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SirEmentaler
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Return to thread2019-07-16 04:28
Like I said, these are "conclusions" rather than direct results of research, but I believe I can make a solid case for my statement.

First off, it's important to understand the categories we're talking about. When speaking of "five a day", we mean what is typically referred to as "five portions of fruit and vegetables". The issue with this wording is that whereas "fruit" has a very well-defined, strict botanical meaning, "vegetable" is in fact a purely culinary/cultural category that applies to a wide range of edible parts of plants. This distinction introduces some confusion; many people seem to believe that because e.g. tomato is a fruit, it is not a vegetable - in reality, tomato is both a fruit in botanical terms and a vegetable in culinary terms (which, again, are the only terms the word "vegetable" is meaningful in).

The word "fruit", however, is ambiguous. Like I mentioned, it has a botanical meaning, but it is also occasionally used as a culinary term to describe sweet parts of plants, commonly used in desserts. In this sense, tomato and cucumber are typically not considered fruit, but rhubarb is, despite the edible part of rhubarb being its leaf stalk. When referring to "fruit and vegetables", I would thus argue that we mean fruit in the culinary sense, which includes rhubarb. Otherwise it would seem inconsistent to mix a scientific term with a cultural one.

Now that that's clear, it's important to mention that there are several other categories of plant parts used in cuisine, and among them are nuts. This is another term that has both a botanical and a culinary meaning, but it makes sense to keep using the latter for the sake of consistency. In particular, many types of culinary nuts are actually seeds of their corresponding plants rather than botanical nuts; this includes almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, and pistachios. Wikipedia loosely defines nut in this sense as "any large, oily kernel found within a shell and used in food".

As for coffee beans, biologically they are seeds of the coffee plant. They are "large" in the same sense as peanuts or pistachios are, and undoubtedly oily and used in food. The only troublesome part may be that they are not normally found inside a hard shell, to my knowledge. Personally, I consider this a technicality - they are still found inside a plant part, it's just that this surrounding part is soft rather than hard. Happens to the best of us. And if you take into account the travesty that is the coconut, you may be more considerate towards inclusion of the coffee bean (to its credit, even in the culinary sense, Wikipedia refuses to acknowledge coconuts as nuts, but it can't hide the fact it's still right there in the name). Intuitively, coffee beans also possess more traits we associate with nuts than fruit or vegetables.

The only type of beverage I'm aware of that is made from nuts is alternative milk. Most common is almond milk, but other types of nuts are also used to produce vegan milk, such as cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, or macadamia nuts. It follows that coffee, a beverage made from nuts, is thus a type of nut milk.