Everyone recognizes a roasted coffee bean but unless you have lived or traveled in a fresh coffee growing country, you might not recognize an actual coffee tree. Pruned short in cultivation and capable of growing more than 30 feet high. A coffee tree is covered with dark-green and waxy leaves growing opposite each other in pairs. Fresh Coffee cherries grow along the tree’s branches. It takes nearly a year for a cherry to mature after the flowering of the fragrant, white blossoms. Because it grows in a continuous cycle, it is not unusual to see flowers. Also it sees green fruit and ripe fruit simultaneously on a single tree. The trees can live as long as 20 – 30 years. Coffee Trees are capable of growing in a wide range of climates. Optimally, they prefer a rich soil and mild temperatures, with frequent rain and shaded sun.
Fresh Coffee traces its biological heritage to a genus of plants known as Coffea. Within the genus there are over 500 genera. There are 6,000 species of tropical trees and shrubs. The genus was first described in the 18th century by the Swedish botanist, Carolus Linneaus. Carlous also described Coffea arabica in his Species Plantarum in 1753. Botanists have disagreed ever since on the exact classification. This is understandable considering that coffee plants can range from small shrubs to tall trees. These tree have leaves from 1 to 40 centimeters in size, and from purple or yellow, to the predominant dark green, in color. It has been estimated that there are anywhere from 25 to 100 species of coffee plants.
Coffea arabica is descended from the original fresh coffee trees discovered in Ethiopia. These trees produce a fine, mild, aromatic fresh coffee. This represents approximately 70 percent of the world’s coffee production. On the world market, arabica coffees bring the highest prices.