offee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. There are billions of coffee-aficionados and most of them would be able to recognize a coffee bean. However, recognizing an actual coffee tree is a whole different story.
What is the best habitat for coffee trees?
The coffee tree, Coffea, is a flowering evergreen plant native to tropical Africa and Asia. Coffee grows between latitudes 28 degrees North and 30 degrees South. It prefers high altitudes, more than1000 meters or 3, 280 feet, but does not tolerate frost. The coffee plant can grow to heights of 10 meters or 33 feet. However, in plantations they are usually pruned to a height of 3-3.5 meters or 10-12 feet in order to be harvested more easily.
The coffee tree usually catches someone’s eye due to its attractive white flowers. Moreover, the coffee tree produces red or purple cherries that are – despite their misleading name – berries. In most cases, the coffee berries contain two seeds. These seeds are the so-called coffee beans.
Today, coffee ranks among the world’s most traded crops. It is the major export product for many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin and South America. There are about 60 million people engaged in coffee production worldwide. Brazil is by far the largest coffee producer in the world. It is responsible for about a third of all coffee. Other important coffee producing countries are Vietnam, Colombia and Indonesia.
How many Coffee Species exist?
There are 124 known species but just 2 of them are important for the coffee industry: Coffea Canephora, better known as Coffea Robusta, and Coffea Arabica. Arabica Coffee is used for 75-80% of the world’s coffee production while Canephora or Robusta Coffee accounts for about 20%.
Contrary to popular belief, kopi luwak coffee – the most expensive coffee in the world – is not the name of a coffee species but refers to the Indonesian word for coffee “Kopi” and the name of the civet “Luwak” which is central to this coffee production process. But this is a whole different story. (Read more…)