Three Thousand Seeds

There’s something poetic about seeds.  I remember the first time I planted one.  I was in kindergarten, and Miss Kennedy gave each of us students three bean seeds.  I held mine carefully in my hand, studying them.  Then we packed rich, black soil in Styrofoam cups and labeled the cups with our names, writing carefully in childish scrawl.  Miss Kennedy placed the cups along the windowsill above the hamster cage, and slowly over the course of the next few weeks, the beans began sprouting.  The green of the tender stalks and leaves was brilliant, pale and neon in the morning kindergarten light.  Ah, life.

The average coffee tree produces 10 lbs of coffee cherries (aka seeds) per year.  That’s roughly 2 lbs of green coffee beans.  Since green coffee beans weigh about .15 grams each, the coffee tree produces about 6040 green beans per growing season.   And since each cherry usually contains two beans, that means a single coffee tree produces three thousand seeds each year!

Each seed really is a little marvel, a tiny wonder.  You could call them embryonic trees.  They are the blueprints, the plan.  Nature’s good intentions.  What will be, will be ~ because of seeds.

Most seeds are made up of three basic parts:  an embryo, a supply of nutrients for the embryo, and a seed coat.  This is true of coffee seeds.  The outer red skin (the pericarp) is generally red and provides protection for the pulp (aka the mesocarp).  Beneath this is a rich and oily layer of pectin, followed by the parchment (aka the endocarp).  Directly surrounding the beans is a silver skin (the epidermis).  The coffee cherry generally contains two beans (the endosperm) at its center.  These face each other, their flat sides pressed together, like twins entwined in a womb.  (If a cherry contains only one lonely bean, it is delightfully called a peaberry.)

The next time you take a sip of strong, black coffee, you might remember that it all begins with a sweet white blossom budding into a red, lush cherry.  The cherry is layered and rich, protecting and nourishing its beans.  And those beans contain all the caffeine that you crave….  Yes ~ your mug of coffee begins with a something like a dream, a little red seed of hope.  And then it wakes you from your dreams, helping you face the day ahead to make those dreams a reality.

I’d say three thousand seeds are three thousand dreams, about to come true.