Coffee plants belong to the botanical genus Coffea, which is part of the Rubiaceae family. The most widely-used plants are the C. arabica (Arabica coffee) and C. canephora (Robusta coffee) types from Africa, and to a lesser extent the C. liberica and C. excelsa types.
The shrubs have white flowers and can grow up to 4 metres in height (they are cut back in the plantations). The fruits mature 6 to 8 months after pollination for the C. arabica plant and 9 to 11 months after pollination for the C. robusta plant. Stone fruits that change colour during the maturation process from green to yellow and then to red begin to form alongside two seeds containing coffee beans.
Inside the fruit, the coffee beans are surrounded by a so-called silver skin (also known as testa) which in turn is enclosed in a so-called hull parchment (or endocarp). Initial yields take place once the shrub or tree is 3 or 4 years old, and after 20 years the yield per crop starts to decline. Source: (Quelle: Wikipedia – http://de.wikipedia.org)
Species / varieties
* Arabica coffee has a global market share of around 60%. This type of bean, which contains only half as much caffeine as a Robusta bean, has grown in fame and popularity due to its aroma.
* Robusta has around 36% of the global production share. Visually, this type of bean differs from the Arabica bean in that it has a straight incision as opposed to a rippled one. Farmers value this type of bean due to its resilience and shorter maturation period (compared to the Arabica).
* Excelsa is considered a rare type of bean which was discovered in 1904 at Lake Chad. Out of all the bean varieties, it grows the most vigorously. It is characterised by its ability to flourish on dry soil and to deliver high yields even during years with low rainfall. Despite this, the plant only has around 1% global production share.
* Stenophylla This particularly small-leaved plant from West Africa (Guinea and Sierra Leone) can be grown at up to 700 metres above sea level. In Sierra Leone, this variety is used to produce the renowned “Highland Coffee”. The beans are round and large, and the fruits turn black during maturation.
* Maragogype This is a mutation of the Arabica bean, although some believe it to be a cross between the Arabica and Liberica bean. The beans are a third larger than traditional coffee beans. This variety is mainly grown in Mexico and Nicaragua. It tends to grow best between altitudes of 400 metres and 1,200 metres. Despite its size, its yield tends to be lower than that of other types of coffee plants.
* Cà phê sữa is a Vietnamese coffee blend which contains Catimor and Chari varieties alongside traditional Robusta and Arabica blends. This type of coffee is very dark with a subtle nutty, chocolate taste. These coffee blends have varying ratios and occasionally contain Excelsa or Liberica beans. Local preferences mean these mixtures cater to most tastes. Outside of Vietnam, blends containing coffee varieties that are relatively unknown on a global scale are only available as import products in Asian supermarkets. Due to its low caffeine content, Chari coffee is also considered a natural coffee that doesn’t require decaffeination.
* The rarest and most expensive coffee in the world is the Indonesian Luwak coffee. It is derived from the Luwak, a type of viverrid, which eats coffee cherries and then excretes beans that are changed in flavour due to fermentation in the animal’s bowels. Among other things, this includes the removal of bitter compounds.(Quelle: Wikipedia http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kaffee&oldid=49570457)
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