Cherrypicking Sweetness

Good coffee does not need sugar, and bad coffee does not deserve it. Today we explain you why:

Coffee is more than a caffeine fix. At its origin, the coffee bean is the seed of a fruit: the coffee cherry, which can express fruity and naturally sweet flavors under the right conditions.

One of the main conditions to produce naturally sweet coffees is that the coffee cherries are picked from coffee trees at their peak ripeness. Satisfying this condition, however, is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process because not all coffee cherries ripen at the same time – even if they grow in the same farm, the same tree and even within the same cluster!

Sugar levels increase as fruits ripen, and in the case of coffee, cherries turn from green to bright red, with some varieties turning yellow. As you can see in the pictures above, coffee clusters have a mix of green and red (or yellow) cherries during the harvest season – always! Hence, naturally sweet coffees are hand selected, or literally, cherry picked!

Additionally, farmers need to make multiple rounds over the same coffee trees during the harvest season to pick cherries as they ripen.

When it comes to coffee, speed and automation can facilitate the collection of large volumes but at a hefty expense: lack of sweetness.

Think of an orange juice produced from mixing sweet, ripe oranges with tart and immature oranges. The resulting beverage will be sour, hence, adding sugar becomes almost necessary to make the beverage enjoyable. Thus, one bad, rotten orange can completely impact, or ruin, the taste of an entire batch.

We have become accustomed to adding cream and sugar to mask the effects of coffees coming from unripe or overripened cherries. Volume-driven businesses purposefully over-roast their coffees to deliver a consistent flavor, but the resulting coffee beverage tends to be bitter and expresses the roast profile instead of the natural beans’ profile.


Good coffee does not need sugar, and bad coffee does not deserve it. When it comes to coffee, there is no right nor wrong answer – just different preferences. Despite the naturally sweet notes, some people would still prefer to drink their coffee with milk, cream and/or sugar, and that is fine!

At Colibri Mountain Coffee, we pride ourselves for offering naturally sweet coffees, handpicked with love in Colombia. Next time you are sipping coffee, we hope you keep in mind that your bold, black beverage was once part of a glowing red or yellow cherry.