Arabinogalactans and galactomannans from coffee beverages are part of the dietary fiber complex. Chemical structures and fermentability of soluble dietary fiber obtained from a standard filter coffee beverage (Coffea arabica, origin Colombia, medium roasted) by human intestinal bacteria were investigated. One cup (150 mL) of filter coffee contained approximately 0.5 g of soluble dietary fiber (enzymatic-gravimetric methodology), 62% of which were polysaccharides. The remainder was composed of Maillard reaction products and other nonidentified substances. Galactomannans and type II arabinogalactans were present in almost equal proportions. Coffee dietary fiber was readily fermented by human fecal slurries, resulting in the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). After 24 h of fermentation, 85% of total carbohydrates were degraded. In general, arabinosyl units from the polysaccharide fraction were degraded at a slower rate than mannosyl and galactosyl units. In the process of depolymerization arabinogalactans were debranched and the ratio of (1-->3)-linked to (1-->6)-linked galactosyl residues decreased. Structural units composed of (1-->5)-linked arabinosyl residues were least degradable, whereas terminally linked arabinosyl residues were easily utilized. The impact of coffee fiber on numerically dominant population groups of the intestinal microbiota was investigated by fluorescence in situ hybridization combined with flow cytometry (FISH-FC). After 24 h of fermentation, an increase of about 60% of species belonging to the Bacteroides-Prevotella group was observed. The growth of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli was not stimulated.