The coffee tree belongs to the Rubiaceae family and a genus of Coffea. There are four species: Excelsa, Liberica, Arabica and Robusta (or Canephora) though only the last two are commercialised.
Its cultivation needs a tropical climate, therefore it grows everywhere in the world between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn along 60 countries.
The Arabica coffee tree comes from the Ethiopian high plateau. It grows between 600 and 1700 meters, it is between 3 and 6 meters high and its oval-shaped bright green leaves can reach 10 cm. length. Its flowers are small, white and with a perfume similar to jasmine. It begins bearing fruits 4 years after being planted. The cherries are first green until they become deep red when they are fully ripen. The coffee tree is very sensitive to climate changes and plagues and requires much attention; this is why it is planted in high altitude. It offers quality coffee cups, clean and aromatic cups with good post-taste. They have between 1.2 and 1.8% caffeine. Brazil is the main producer of this variety.
The Robusta coffee tree comes from the centre and the south of the sub-Saharan Africa. It grows in a lower altitude, between 200 and 800 metres and it is more resistant to plagues and diseases, easier to cultivate and its performance per plant is higher, so it is cheaper to produce. It has a profile in the cup lower than the Arabica, flatter, more earthy, bitterer and less aromatic, it is also less digestive. It has between 2.1 and 2.6 caffeine. It is used in blends with Arabica coffees to strengthen and give more consistence and cream. Vietnam is the biggest world producer.
Did you know that, after petroleum, coffee is the product that moves more money in the world?