Coffee Plant

Coffee comes from the seeds of a small tree in the genus Coffea and although somewhat surprising, is considered a fruit. The plant is a tree with evergreen leaves and a main stem that can grow up to 10 meters tall when growing in the wild.

The fruit from a coffee tree is called a "cherry", and normally contains two seeds. However, when a plant is less fertile, only one seed is formed. This singular seed is called a "peaberry".

It’s important that coffee cherries be picked at the perfect point of maturity to provide the most flavor. Most coffee cherries ripen to a rich red color when they reach this point and are then considered ready for the harvesting process. Because coffee cherries ripen at different times the picking process can extend over quite a lengthy period.

There are more than 75 known coffee species. Roughly 70% of the world's coffee production comes from the Coffea Aradbica species, commonly referred to as “Arabica”. Coffea Arabica is the earliest cultivated species of coffee tree and still the most widely grown. It is dramatically superior in cup quality to the other principal commercial coffee species, Coffea canephora or Robusta.

Robusta, Coffea Canephora is currently the only significant competitor among cultivated coffee species to Coffea arabica. Robusta produces about 30% of the world’s coffee. It is a lower-growing, higher-bearing tree that produces full-bodied but bland coffee of inferior cup quality and higher caffeine content than Coffea arabica. It is used as a basis for blends of instant coffee, and for less expensive blends of preground commercial coffee. It is not a factor in the specialty coffee trade except as a body-enhancing component in some Italian-style espresso blends.

A large number of sub-species exists within the Arabica species, providing coffee lovers with the opportunity to explore many unique offerings.

In the world of Specialty Coffee, many coffee roasters and importers source Arabica coffees because of their distinctive flavor or taste profile in the cup. The species' characteristics include a higher quality expectation, lower yield and more fragility. In comparison, Robusta Coffee demonstrates lower quality characteristics (defect), more cherry production, and stronger resistance to diseases.

Information on the Coffee Plant ins courtesy of Motif