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Coffee Plants

So, you've just gone down to the local Starbucks in desperate need for a coffee fix but you've just been bombarded with all of these choices.  Hundreds of coffee blends at your disposal; numerous variations of coffee based beverages; how can anybody really make a choice?  All you need to do is just relax and understand that despite the numerous types of coffee beans, there are only a couple of coffee plants that is responsible for all of the world's coffee.  So, if you're looking for information regarding coffee plants, you don't need to look in an encyclopedia, because we have all of the news you'll ever need regarding coffee plants.

The coffee plant is a woody perennial evergreen dicotyledon of genus Coffea and is a member of the Rubiaceae family.  While there are a number of species that fall under the Coffea family, the coffee plant contains some general features.  They contain a main vertical trunk and primary, secondary, and tertiary horizontal branches.  Although coffee plants can grow up to heights of 10 to 12 feet, cultivated coffee plants are pruned to heights of 2 to 4 feet to optimize width.  Coffee plants produce leaves that are 10 to 15 centimeters long ellipsoids.  The leaves tend to be shiny, dark green, and waxy with a light underside.  A major source of oxygen in many parts in the world, it is estimated that each hectare of coffee produces 86 pounds of oxygen a day.  This is comparable to half the production of oxygen of the same area in a rain forest.

The coffee plant produces flowers that emerge from its branches together with leaves.  Containing five petals, the coffee flower is white and lasts for only 2 to 3 days.  The flower has a scent that resembles jasmine that produces coffee berries.  Coffee berries are cherry-sized and will ripen from green to a dark red or purple color after eight months.  These coffee berries contain two seeds that are coffee beans.  Once these coffee berries have ripened, they are picked and eventually pulped to remove the bulk of the soft flesh.  These coffee beans then undergo a thorough process of fermentation that is the beginning stages of turning into a product that can be used to make a coffee drink.

The coffee plant will take between 2 to 4 years to begin flowering.  After a coffee tree has reached the age of 5, the coffee berries can be harvested.  The coffee plant will continue to flower for another 50 to 60 years, in which harvesting of its beans can occur several times throughout a year.  Although most coffee plants will be considered old by the time it has the reached the age of 25, many coffee plants live on to be over a hundred years old.  As coffee is among the three most traded commodities in the world, it is not a surprise to learn that the coffee plant is one of the most common plants in the world.  It is estimated that there are 15 billion coffee trees currently growing throughout the world and they are using 100,000 square kilometers of land.

Despite its common use, the coffee plant can only grow in certain environments.  Although there are a number of different species of coffee plants, there are two specific species that make up the bulk of the coffee trade.  There are differences between the coffee plant species Coffea Arabica and coffee plant species Coffea Robusta, but both of these coffee plants thrive in tropical climates.  To learn more about these different types of coffee plants, check out the sections regarding Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee.

One look at the coffee trade statistics reveals the rigid environmental conditions required for a coffee plant to thrive.  Tropical climates are present in the major coffee-producing nations of Puerto Rico, Brazil, Columbia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico, and India.  Conversely, temperate climates are the common denominators of major coffee-importing nations such as United States of America, Germany, Japan, France, Italy, Spain, Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

The conditions needed for a coffee tree to grow is one in which the mean temperature ranges between 66 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 19 to 25 degrees Celsius.  Coffee plants originate from Africa and it isn't surprising to learn that coffee plants thrive in a tropical climate.  While the coffee plant is able to survive the occasional cold night, they are unable to grow in areas that have winter frost.  For a coffee plant to thrive, they need to be situated at a high altitude.  Additionally, coffee plants require an abundance of water and they flourish growing in an area that has an annual rainfall of 59 inches.  Considering the large amount of care needed for a coffee plant to reach its potential, it is not surprising to learn that large coffee plantations are the most effective producers of coffee.

The specific conditions required for a coffee plant to grow in depend on the species.  Coffea arabica makes up the majority of the world's coffee supply, however coffea robusta are popular, as they are able to grow in areas that have conditions unsuitable for coffea arabica cultivation.  To learn more about the specifics of these coffee plants, check out the sections regarding Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee.  While coffee plant cultivation is a long and arduous process, many coffee lovers feel that the best flavors of coffee are produced in areas that have organic conditions.  To learn more about this, check out the section regarding organic coffee.