COFFEE - FLOWER AND PLANT
Scientific name: Coffea spp
Category: Perennial crop
Also known as the “Arabian Jasmine”, the coffee plant has great value both for its beans and blooms. The beans are used to make coffee whereas the flowers are used to make perfume. The genus Coffea is derived from the word “Kaffa” which refers to a province in Ethiopia. It is the original home land of the coffee plant. Many varieties of coffee plants are found in the wild rain forest mountains. The plant was classified in the 18th century under the Rubiaceous Family. There are 60 different species of coffee tree, but only two f them dominate world trade, they are Coffea arabica with 75% production and Coffea canephora popularly known as Robusta.
It is a shrub with a straight trunk, which survives upto 50 years. It starts to bloom during the third year but it becomes profitable only from the fifth year onwards. It grows to a height of 18 m but it is stunted to 2 m for commercial purposes.
THE LEAVES are spear-shaped with dark green color and are shiny on the upper surface. They grow in pairs on both sides of the stem. The leaves of Robusta trees are much larger than that of the Arabica.
THE FLOWERS are pure white in color, with five to six petals. The pistil that comes from the cupule is tipped with delicate stigmas. They bloom in clusters at the leaf axils along the stem. The interesting point is that they smell like jasmine and not like coffee. The flowers are in the form of ‘Glomerules’ or little tufts made up of 8-15 flowers each at the base of the leaves. Each tree produces upto 30,000 flowers per year. They have a jasmine like fragrance. The flowers last only for a few hours. They start to wilt once they are fertilized, but are replaced by fresh ones the following day. Because of this one can see leaves, flowers and fruits on the same plant at the same time.
THE CHERRY of the coffee tree is also called as the drupe which is green in the beginning and as it ripens over several months it becomes yellow, then red, garnet red and finally black. But they are harvested when red in color. they are oval-shaped and mature in seven to eleven months. Each berry has two flat seeds called coffee bean. The berry with one seed is called as Pea-berry. The berry needs to be fully ripe to give good quality coffee. The harvested beans undergo careful processing of sun drying, fermenting, pulping, roasting and grinding to become coffee.
IMPORTANT FACTORS FOR GROWING COFFEE:-
· Must avoid excessive heat and cold.
· It needs a deep, loose, fertile and well drained soil.
· The pH must be slightly neutral to acidic.
· Fertilize with 15:15:15 NPK fertilizer once every fortnight.
· There must be 1200-1500 mm of rain/year.
· Only few hours of day light.
· No strong winds.
· When it comes to altitude the higher the better.
Coffee grows perfectly in between 280 N and 300 S; so the most suitable areas included West Africa, East Africa, Central America, Yemen, Madagascar, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.