Coffee is one of America’s favorite drinks. Prepared from roasted coffee beans, it’s known for the stimulating effect it has on drinkers. It’s also the highest-ranking hot beverage in sales worldwide.
But where does it come from before it hits store shelves? Read on to learn all you need to know about the Arabica coffee plant!
Interested in purchasing an Arabica coffee plant to grow your own? Check availability!
A History of the Arabica Coffee Plant
The Arabica coffee plant is known to be the first species of coffee plant ever cultivated. It is the dominant cultivar, with 60% of the global production of coffee beans.
Antoine de Jussieu is credited with being the first to scientifically describe Coffea arabica by naming it Jasminum arabicum. He went on to place it in its genus, Coffea.
The Arabica tree is native to Ethiopia. The plant spread to the lower Arabian peninsula in the 7th century. Legend says a goatherder named Kaldi saw that his goats were “dancing lively” when they ate the plant’s berries. He took his findings to the local monastery, where one of the monks boiled and drank it.
These Arab scholars were the first to record the discovery in writing, claiming the coffee bean was helpful in prolonging their working hours. The popularity of the drink spread to the Egyptians, Turks, and eventually the rest of the world.
The Arabica coffee plant was first brought to Hawaii in 1813 and is grown extensively, especially in Kona. Today it’s grown in Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Brazil, and Columbia.
What Does the Arabica Coffee Plant Look Like?
The Arabica coffee plant can grow 30-39 feet tall in the wild. Local trees usually grow 6-15 feet tall with the same distance in width.
The leaves are known for their dark green, glossy appearance. They usually grow 1 ½ – 3 inches across and 2 ½ – 4 ½ inches long in an oblong shape.
The flowers of the Arabica coffee plant are white and grow in axillary clusters. They are star-shaped and sweetly scented. They bloom in the spring, producing berries soon after.
The seeds of the Arabica coffee plant are inside a drupe, which is sometimes called a cherry or berry. They are bright red to purple, or almost black in appearance when they reach maturity. Each cherry contains two seeds or beans.
Ways to Consume Arabica Coffee
The taste of coffee beans can vary depending on the region where they’re grown. The Arabic coffee bean tastes sweet, with fruity or berry notes, or can have a nutty or chocolate flavor. The Arabica coffee bean’s higher acidity gives it a more winey tone.
The most popular coffee consumption methods are the Pour Over Method, French Press, espresso, or drip coffee maker. Arabica coffee beans can make various coffees, including hot, iced, cold brew, frozen, dirty chai, Irish, and affogato.
Health Benefits of Coffee
To get the greatest health benefits of coffee, drink it black. If you can’t get past the bitterness, try drinking it with as little sugar, milk, or creamer content as possible. Many popular coffee drinks sold at coffee shops can have as much as 500 calories per drink!
Due to its caffeine content, drinking coffee stimulates the brain, which makes you more alert. It’s also been known to help speed up the metabolism!
Coffee beans also hold anti-oxidant properties. This helps protect your body from harmful radical compounds. It helps decrease the risk of endometrial and liver cancers, as well as cancers of the mouth, larynx, and skin.
Another great benefit of drinking black coffee is that it fights the bacteria in the mouth that causes cavities. This is due to the presence of caffeine and chlorogenic acid.
Some studies suggest that drinking coffee can decrease glucose, which can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. For every 1 cup of daily coffee, the risk of type 2 diabetes decreases by 6%. Those who drink 3-4 cups a day can see a reduced risk of up to 25%!
Other studies have shown that drinking coffee daily can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and depression. And that drinking just 2-3 cups per day will reduce the risk of heart disease!
An 8oz cup of coffee contains vitamins and minerals like magnesium, manganese, niacin, and riboflavin.
Another perk of drinking coffee is that it has zero calories! This means that if you don’t add any milk or sweetener to your morning cup of joe, it will be great for weight loss.
Learn to Grow Your Own Arabica Coffee Plant!
The Arabica coffee plant has a compact growth habit, making it a good potted indoor plant! To be sure it stays at a reasonable size, you’ll need to prune it every spring.
It’s important to note that you cannot use store-bought coffee beans to grow a coffee plant because they’ve been treated and roasted. Also, note that the plant is toxic to pets.
Once you’ve purchased your seeds or seedlings, it will take a few years of growth before they will produce flowers or berries.
To grow your plant, try to mimic the outside environment of the tropics. The best temperatures to grow the Arabica coffee plant are 70-80 degrees during the day and 65-70 degrees at night. The humidity level should remain at 50% or higher.
The plant will need plenty of water, good drainage, and rich, slightly acidic soil with a pH value of 6-6.5. These trees grow best by a window with dappled sunlight in a non-drafty area.
Aim to water weekly to keep it moist but not waterlogged. Never allow the soil to dry out. Mist the leaves daily to increase humidity. In cooler weather, water less often. The leaves will droop when they need watering. Be sure the leaves do not wilt!
Where to Buy an Arabica Coffee Plant
You can purchase a 4″ plant already potted or ready to transplant into this super cute vintage coffee cup planter.
The Beautiful Arabica Coffee Plant
The Arabica coffee plant is more than just a means to a cup of coffee. It’s a beautiful plant that grows throughout the world. It has excellent health benefits for those that enjoy drinking the bitter beverage. And it’s possible to grow your own!
Did you know you can use your old coffee grounds to grow other plants? Visit our post on 10 Surprising Uses for Coffee Grounds in Gardens to learn all about it!