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Just Where Does Coffee Come From?

Kelly Schuermann

Of course we all know what a good cup of coffee looks like. The warm wonderful cup of love in a cup, that we all adore. And sure we all know ground coffee when we see it, and very few people would be hard pressed not to identify a coffee bean in its gloriously roasted or green form. But, would you know what kind of plant coffee grows on?

Is it a root like the potato? A bush like raspberries, and blueberries?  Or is it a tree like our friends the peach and plum?

If you guessed, tree than you would be right!

Many times people confuse the Coffee tree with a bush of sorts, as they are pruned short to allow the tree to put more energy into production of the coffee cherry, and to make harvesting easier.  Without this pruning and farming technique coffee trees are known to grow up to 30 feet high.  Not very conducive to harvesting those decadent beans for our morning coffee.

Visually, coffee trees have green leaves in pairs, white five petaled flowers and the red cherry fruits (which look much like a cranberry) can be found along the length of the branches.  Because of the warm environments where coffee trees are most conducive to growing, the growth cycle of the coffee cherry is year round, which means you will see the cherry and the flowers on the trees all at the same time. 

 

If you are used to purchasing your coffee in one pound increments, know that one tree, will produce two pounds of green coffee beans.....per year.  On average it takes about 5 years from seedling to maturity before a coffee tree is able to produce coffee cherries that are worthy of harvest. During those first 5 years of their lives, coffee trees need exceptional amounts of care to survive and grow to their fullest potential.  The next time you pour yourself a hot steaming cup of Joe, sit back and enjoy the smell, the texture, the flavor.  And appreciate the work that has gone into bring that cup to your home each day.

 

Just like the apples or tomatoes you purchase at the local grocery or market, there are multiple types of coffee beans. The most common types found in commercial coffees are the Arabica, and the Robusta.

The most valuable of these two would be the Arabica, these beans come from trees originally found in Ethiopia. These beans make up the majority of the coffee in production today, they are a mild bean, that has a lower caffeine level than their cousin the Robusta. The higher elevation the beans are grown at, the more desirable these beans are in the coffee trade. 

 

Robusta Beans on the other hand are grown in parts of Africa, Asia, Vietnam, and even Brazil. While we are starting to see an increase in the demand for these beans, they are primarily used in "Strongest Coffee" blends, and instant coffees. These beans tend to be slightly smaller and have a higher caffeine content. In fact, these beans tend to have 50-60% more caffeine than their tastier cousins.

Here at Rockabilly Roasters, we use the finest in Arabica beans from all over the world. By selecting the very finest in beans we are able to apply our roasting knowledge to extract the very essence of and heart of the bean to bring to your kitchen.

 

 


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