The Coffee Plant
Coffee plant is an evergreen tree plant that grows up to 12 feet high. The plant contains primary vertical stem from which secondary and tertiary branches stem. They have glossy leaves, which are dark green in color. They have white flowers that bloom and later develop into coffee beans. The tree takes 3-5 years to start producing coffee seedlings, which make the drinking coffee. After maturing, the plant can last for about 50 -70 years. Scientists classify coffee plant as a member of the Rubiaceous family. These trees are mostly found in subtropical regions in Africa, Southern Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
(Coffee Plant From Costa Rica)
Coffee Plant Species
Fundamentally, there are around sixty different coffee plant species in the world. However, the most common species grown for commercial purposes are Coffea Arabica, commonly known as Arabica, and Caffea canephora commonly referred to as Robusta. In addition, Liberica species is insignificant for commercial purposes although it grows in parts of Western Africa. Arabica coffee contributes 75-80 percent of the world’s coffee production. On the other hand, Robusta provides around 20 percent of the global coffee production. These plant species differ in taste. Robusta coffee contains high caffeine content that Arabica and its coffee beans are more robust that Arabica’s.
Arabica coffee plant species thrive in areas with altitude of about 3,000 to 6,500 feet. Noably, Ethiopia is the major producer of Arabica coffee. These coffee plants grow at a slow pace while concentrating their flavor. Subsequently, the Arabica coffee beans have a refined flavor that contains one percent of caffeine content. Due to the deliberate coffee formation process, these coffee species yields 1 to 1.5 pounds of green coffee annually. This coffee tree is susceptible to coffee diseases, frost, and drought. Therefore, this coffee species usually require delicate cultivation. It is a prominent species because coffee roasters always search for Arabica coffee beans of the rich flavor and quality.
On the other hand, Robusta coffee plant is highly resistant to disease, and it performs well in lower elevation regions, mostly Congo. Its coffee beans produce severe flavor that contains 2 percent caffeine content. A Robusta tree plant bears more coffee berries than Arabica tree plant, with an annual production of 2-3 pounds. Robusta trees have large leaves when compared to Arabica species. Its coffee beans provide a low-quality coffee that is used to process instant coffee. In addition, the Robusta coffee beans are a popular raw produce used to manufacture the cheap coffee brands in the market.[gap height=”30px”]
Coffee Tree flowers
The coffee plant bears white flowers, which contain 5 to six petals. The flowers grow in bunches at the axils of the coffee plant leaves. These flowers later develop into coffee cherries after a successful pollination. The plant flowers have a mild scent resembling a jasmine scent. During the blooming period, flowers lasts for a few hours after a successful pollination. However, other flowers emerge to replace the wilted flowers. After blooming, these flowers segregate to form little tufts that later develop into berries. Essentially, coffee flowers from Arabica coffee can self-pollinate. On the other hand, Robusta coffee relies on cross-pollination.
The Coffee Plant Fruit/Berry
The fruit produced by coffee plant is referred to as coffee cherry. The 1.5 cm long fruit initially has a green color but turns yellow after ripening. Later on, the cherry turns crimson and finally develops a dark cherry-red color. At this moment, the coffee cherry is ready for harvesting. The ripening process of coffee fruit lasts for about eight months. After full ripening, the coffee bean easily slides out of the shell after a gentle squeeze. Therefore, it is easy to establish whether the fruit is ready by checking the skin color or squeezing the berry. However, some coffee species turn yellow when they are ready for harvesting.
Coffee Fruit and Berrys
Coffee Fruit Processing
The coffee fruit produced by coffee plant contains two seeds known as ‘coffee beans’ although these beans are not real beans. Inside the coffee bean, there is a smaller pea-sized bean, which can be removed from the coffee bean, depending on the method used to process the coffee fruit. Thereafter, the coffee bean is processed using wet processing or dry processing.
During wet processing, the processor removes the pea-sized coffee bean inside the coffee bean through a pulping procedure. After pulping, the gelatinous solution is eliminated through a fermentation process and then the beans undergo a drying process. The drying process is usually through natural sunlight or through air-drying.
On the other hand, the coffee fruit is exposed to sunlight for a certain period during dry processing. Thereafter the fruit is continuously tossed and turned until there is no presence of the dried fruit. The final product of the coffee processing is green beans. These beans have 10.5% moisture content.[gap height=”30px”]
Benefits of Coffee Plant
Apparently, coffee is a great source of healthy antioxidants that is much better than green tea and cocoa. Coffee beans, found in coffee plant fruits, contain hundreds of antioxidants. Further, the number of antioxidants increases after the roasting process, which is the final process of coffee beverage production. In this regard, coffee is the leading source of antioxidant when compared to other beverages. The antioxidants are essential components that suppress inflammation within the body. Mostly, a number of chronic conditions like arthritis and many types of cancer occur because of body inflammation. Therefore, coffee is a strong antioxidant that can fight inflammation in the body.
Moreover, caffeine provides temporary memory boost. A singe cup of coffee can enhance the brain activity and improve brain performance. The improved brain activity occurs because caffeine affects a specific part of the brain responsible for memory and concentration. As a result, a person experiences brain alertness and high performance that lasts for a certain period. The duration of the temporary memory boost depends on an individual.
Ultimately, coffee plant has various benefits because the coffee product is used widely to make various coffee beverages that are highly beneficial to people.
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