The story of a coffee berry

There once was a coffee berry. It was an ordinary berry in every way. Small, round, and red like all the other ripe berries on the tree.

It was happy enough as a berry, I mean, as happy as it could get, right?

It didn’t aspire to be anything other than a berry.

Then one day, it was picked from the tree.

“Ouch!” It cried.

It hurt a bit, but it was also quite excited to see something other the familiar plantation where it had lived its life so far.

It had no idea what lay ahead in its future. I mean, it had a good life on the tree, but it knew that nothing lasted forever and that one day it would wither on its old familiar branch.

So even though the coffee factory was a bit scary and unfamiliar, it thought, “What have I got to lose?”

Turns out a lot!

First, it had its skin removed!


It was a pretty skin, too! Nice and red and smooth and sweet.

Left as a slimy seed, it felt weird without its protective skin, but soon began to enjoy its all new and different look.

It even began to show off to the other berries, saying, “Look at me and my new skinless self!”

It made fun of the others who still had skin, thinking they didn’t know what they were missing.

But soon the coffee berry (now a bean) was in for a rude shock. It was left to dry out in the sun with all the other skinless berries (beans).

It realised it wasn’t that different after all, and that all berries were destined for the same process, just at different times and that eventually, everyone got their time in the sun. Even those who weren’t chosen due to not being red enough or shiny enough still served their purpose, dropping off into the rich soil to fertilise it for the next batch of berries which was a very important job.

With this thought, the bean realised that he was no different from the other berries and beans, because they all grew from the same soil. There was nothing separating himself from the other berries except his own tiny berry brain that saw his berry skin as the most defining part of him. If he never left the safe branch he grew from, he wouldn’t have realised this!

After that revelation, the bean no longer cared about what his skin looked like (now dried out by the sun). He was grateful for everything he had learned so far, even though some of it had hurt. Actually, he saw that the painful parts of the process had taught him the most. They had made him realise he was part of something eternal and never-ending, and that made it all worth it.

With this knowledge, he was able to let go of all his fear about the next stage of the process.

He allowed himself to be put through machines which removed more layers of skin.

Layers he never knew he had!

At every stage he became less and less of the old berry he once thought he was. And yet, he felt freer and less attached to anything than he ever had.

The knowledge that he was being prepared for something special grew within him. He didn’t know what, and he didn’t need to. As one tiny part of the infinite whole, he couldn’t yet bear the burden of responsibility which came with knowing. His experiences so far had taught him that whenever he thought he knew something about himself he was wrong anyway!

So why try to figure out what he was being prepared for, or what lay at the end of the process? All he needed to do was sit back and enjoy it.

He soon caught a glimpse of the knowledge that he wasn’t really destined to just be a bean. He remembered his journey so far and how every step of the process had been preparing him for the next.

If he wasn’t destined to be a bean, well he had no business being one! He thought.

He allowed himself to be roasted with all the other beans. The exquisite aroma which they collectively created made them heady with joy that ordinary coffee berries could produce such a beautiful, bitter-sweet flavour – a result of every ray of sun and drop of water each of them had ever experienced.

The bean was no longer a bean and he didn’t miss the skin or hard shell which used to define him. When the water which brought him to life in the first place flowed through his new form, he became a rich, delicious, mysterious concoction which people could not get enough of!

Who knew that the tiny red berry on the tree would contain so much potential inside it? It certainly didn’t. But in the hands of the master craftsman and a carefully designed process of exact timings and temperatures, it was led through the journey needed to unveil its true nature.

It probably would have never volunteered for the process, truth be told, as it was a bit scarey and painful. But it was glad it trusted every stage of the journey rather than worrying about the future, for it was in safe, guiding hands all along.

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The story of a coffee berry — 15 Comments

  1. This is a very special story, Sarah. What a lovely reminder for all of us. :)

    • Yes! You are so bang on, Karyn (as usual!!). I had the photos from the coffee plantation we visited a while ago, and never thought they would come together like that, but enjoyed the process of writing it so much!