and greasy food like cereal grains and nuts can be in the fats group to the add-in.

Cereals

Cereal, pulses, and some grainy, starchy vegetables like potato are in the “cereals” or “grain” group. They contain complex carbohydrates, making them an important energy source. When people feel hungry and need to supply energy, they will choose food in the “grain” group. 

Meat

Meat, fish, pork, chicken, eggs, or any food containing essential amino acids – the main protein sources for your body, belong to the “meat” group. 

How Many Kinds of Coffee Beans Are There?

Four distinct and popular kinds of coffee beans are Robusta, Arabica, Liberica, and Excelsa. 

Arabica

The first coffee bean type is Arabica. This is the most well-known and widely-used coffee in the world, especially in the North American region. How does it taste? Well, it is bittersweet and more acidic than robusta.

Arabica beans grow well in tropical countries with high humidity. Thus, South American countries like Brazil, Peru are in the world’s top foremost Arabica exporters. 

Arabica is called the “coffee for beginners” due to its low coffee content. For those who have never consumed coffee, we suggest choosing Arabica first. The caffeine is low.  

Robusta

Just like its name – robust, robusta coffee beans are high in caffeine. It is indeed not a good kick start for new coffee drinkers, but for coffeeholic, it’s a must to try this coffee!

The robusta coffee is famous in Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, and African countries. The foremost robusta exporters now are Thailand and Vietnam.

In terms of taste, robusta is strong, sharp, deep, and bitter. Sipping the first sip of robusta, you may be shocked because of its high caffeine level and (super) strong bitterness. 

Liberica

Liberica is a rare treat. You can only find Liberica coffee beans in specific climates, which are so scarce to harvest commonly. This also explains why the price for Liberia is quite high. 

What does it taste like? Liberica is smoky, butty, and spicy. It tastes like a combination of dark chocolate, berry, and spice. The aftertaste is woody and lingering in your mouth. Such a special coffee type!

Excelsa

Last but not least, we want to introduce Excelsa coffee. Technically speaking, it belongs to the Liberica family, but the taste is a bit different. 

Excelsa grows well in Southeast Asia climate – tropical, hot, humid, rainy. It tastes bittersweet, mildly spicy, woody and tart. The addition of the “tart” somewhat makes it special.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Coffee Harmful To Your Health? 

“Yes” or “no”; the answer depends on your condition. For most people, coffee is safe if they consume moderately (maximum 4 cups per day). The ideal rate is about 1 or 2 cups of coffee. If you follow this rule, then it is safe.

If you exceed the limit, your body gets affected by diarrhea, headache, stomachache, and nausea. Some people may vomit or be exhausted.

Who Should Not Drink Coffee? 

You should not drink coffee if you are:

  • People with arrhythmias (e.g., irregular heartbeat)
  • People who often feel anxious
  • People who have trouble sleeping
  • Children and teens (under 18 years old)
  • Pregnant 

If none of these apply, then monitor how your body reacts when you have coffee. Does it:

  • Give you the jitters?
  • Increase anxious feelings?
  • Give you heart palpitations?
  • Affect your digestion (e.g., heartburn, etc.)?

If your answer is yes, you should get away from coffee!

When Should You Not Drink Coffee? 

Experts recommend people stop drinking coffee after 2 p.m. If you still need a caffeine boost, try drinking tea instead.

Final Thoughts

What food group is coffee in? Although it belongs to the “fruit” group, you should consider it an individual part of your diet because coffee doesn’t provide any vitamins or minerals like other fruits. 

Additionally, there are four types of coffee beans, and each type has its unique taste. Give it a try, and you may love it!

Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California, Berkeley. And then, I finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). ugvermont.com is a website that I dedicate my whole heart to sharing all knowledge related to coffee. Read more