The Coffee Tree
Did you know that coffee beans come from a coffee plant? A coffee plant is usually a bush or small tree that grows to 10-12 feet (although it can grow up to 32 feet) and can produce coffee beans for decades.
Coffee is grown between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The two most common kinds of bean are Arabica and Robusta.
Want to grow your own coffee plants at home? The first thing you’ll need is patience. It takes about 3-4 years before coffee plants mature and begin producing beans. If you have that, here’s what else you will need:
- A good pot filled with a fast draining potting soil.
- An average temperature of 18 degrees centigrade (65 degrees Fahrenheit) to 23 degrees centigrade (75 degrees Fahrenheit) .
- Frequent watering which keeps the soil moist but not soggy.
- An overhead space of 10 feet or occasional pruning if space is not available.
The fruit of the coffee plant will not ripen all at one time, but do pick the berries once they are red and ripe.
ARABICA VS. ROBUSTA
The two main species of coffee grown for coffee production are Arabica (Coffea arabica) and Robusta (Coffea canephora) .
As the name suggests, Robusta beans are more robust than Arabica and can be grown at a low altitude. Robusta is characterized by a strong note, strong body and very little acidity. It is mainly grown in Vietnam, Brazil and Indonesia. Arabica grows at a higher altitude, usually above 2,624 feet and up to 8,200 feet.
Arabica is characterized by a fine aroma, less body, and pleasant acidity. Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Central America, Mexico, India and Eastern Africa are among the best-known Arabica producing countries.
Arabica accounts for 75-80% of the world’s production vs. 20% for Robusta coffee.