Have you ever wondered how long it takes for coffee to reach your cup? In order to enjoy the perfect taste and aroma of the coffee, many people work in different regions of the world. One of the most important jobs is growing coffee trees. This is the first step from which the coffee path to your cup begins. How are coffee trees grown, what species can they be, and how to grow a coffee tree in your home?
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Coffee Tree (Coffea) - What Is It?
It is a plant of a family of evergreen trees and shrubs. It belongs to the family of red plants. Quinine and gardenias also belong to this family. The coffee tree comes from the Ethiopian region. It is an evergreen tree that grows naturally in tropical conditions. Although more like a bush. The trunk of the coffee tree is thin, it has a very large number of leaves. Interestingly, coffee trees growing in the wild can reach a height of almost 8 meters.
Leaves oval, oblong. In their shape, they are somewhat reminiscent of bay leaves. It blooms with white flowers, the smell of which is somewhat reminiscent of jasmine. The coffee tree ripens small, 1 - 2 cm red berries. There are naturally mutated species of coffee trees that ripen yellow berries. It is said that coffee made from such berries has a milder taste. Inside the berries is a stone - a nucleus. That's what it's called a coffee bean.
Harvested about nine months after flowering. Until the coffee beans are roasted, their smell is reminiscent of hay, peas, or even beans. On the outside, the coffee bean has an upper husk, which is removed before drying. All that remains is a silver peel. When roasting beans, this husk also separates.
Usually picked by hand. Especially in regions where coffee trees are grown in the highlands. However, there are farms where the berries are picked by machines. These are mostly farms located in the plains. In the highlands, berries do not ripen at the same time therefore, the crop is harvested several times. So the machines collect berries and are not used. And here in the plains, berries usually ripen at the same time. Thus, mechanized berry picking is possible and used.
Every coffee farmer chooses this type of coffee tree, which is suitable for the climate of the current region. Different types of coffee trees require different conditions. The best conditions for growing any type of coffee tree are at the equator. This place is also called the coffee belt. At the equator, weather conditions are more predictable and usually change little throughout the year.
Tropical and subtropical lands, where there are enough sun and moisture, are ideal for coffee trees. The most important regions of the world where coffee is grown are America, Africa, and Asia. It is in these regions of the world that the largest coffee farms are concentrated.
Most coffee is grown in Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, and India.
species and growing characteristics
There are more than 60 different species of coffee trees. There are three main types of coffee trees:
- Arabica (Coffea arabica)
- Liberics (Coffea liberica)
- Robustos (Coffea canephora)
Arabica-type coffee trees are grown high in the mountains. They do not like direct sunlight, shade is necessary.
The ideal temperature for growing is 24 degrees. Arabica trees are very sensitive to temperature changes and cold. This type of plants is more expensive to grow than other types of coffee trees. Yields are also lower. Arabica bloom after a rainy period. The Arabica coffee tree itself is not tall, grows no higher than 4 meters. The coffee beans are small, oblong with a curved groove in the middle.
Arabica coffee trees have many subspecies. The growing characteristics of all of them are slightly different, the taste and intensity of coffee are also different. Robusta coffee trees grow low and enjoy the sun.
They grow a few meters taller than Arabica coffee trees. The robust beans themselves are small. There is a straight groove on the flat side of the bean. This type of coffee tree grows much faster than Arabica because it gets a lot of suns. Higher amounts of heat helps the coffee berries ripen faster. Robusta coffee trees produce abundant yields.
The most difficult to grow are liberal coffee trees. They need special conditions. Coffee trees grow up to 20 meters in height, and coffee beans are much larger than Arabica or robusta coffee trees. Liberian coffee trees are now mainly grown in the Philippines. Caffeine is liberated in beans less than in arabica or robusta beans. Liberian beans are commonly used to make instant coffee.
Is it possible to grow a coffee tree at home?
Coffee trees can even be grown at home, but be aware that growing a coffee tree requires a lot of patience and love. Coffee tree cultivation begins with seed preparation. They must be fresh.
These can be purchased in specialty stores or from other growers. The seeds must then be soaked in warm water. It should not be hot, but barely lukewarm. After soaking the seeds, they should be planted in loose, peaty soil. Seedlings appear only after 2 - 3 months, sometimes earlier. Of course, it is also possible to buy an already grown coffee tree.
The tree will enjoy a warm and bright place. The ideal temperature is about 20 degrees. The coffee tree loves moisture. Therefore, especially during the summer, it should be watered every few days with soft, warm water. If it is very hot outside, spray the leaves of the plant with water. Just not cold. The best room temperature.
In the spring, the coffee tree needs to be transplanted. Transplant it into a deeper pot with fertile soil. Until the coffee tree is young, transplant it every year. Thereafter, every 2 or 3 years is sufficient. Of course, after transplanting a coffee tree, it will start to grow faster. At home, the coffee tree usually grows to a height of 1.5 meters. If properly cared for, it blooms and even ripens berries.
Predict the location of the tree in advance and do not change it. The plant is sedentary and does not like changing places. Also, do not grow coffee on the north side. Ideal is the south, southwest side.
It is very important that you do not water the coffee tree and do not allow it to dry out too much. In that case, he will start throwing leaves. If properly cared for after 3 years you will be able to enjoy the first coffee tree flowers.
The coffee tree is like the initial stop on the coffee road, and growing it requires a lot of effort, knowledge, and the right conditions. Therefore, when drinking it, always remember how much love and effort has been put into enjoying the perfect aroma and taste of the coffee.