If you're drinking a cup of coffee right now, chances are that you're drinking coffee made from Arabica coffee beans. Whether it's a cappuccino you're drinking or an espresso or a cup of specialized gourmet coffee, you're more than likely drinking a coffee based beverage that are using Arabica coffee beans. Arabica coffee refers to coffee made with coffea arabica, a type of coffee plant that accounts for 75-80% of the world's coffee production.
Although nobody is quiet sure where Arabica coffee originated from, most experts feel that evidence shows that it was present in Ethiopia during prehistoric times. Also known as mountain coffee oder arabica coffee, Arabica coffee is now grown throughout Latin America, Central and East Africa, India, and in some parts of Indonesia. It is a type of coffee plant that can only be grown in a tropical or subtropical climate.
As a coffee plant, coffea arabica has to be grown at a higher elevation of 600 to 2000 meters. Arabica coffee plants can grow up to heights of 10 to 12 feet but need to be in a warm temperature. Although arabica coffee plants are able to survive the occasional cold night, they will not be able to survive in a climate where temperatures drop below 32 Fahrenheit for a long period of time. The best temperature range for coffea arabica to grow in is between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Vulnerable to pests, bad handling, and frosts, there are two optimal conditions for Arabica coffee plants to grow in.
One scenario that is conducive to Arabica coffee growth is one in the subtropical regions at a high altitude between 1800 and 3600 range. In an environment in which rainy and dry seasons are clearly defined, Arabica coffee is able to thrive. This is because this type of environment creates conditions that result in one growing season and one maturation season. Examples of these climate conditions can be found in Mexico, Jamaica, and Zimbabwe.
The other scenario that results in excellent Arabic coffee plant growth can be found in equatorial regions where the plants are grown at an altitude of 3600 to 6300 feet. These conditions can be found in countries like Kenya, Colombia, and Ethiopia. These areas are marked by frequent rainfall that allows for two harvesting seasons. Harvesting periods occur at times of main rainfall seasons. However, the frequent rainfall means that mechanical dryers need to be employed in drying the coffee plants, as patio drying cannot occur in these conditions.
The Arabica coffee plant produces a small, bean sized fruit that ripens from a green color to a dark red color. Within this fruit are two seeds that are coffee beans. These coffee beans undergo a processing procedure that results in the Arabica coffee that you can buy at grocery stores or cafes. By the time Arabica coffee beans have made it to the store where coffee lovers are able to purchase it, they have undergone a vigorous process that makes it the best tasting of all of the different coffee types. Arabica coffee has a wide tasting range that will depend on its varieties. Arabica coffee can have a sweet-soft taste and it can also have a sharp-tangy taste. Generally, pure arabica blends are the best tasting coffee, a fact that is reflected in its higher price.
Arabica coffee can be found in America in coffee stores and specialty food shops. The difference in quality between Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee can be seen in the fact that almost all jars of instant coffee use robusta coffee beans. However, it should be noted that Arabica coffee doesn't necessarily mean quality. The fact that 75-80% of all coffee produced uses Arabica coffee beans ensure that there are large variations in quality of Arabica coffee. The best Robusta coffee blend will always be better than the worst quality of Arabica coffee.
However, as the most common type of coffee, Arabica coffee has had a long history as the drink of choice. Legend has it that goats in Arabia would become sleepless after eating the leaves and fruits of a coffea Arabica plant. Additionally, early monks depended on this plant to prolong their meditations, as a way to keep fully awake. Regardless of why you need a cup of coffee, you can never go wrong driving an Arabica coffee blend.