Coffee is actually a fruit, with coffee branches forming fragile white blossoms that barely last for more than a single day. These blossoms eventually produce round, red coffee “cherries” that really do resemble ordinary cherries. The plants take between three to five years before they even begin to produce coffee, which is still only possible with the correct combination of climate, sunshine, shade and rainfall.
Today coffee is grown in over fifty different countries all over the world, with around thirty producing over five million tonnes of coffee per annum. The world’s biggest coffee supplier is Brazil, with Colombia in second place, producing two thirds of the amount of coffee that is produced by Brazil.
There are over sixty different kinds of coffee growing in the world, yet just two are used for commercial consumption, Arabica and Robusta. Arabica coffee plants thrive in rich and volcanic mountain soil, with the higher elevations resulting in the coffee beans growing at a slower rate, resulting in more flavourful and aromatic coffee. It has less caffeine than is the case with Robusta and is not as hardy, but it is a higher quality coffee. The average perfect temperature for Arabica and Robusta coffee beans to grow in is 15C to 24C, and 24C to 30C respectively.
Robusta coffee plants are grown from sea level upwards and are much more resistant to drought and disease than Arabica. The trees also produce double the amount of beans per tree in a season. Robusta and Arabica beans are frequently blended together by commercial coffee companies.