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Coffee Plant And Coffee Beans

As everyone knows, coffee comes from roasted coffee seeds also known as coffee beans which is produced only by the coffee plant. It is important to grow the plant in the best possible environment to ensure top grade coffee seeds.

Growing Coffee In The Plantation

Coffee plant and coffee beansCoffee is grown on small, evergreen trees in plantations across South and Central America, Africa and Asia. Because coffee cultivation is very labour-intensive, it is particularly suited to developing countries that depend on farming rather than industry. 

Coffee trees are propagated by seeds or cuttings which are planted in special nursery beds. When the seedlings are between 8 and 12 months old, they are transplanted to fields where they are set in wet, fertilised holes. As they require exactly the right amount of shaded sunlight, regular watering, fertilising, and pest and weed control, young coffee trees demand constant care from farmers.

It can take up to 5 years for a coffee tree to begin producing good fruit, and they are often in decline after only 15 years! Even more surprising, an entire year’s output from one tree is scarcely enough to produce 500 grams of soluble coffee.

The 2 main types of commercially grown coffee are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans account for around 70% of total coffee production, Robusta make up the rest. Arabica is popularly considered the best coffee but, like any naturally grown product, it ranges in quality from excellent to poor. Indeed, some Robusta beans are more desirable than poor quality Arabica beans.

Picking The Beans

coffee beansOnce coffee trees begin to produce fruit, it takes about 6-8 months (for Arabica coffee, or 11 months for Robusta) for the fruit to ripen into red coffee ‘cherries’. These cherries must be harvested regularly – as they become over-ripe after about 10 to 14 days. However, as coffee trees are small and grow mainly in mountainous areas, widespread use of mechanical harvesters is not possible. As a result, the ripe red coffee ‘cherries’ have to be picked by hand.