Coffee (Coffea Arabica)
Main Facts about Coffee
Coffee is an evergreen shrub or small tree, 15 to 40 feet tall with glossy, elliptical leaves, dense clusters of fragrant white flowers, and two-seeded, bright red fruits. Parts used – seeds (beans).
The word “Coffee” comes from Caffa, the name of the region in Ethiopia where the beans were first discovered. For a long time, Arab lands controlled the plant and its seeds, with most of the world’s Coffee supply being shipped through the port of Mocha. In the late 1600s, Dutch traders smuggled some seeds out of the area and cultivated them on the Indonesian island of Java. From there, the plant was introduced to Central America, Brazil, Jamaica, and elsewhere.
The genus contains about 90 species of small trees and evergreen shrubs. Coffea Arabica is the most widely grown. In the United States alone, more than 100 million people drink Coffee daily.
Coffee contains the bioactive compound caffeine, as well as a lot of antioxidants. Caffeine is an ingredient in many cold, flu, allergies, antidrowsiness, and menstrual remedies. Caffeine acts as a stimulant, a laxative, a diuretic, and an appetites suppressant. Besides keeping you awake and alert, Coffee can lift your mood, sharpen your cognition, alleviate asthma (caffeine is a decongestant) and headaches, and possibly protect you from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, various kinds of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and kidney stones. Coffee improves physical stamina and athletic performance.
Recent research has shown that Coffee berries – the fruit enclosing the bean – are also rich sources of antioxidants. Compounds in the berries are thought to benefit your skin by reducing inflammation, wrinkles, and sun damage. You can buy Coffee berry extract as a dietary supplement at health food stores. Many skin-care products include it, too.
Cooking with CoffeeBesides being the essential wake-up beverage for millions, Coffee is also used to flavor liqueurs and desserts, such as Italy’s classic espresso-soaked tiramisu. Espresso is a highly concentrated form of coffee made by forcing water under pressure through finely ground Coffee beans. Variations include lattes (served with steamed milk), cappuccinos (with milk and steamed foam), and mochas (with chocolate). The drink can be enjoyed hot or iced.
How to grow Coffee
Coffee grows in well-drained, moist soil in full sun or partial shade. It thrives in warm, humid climates with a minimum temperature of 60F.
Coffee is available as houseplants. Plant the seeds in rich loam amended with compost. Water regularly and feed with a diluted liquid fertilizer. In a dry environment, such as a heated home, mist often to increase humidity. As a houseplant, Coffee will yield few, if any, berries.