There certainly are countless articles about coffee, but what do you know about Coffea arabica, the plant we owe so much? Yeah, probably not that many things, well that has to change.
Coffee berries, which contain the coffee seed, or "bean", are produced by several species of small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The two most commonly grown are the highly regarded Coffea arabica, and the 'robusta' form of the hardier Coffea canephora.
Both are cultivated primarily in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. The seeds are then roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. They are then ground and brewed to create coffee.
Coffea arabica takes about seven years to mature fully and does best with 1-1.5 meters (about 40-59 inches) of rain, evenly distributed throughout the year. It is usually cultivated between 1,300 and 1,500 m altitude, but there are plantations as low as sea level and as high as 2,800 m. The plant can tolerate low temperatures, but not frost, and it does best when the temperature hovers around 20 °C (68 °F). Commercial cultivars mostly only grow to about 5 m, and are frequently trimmed as low as 2 m to facilitate harvesting. Coffea arabica prefers to be grown in light shade.
Two to four years after planting Coffea arabica produces small, white and highly fragrant flowers. The sweet fragrance resembles the sweet smell of jasmine flowers. When flowers open on sunny days, this results in the greatest numbers of berries. Each tree can produce anywhere from 0.5–5 kg of dried beans.