Coffee – All You Need To Know About
Everyone recognizes a roasted coffee bean but unless you have lived or traveled in a coffee growing country, you might not recognize an actual coffee tree. Pruned short in cultivation, but capable of growing more than 30 feet high, a coffee tree is covered with dark-green, waxy leaves growing opposite each other in pairs.
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, green fruit and ripe fruit simultaneously on a single tree.
The trees can live as long as 20 – 30 years and are capable of growing in a wide range of climates, as long as there is no harsh fluctuation in temperature. Optimally, they prefer a rich soil and mild temperatures, with frequent rain and shaded sun.
— The Tree to the Cup
Coffee travels a long way before reaching your coffee mug.
Here are some interesting coffee facts:
- It takes three-to-four years for a coffee seed to grow into a tree that produces coffee beans.
- Seeds are first planted in nurseries. Six months to one-year later, seedlings are transplanted to open fields. Workers must prepare the planting ground for the small seedlings by loosening and grading the soil.
- Approximately two-and-a-half years after transplantation, the trees begin to flower and the flowers produce a small fruit known as a coffee cherry. In the center of each cherry are two green coffee beans.
- Coffee plants grow best where there is plenty of rainfall at certain times of the year and thrive in a well-drained, rich, volcanic soil. The plant does not like sudden changes in temperature, and frost can severely damage or kill it.
- During harvest, coffee cherries are hand picked. It takes approximately 2,000 cherries—4,000 beans—to produce one pound of roasted coffee.
- After being husked, sorted and bagged, the green coffee beans are shipped from the countries where they were grown to the countries where they will be manufactured and consumed.
- Manufacturing involves the roasting and grinding of the coffee beans, or the production of instant coffee. Once manufacturing and packaging are completed, the coffee is ready for the consumer.
- The leading coffee producing countries of the world are Brazil and Colombia. The United States imports and consumes more coffee than any other country.
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