If You Love Expresso

Coffee is grown in over seventy countries, from Indonesia to Brazil. Yet the total production of coffee is relatively small because it is such a fussy plant. Even though we call it a coffee bean, this is a misnomer. The little pod that is roasted, ground and brewed is actually the seed of the fruit that grows on the coffee tree. The coffee tree grows to twenty feet as a rule, but can reach heights of 45 feet. Most of these seeds come in pairs. There is one, called the pea berry, that looks like a cranberry with a sweet pulp and covered with a silvery membrane. Coffee grows in a band of about 25 degrees to the north and to the south, near the equator that encirlces the world. The reason for the concentration in this area is because coffee requires temperatures between 60F (15C) and 70F (21C) and a rainfall of six inches per month or more. In addition, coffee needs a specialized soil that is loamy and well drained. High humidity, found in mountain areas is also ideal. Diffused light and light breezes are also part of ideal conditions. Since oxygen is scarce at these altitudes, the trees mature slowly. All of these conditions cause the output of coffee to be low.

There is a coffee bean that can grow in lower altitudes, robusta, or coffea canephora, and it is also disease resistant. For these reasons, it is used for the majority of coffee. But coffee gourmets will insist on high altitude coffee arabica.

A coffee tree will take five years to produce its first crop of coffee, and a single tree only yields about 2,00 beans, about two pounds of coffee.

The beans have to be manually harvested by coffee pickers. This is a highly specialized skill, since pickers need to be able to differentiate between the good beans and the bad beans. They choose each bean individually. No wonder coffee is expensive.

Coffee trees have broad dark leaves and produce a flower that blossoms over a six to eight week period. This long blossoming period, the longest being in the areas closest to the equator, such as Kenya or Colombia, means that beans are ripening at different rates and mature beans can be right next to immature ones. The coffee picker has to be careful.

From first blossom to final harvest can take as long as nine months for coffee. This cycle will repeat over and over for the life of the tree, 20 to 25 years. Even under the best conditions of cultivation, a hectare will yield only between 6,600 lbs (3,000 kg) and 8,800 lbs (4,000 kg). Then the beans have to be brought down from these inhospitable growing areas to the processing areas and shipped out at a rate that makes coffee the second largest volume commodity.

You will no longer wonder why that delicious cup of coffee that came out of your expresso machine costs so much when you consider the journey it took.

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About The Author, Johnathan Bakers -
Concentrating on informating about coffee, Johnathan Bakers is publishing principally for http://www.coffee-espresso-maker-tips.com . His articles are on http://www.coffee-espresso-maker-tips.com/expresso-machines.html .