Plants, Types, Growing Areas

The coffee plant

The coffee plant (genus: Coffea, family: Rubiaceen) grows as a bush or as a tree (4 to 10 meters of height).Remarkable is the fact, that this tropical plant can carry blossoms and fruits (coffee cherries) of different degrees of ripeness at the same time. The coffee bean as we know it is the seed of the coffee plant. The cherry-like fruits each contain two seeds facing each other on their flat side. The seeds are covered by a thin skin and a slime coating. There are more than 80 coffee types, two of which are today predominating.

Coffea arabica

Arabica is the older type and is considered the finer one. It is more aromatic, less bitter and contains less caffeine. The bean is longish and has a curved cut. Arabica matures within nine to eleven months. Its share on the world market amounts to more than 60%. It is mainly cultivated in Brazil , Columbia and Central America.

Coffea canephora (Robusta)

Robusta contains twice as much caffeine as Arabica, and is less aromatic. It is more resistant against heat, diseases and parasites. Its bean is round-shaped and the cut is straight. It matures within six to eight months. Its share reaches nearly 40 %. Its growing areas are primarily located in Central and West Africa , South East Asia and Brazil.

Growing conditions

Today, coffee is grown almost everywhere along the equatorial belt. After sowing, three to four years pass before the first harvest. Depending on the growing conditions and care, the useful life is 20 to 30 years. A humid-dry alternating climate is ideal. The flowers need a lot of sunshine and rain. Temperatures below the freezing point will destroy the plants. Arabica thrives best at altitudes of 6.000 to 2.000 meters at a temperature of 15 to 24 °C, Robusta at altitudes of 200 to 900 meters, at a temperature of 24 to 29 °C. The tropical highlands are conducive to the aroma, since the coffee grows and matures more slowly there.

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