Coffee Plant For A Premium Quality Coffee
The coffee plant is popularly grown all around the world. It is grown in countries in the Middle East, Africa, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
A lot of people would not know or have seen a coffee plant even if they tripped over it on their next holiday to the Caribbean.
Do you know what the coffee plant looks like? Do you imagine coffee beans bristling off the branches? Just how does it end up like the tasty beverage we all love? The story of the coffee plant is interesting indeed.
Origins in Africa
The coffee plant originated in Africa’s tropical forests. Some say the first coffee drinker was an Ethiopian goat herder, who upon noticing his herds’ frisky behavior following consumption of the coffee berries, decided to try some for himself. The rest is history.
Although there are about 25 species of the genus Coffea, only two are grown commercially and destined for our coffee cups. These two are the Arabica and Robusta coffee plants.
Of the other species, some are available as indoor plants, more as a conversation piece than anything else.
Arabica Coffee Plant
The Arabica coffee plant grows in a tree-like fashion, with a single trunk, with branches growing outward from the central trunk. The smaller of the two plants, the Arabica produces a superior bean, richer in flavor and complexity of taste.
Robusta Coffee Plant
The Robusta coffee plant is more shrub-like in its appearance, with many minor trunks. The beans of the Robusta coffee plant lack the fine complex taste of the Arabica.
While the Robusta coffee bean contains more caffeine, it tends to have bitter flavor notes which are generally undesirable.
If left unchecked, coffee plants grow well over 30 feet high. To enable manageable harvesting, commercial growers prune the plants to a height of just eight to fifteen feet.
Large, Dark Green Leaves
Coffee plants, grown in ideal conditions, have large, dark green leaves, with a waxy surface, about four to six inches long and about half as wide. The flowers are white, fragrant and are produced in thick clusters along the branches.
It takes more than eight months from flowering to produce a ripe coffee “cherry” suitable for harvest. The cherries usually contain two beans.