Coffee is made from the beans (seeds) from the red coffee berry of the coffee plant. These plants grow within a 1000 miles range from the equator, with prominent producers like Brazil, Columbia, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Uganda, Ethiopia, India, Vietnam and Indonesia.

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Most coffee is consumed in areas where the coffee trees don’t grow, such as in northern Europe and North America.

Coffee Bean Farmers

Most coffee is grown on small farms of only a few acres. These small farms can be easy targets for large corporations, which can dictate (low) prices to improve their bottom line. Initiatives like Fair Trade allow farmers who organized themselves in cooperatives to get a fair price. It may mean that you have to pay a little more for your coffee, but the quality will be much better and you know you purchased an ethical supply of coffee. This may also be organic coffee.

Coffee Plant Is Like A Tree

Wild coffee plants can grow more then 6 meters high and can live up to 60 years. The trees are pruned to about 4-5 meters to make harvesting easier. After about four years the plants / trees blossom; this attracts insects which pollinate the blossoms, allowing them to produce berries. After 6-9 months, when the coffee berries are ripe, they are harvested and dried. By then the green berries have turned red or yellow. As they resemble the cherry fruit, ripe beans are called “coffee cherries”. The seeds (beans) are then roasted, which cause it to change its flavour and chemical consistency. Different roasting techniques and durations will change the flavour of the resulting roasted coffee beans.

But as with most agricultural commodities, Mother Nature is rarely kind. Dangers to a good harvest include:

  • High winds
  • Too little or too much rain
  • Too little or too much sunlight
  • Hail
  • Diseases like leaf rust
  • Insects

Caffeine is like a natural pesticide, killing the insects that feed on the coffee, tea and cocoa plants / trees.