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Botanical Name of Coffee
The botanical name of coffee is Coffea. It belongs to the Rubiaceae family. It is a small flowering plant which is native to tropical and Southern Africa, as well as tropical Asia. The tropical coffee plant is short in height about 3–3.5 m only. The leaves of coffee plant are green and waxy.
The Coffea Arabica beans are very delicate and pest prone. Usually, coffee beans contain a lot of caffeine. Hence, coffee plant is very valuable and it is widely exported around the world.
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The edible coffee fruits are also called coffee cherries. They are usually red or purple in colour. They are either known as epigynous berries or as indehiscent drupes. The coffee beans contain caffeine which is toxic in nature. However, all Coffea species do not contain caffeine. Caffeine acts as a natural plant defence mechanism against herbivory. Its leaves and fruits also contain caffeine.
Classification of Coffee
Botanical Name− Coffea
Types of Coffee
There are more than 100 species of coffee plants around the world. The most common varieties of Coffee are − Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora (Robusta).
Robusta has more caffeine as compared to the Coffee arabica which has a richer sweet taste.
The Robusta coffee is found at lower altitudes of around 2000 feet above sea level. Whereas, Arabica is found at higher altitudes of about 2000–6500 feet. It is a subtropical crop. It flourishes best in chilly climatic conditions. It requires plenty of sunlight as well as shade.
Eastern Africa and Latin America are the largest producers of Arabica (and other types of coffee beans around the world). Coffee plants are intolerant of freezing temperatures.
The coffee Arabica tree starts producing fruits after three to five years of plantation. These plants have a very long economic life of about 50–60 years. Some plants can live for almost 100 years. Coffee fruit ripens in about 9 months.
Cultivation of Coffee
Different environments and cultivation processes result in many types of coffee. For this, various conditions are involved as follows −
The coffee plantations process can take place at any time between June to December depending on other factors. Temperature and rainfall are very important factors in coffee cultivation. Coffee plants cannot withstand zero and sub-zero temperatures.
The most suitable temperature range is 23°C–28°C. Annual rainfall ranging from 1500 mm to 2000 mm with a dry period of 2-3 months works best for arabica. Both sunlight and shade are required for growing arabica. Therefore, it is difficult to grow coffee.
Soil condition for plantation
Coffee must be grown in a sub-tropical climate at high altitude. Coffee cultivation is often done at cleared or modified forestland. Coffee is planted in rows with space varying from 1200–1800 plants per hectare. Healthy and fully ripe berries from specially identified plants are selected for plantation.
Lightly loamy soil with good drainage works best for coffee cultivation. The soil should be rich in organic matter. Sometimes coarse sand is added in heavy soil for better drainage and aeration. The seedlings are planted in nurseries first at the start of the rainy season.
Coffee plantations require special care in terms of pest protection, weed management and irrigation during the first 3–4 years.
Many insects affect coffee production such as coffee borer beetle, coffee leaf miners. Coffee plants also suffer from leaf rust disease which damages the coffee arabica plantations. Coffee berry disease also affect the Arabica plants.
Coffee is a rainy season crop and it does not require much irrigation, however sprinkler irrigation during blooming time helps in improving the yield.
As they grow and start producing fruits, the only care required is trimming of bush to provide a balanced framework and stimulating the fruit production.
For Arabica coffee, the time between blooming and maturing of fruits is approximately seven months, whereas for Robusta, it is about nine months. Coffee cherries are harvested by hand when they are completely ripe and have a red-purple colour. Most coffee cherries have two seeds or beans. Some cherries (About 5%) have only a single seed. These are called pea berries. The single seeds are smaller in size and produce a more flavourful coffee. After harvesting, it is recommended to lightly prune the coffee plants.
Coffee processing is a long and complicated process. It mainly consists of two parts: first the processing of green coffee and then the processing of beans. For processing, the first step that arises is the hulling process wherein ripened coffee fruits are picked from the plant.
Generally, there are two beans in each plant. The seed is separated from the cover and pulp, and then the cherries are dried. The cherries must be pulp free and completely dry before roasting. We get green coffee after hulling.
After that the green coffee beans are hand sorted and dried in sun-light. It is a four-week process where the fruits are turned by hand again and again to avoid fermentation. After this, the coffee peel and pulps are removed by using pulping machines. Then fermentation takes place which removes the thin leather coating. After fermentation, the dry skin around the coffee seed is removed with the help of machines. Furthermore, a pulped natural process takes place. In this process, the pulp is mechanically removed and beans are dried without fermentation.
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Coffee Bean Processing
First of all, the coffee beans are decaffeinated. In this method the coffee beans are immersed in boiling water for extracting their flavour. The next crop of green beans is washed with this water afterwards. The coffee beans are then roasted at a very high temperature to enhance the aroma and taste. The roasting process emits steam, carbon dioxide and other chemicals. With roasting, the colour of beans become darker. There are changes in texture also.
Over-roasting should be avoided as the beans get cracked up. After roasting, the grinding process takes place, where the beans are cut by a sacred roller.
Some companies also provide the roasted beans for customers to roast them at their homes.
Nutritional Content in Coffee
Coffee is a widely popular beverage. A cup of coffee with no added sugar and cream has the below given nutritional contents in it −
It has zero carbohydrates, fat, fiber and sugar. Coffee is also used for flavouring many edible products such as candies, drinks etc. However, caffeinated coffee in high quantities is not good for health. Large quantities can cause headache, anxiety, chest pain, etc. It should be specially avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Q1. What is the correct botanical name of Robusta coffee?
a) Coffea carrissoi
b) Coffea congensis
c) Coffea coursiana
d) Coffea canephora
Q2. What is the correct class of coffee?
Q3. Coffea arabica grows at which of the following altitude levels?
a) 500 – 1000 feet at above sea level
b) 1000 – 2000 feet at above sea level
c) 2000 – 6500 feet at above sea level
d) 5000 – 12500 feet at above sea level
Q4. What is the ideal temperature range for growing coffee?
a) 12°C - 20°C
b) 23°C - 28°C
c) 30°C - 35°C
d) 38°C - 45°C
Q5. What is the approximate amount of Potassium present in a cup of black coffee?
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