Arabica Gourmet Coffee

Plants of many coffee species grow in the wild, but in the global commercial market, Arabica and Robusta beans dominate. Robusta beans (Coffea Canephora) grow at an altitude of sea level to 3000ft. They have high caffeine content, a bitter flavour and are relatively low priced. The plants grow to maturity in two to three years.

Arabica beans (Coffea Arabica) grow at an altitude of 3000 to 6000ft. They have far lower caffeine content than Robusta beans, a milder but more pleasing taste and are more expensive. The plants yield less coffee per year than Robusta and are harder to pick because of the high altitude at which they grow. The Arabica plants also take appreciably longer to mature-sometimes up to seven years. The coffee produced by high quality but mild Coffea Arabica coffee beans are universally known as gourmet coffees. Colombian coffee is just one example of many of a gourmet coffee.

The beans are indigenous to Yemen in Arabia and are believed to be the first example of coffee cultivation with a history stretching over 1000 years. The plants grow to between nine and 12 meters and the fruit produced commonly referred to as a berry matures to around 15mm in diameter and is bright red and normally contains two seeds. These seeds are the coffee beans that make gourmet Arabica coffee.

Two to four years after planting coffee Arabica produces small, white and fragrant flowers, which resemble Jasmine in smell. The flowers only last a few days leaving behind thick green leaves. Once this has happened the beans come into fruition. Initially yellow in colour, then a light red they finally mature into a deep red and are ready to be picked. The high quality of gourmet Arabica beans can only be assured by hand picking. The berries grow at different speeds, and will not be up scratch if removed to early or late.

The beans are grown throughout the world. Colombia, Brazil and Panama are the principal producers in South and Central America. Jamaica, Hawaii and more recently Papua New Guinea are the primary island producers. India produces some of the worlds finest. Ethiopia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Tanzania produce the bulk of the African crop.

Roasted gourmet Arabica coffee beans stay fresh for around two weeks, if packaged and stored correctly. They are imported and enjoyed in every continent of the world.