Coffee Plants - The Deep Dive

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In this article you'll learn about coffee plants - different types, how they grow, where they are found, and how they produce coffee beans.

Coffee plants are evergreen shrubs or small trees that grow in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, such as Central America, South America, Africa, and Asia. They yield fruit that contains coffee beans, which are of course used to make coffee.

The scientific name for the coffee plant is Coffea, and there are many different species within this genus. A genus is a group of closely related plants; coffee plants all share certain features in common, such as their coffee-bean-bearing fruit, but differ in other ways. For example, some coffee plants are shrubs while others are small trees.

All coffee plants belong to the botanical family Rubiaceae, which contains many other well-known species, such as Gardenia and Cinchona.

Coffee plants are dioecious, meaning that there are separate male and female plants. Male coffee plants produce small flowers, while female coffee plants produce the coffee beans.

Different Types of Coffee Plants

There are two main types of coffee plants:


  • Arabica coffee plants
  • Robusta coffee plants


Arabica coffee plants are the most popular type of coffee plant. They make up about 75 percent of the world's coffee production. Arabica coffee plants are native to Ethiopia, and they grow best in high altitudes.

Robusta coffee plants are native to Central and South America. They make up about 25 percent of the world's coffee production. Robusta coffee plants are less popular than Arabica coffee plants because they produce coffee that is not as good tasting.

Coffea Arabica Plants

These coffee plants grow in countries located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. This includes countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Tanzania. Canephora coffee plants are mostly found in Africa.

Coffea arabica plants thrive in high altitudes, with ideal growing conditions being around 1500-2000 meters above sea level. They also prefer a shady environment, as too much direct sunlight can damage the plants.

Coffea Arabica Beans

Arabica coffee beans are known for their superior flavor and aroma, which is why they fetch a higher price than robusta beans. They coffee plant itself is quite fragile and difficult to grow, which also contributes to the higher cost of these coffee beans.

The beans are developed in coffee cherries, which grow on the branches of the coffee plant. Once the cherries are ripe, they are picked by hand and then sorted. The coffee beans are then hulled, roasted, and ground before they can be used to brew coffee.


Coffea arabica plants are evergreen shrubs or small trees that can grow up to 10 meters (32 feet) tall. These plants look similar to other coffee plants, with dark green leaves and white flowers. However, they can be distinguished by their elliptical-shaped coffee beans. These coffee beans are shaped like a flattened oval and have a smooth, shiny surface.

The white flowers of the coffee plant are very fragrant and bloom in clusters. Each flower only lasts for a day, but the plant can produce hundreds of flowers at a time.

The coffee plant flowers year-round in subtropical climates, but will only bloom once a year in tropical climates.


Coffea arabica plants are more difficult to grow than canephora plants. They are more susceptible to diseases and pests, and require more care and attention. Arabica coffee plants also have a lower yield than canephora plants.

However, the coffee beans produced by these plants are of a higher quality and fetch a higher price.


Arabica coffee beans are known for their superior flavor and aroma. These coffee beans have a milder, smoother taste than robusta coffee beans. They also have less caffeine, which some coffee drinkers prefer.

Coffea Canephora Plants

Canephora coffee plants are more tolerant to heat and disease than arabica plants, which is why they're often grown in lower altitudes (around 600-1200 meters above sea level). They can also handle more direct sunlight than arabica plants.

Robusta coffee beans are typically used in Instant coffee, as well as some coffees sold in supermarkets. They have a higher caffeine content than arabica beans, which some coffee drinkers prefer.

Coffea Canephora Beans

Beans from the coffea canephora plant tend to be larger and more elongated than arabica beans. They also have a higher density, which coffee roasters like because it means they can pack more coffee into each roaster batch. These plants produce Robusta coffee beans.


The coffee plant is a woody shrub that can grow up to 10 meters (32 feet) tall, but most varieties are much smaller. Coffee plants have dark green, glossy leaves and white flowers with purple centers. The purple centers of the coffee flowers turn into coffee berries, which contain coffee beans.

Coffea canephora plants are often mistaken for coffee arabica plants. However, they can be distinguished by their oval-shaped coffee beans and dark green leaves.

The coffee plant blooms and produces coffee cherries year-round in tropical climates, but will only bloom once a year in subtropical climates.


Coffee plants typically take around 3-4 years to mature and produce coffee beans. The coffee beans are actually the seeds of the coffee plant's fruit, which is known as a coffee cherry. Once the coffee cherries are ripe, they are hand-picked and then pulped to remove the skin and fleshy pulp.

After the coffee cherries have been pulped, the coffee beans are fermented in order to remove any remaining pulp. They are then washed and dried before being roasted. Roasting coffee beans brings out their flavor and aroma, and is an essential step in making good coffee.


In terms of taste, Coffea canephora plant produce coffee that is similar to coffee made from Arabica beans. However, coffee made from Robusta beans tends to be more bitter and have less flavor.

What Do Coffee Plants Need to Grow?

Coffee plants are usually found in the following climates:


  • Tropical climates with high humidity and rainfall, such as in Central America, South America, and Africa
  • Subtropical climates with moderate humidity and rainfall, such as in Hawaii.
  • Mediterranean climates with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers, such as in California


Coffee plants tend to be found in tropical climates because coffee beans grow best in warm, humid environments. They need humidity because coffee plants are susceptible to coffee rust, a disease that is spread by spores in the air. Coffee rust attacks the leaves of coffee plants and can eventually kill the plant.

Coffee plants also need a lot of rain, about 60 inches (1,500 millimeters) per year. The rain provides the coffee plant with the water it needs to grow. Too much rain, however, can cause problems. If coffee plants get too much water, they may not produce as many coffee beans.


Coffee plants need well-drained, rich soil to grow. The coffee plant's roots are shallow, so the plant does not need deep soil. Coffee plants do best in loamy soil, which is a type of soil that contains a mixture of sand, clay, and organic matter.

Organic matter helps coffee plants by providing them with nutrients. Coffee plants need nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to grow. They also need other minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, and iron.

Coffee plants need to be fertilized regularly with these nutrients to produce coffee beans. Coffee plants that are not fertilized may produce fewer coffee beans, and the coffee beans they do produce may be smaller.


Coffee plants need a lot of sunlight to grow. They need at least four hours of direct sunlight each day. Coffee plants that do not get enough sunlight may not produce as many coffee beans.


Coffee plants like it warm, but not too hot. The ideal temperature for coffee plants is between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 and 25 degrees Celsius). If the temperature gets too hot, coffee plants may stop producing coffee beans.

Resting Period

Coffee plants also need a period of cool weather each year to produce coffee beans. This period is called the coffee plant's "resting period." During the resting period, the coffee plant's leaves fall off, and the plant does not produce any coffee beans. The resting period typically lasts for two to three months.

Coffee plants need a resting period because coffee beans only grow on new leaves. If coffee plants do not have a resting period, they will eventually run out of new leaves, and they will not be able to produce coffee beans.

How Do Coffee Plants Produce Coffee Beans?

Coffee beans are actually the seeds of coffee cherries. The coffee cherry is a fruit that grows on coffee plants. Each coffee cherry contains two coffee beans.

Coffee cherries typically ripen all at once, and they are usually harvested by hand. coffee pickers go through the coffee plants and pick the ripe coffee cherries. The coffee cherries are then sorted and processed to remove the coffee beans.

Once the coffee beans are removed from the coffee cherries, they are dried and roasted. The roasted coffee beans are then ground up and used to make coffee.


What is a coffee plant?

A coffee plant is a shrub or small tree that produces coffee beans. The coffee plant is native to tropical regions of Africa and Asia. Coffee plants are grown in more than 70 countries around the world.


How does a coffee plant produce coffee beans?

Coffee beans are actually the seeds of coffee cherries. The coffee plant produces coffee cherries, which contain two coffee beans each. Once the coffee cherries are ripe, they are picked and the coffee beans are extracted.


What type of coffee bean does a coffee plant produce?

There are two main types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica coffee beans are higher quality and have a more complex flavor than Robusta coffee beans. Robusta coffee beans are lower quality and have a more bitter flavor.

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