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Botanical Name : Coffea arabica
Species: C. arabica
Common Name :Coffee , java, joe ,coffee shrub of Arabia, mountain coffee or arabica coffee
Habitat :Coffea arabica Originally found in the southwestern highlands of Yemen, Coffea arabica is now rare in its native state, and many populations appear to be mixed native and planted trees. It is common there as an understorey shrub. It has also been recovered from the Boma Plateau in South Sudan. C. arabica is also found on Mount Marsabit in northern Kenya, but it is unclear whether this is a truly native or naturalised occurrence.
The conservation of the genetic variation of Coffea arabica relies on conserving healthy populations of wild coffee in the Afromontane rainforests of Ethiopia. Genetic research has shown coffee cultivation is threatening the genetic integrity of wild coffee because it exposes wild genotypes to cultivars
Coffea arabica is a wild plant grows to between 9 and 12 m (29 and 39 ft) tall, and has an open branching system; the leaves are opposite, simple elliptic-ovate to oblong, 6–12 cm (2.4–4.8 in) long and 4–8 cm (1.6–3.2 in) broad, glossy dark green. The flowers are white, 10–15 mm in diameter and grow in axillary clusters. The fruit is a drupe (though commonly called a “cherry”; interestingly, the plural form is simply “cherry” – used only when referring to the fruit of C. arabica – when referring to the actual cherry fruit, the appropriate plural is “cherries”) 10–15 mm in diameter, maturing bright red to purple and typically contains two seeds (the coffee seeds).
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Coffea arabica accounts for 75-80 percent of the world’s coffee production.
C. arabica takes about seven years to mature fully, and does best with 1.0–1.5 meters (about 40–59 inches) of rain, evenly distributed throughout the year. It is usually cultivated between 1,300 and 1,500 m altitude, but there are plantations as low as sea level and as high as 2,800 m.
The plant can tolerate low temperatures, but not frost, and does best with an average temperature between 15 and 24 °C (59 and 75 °F). Commercial cultivars mostly only grow to about 5 m, and are frequently trimmed as low as 2 m to facilitate harvesting. Unlike Coffea canephora, C. arabica prefers to be grown in light shade.
Drawing of Coffea arabica
Two to four years after planting, C. arabica produces small, white, highly fragrant flowers. The sweet fragrance resembles the sweet smell of jasmine flowers. Flowers opening on sunny days results in the greatest numbers of berries. This can be a curse, however, as coffee plants tend to produce too many berries; this can lead to an inferior harvest and even damage yield in the following years, as the plant will favour the ripening of berries to the detriment of its own health.
On well-kept plantations, overflowering is prevented by pruning the tree. The flowers only last a few days, leaving behind only the thick dark green leaves. The berries then begin to appear. These are as dark green as the foliage, until they begin to ripen, at first to yellow and then light red and finally darkening to a glossy deep red. At this point they are called ‘cherries’ and are ready for picking.
The berries are oblong and about 1 cm long. Inferior coffee results from picking them too early or too late, so many are picked by hand to be able to better select them, as they do not all ripen at the same time. They are sometimes shaken off the tree onto mats, which means ripe and unripe berries are collected together.
The trees are difficult to cultivate and each tree can produce from 0.5 to 5.0 kg of dried beans, depending on the tree’s individual character and the climate that season. The real prize of this cash crop are the beans inside. Each berry holds two locules containing the beans. The coffee beans are actually two seeds within the fruit; there is sometimes a third seed or one seed, a peaberry in the fruit at tips of the branches. These seeds are covered in two membranes; the outer one is called the “parchment coat” and the inner one is called the “silver skin”.
On Java Island, trees are planted at all times of the year and are harvested year round. In parts of Brazil, however, the trees have a season and are harvested only in winter. The plants are vulnerable to damage in poor growing conditions (cold, low pH soil) and are also more vulnerable to pests than the C. robusta plant.
A Coffea arabica plantation in São João do Manhuaçu, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Arabica coffee production in Indonesia began in 1699. Indonesian coffees, such as Sumatran and Java, are known for heavy body and low acidity. This makes them ideal for blending with the higher acidity coffees from Central America and East Africa.
In Hawaii, coffee was formerly more widely grown than at present, and it persists after cultivation in many areas. In some valleys, it is a highly invasive weed.
It has been expected that there may be a medium-term depletion of the culture of arabica, with global warming culture would not be possible without significant investment in agriculture that would make the cultivation of the shrub less profitable.
Gourmet coffees are almost exclusively high-quality mild varieties of arabica coffee, and among the finest arabica coffee beans in the world used for making espresso coffee are Jamaican Blue Mountain, Colombian Supremo, Tarrazú, Costa Rica, Guatemalan Antigua and Ethiopian Sidamo.
It is said to produce better tasting coffee than the other major commercially grown coffee species, Coffea canephora (robusta), because robusta cherries contain twice as much caffeine as arabica. Caffeine itself has a bitter taste, making robusta more bitter. C. arabica contains less caffeine than any other commercially cultivated species of coffee.
Constituents: caffeine, chlorogenic acid, theobromine
Medicinal Uses: * Asthma * Diet/weight Loss * Headache/Migraine
Properties: * Bitter * Nervine * Stimulant
Coffee’s reputation as America’s favorite bad habit has been somewhat redeemed recently. Many recent reports in the scientific literature pointing to the many benefits of coffee including lower rates of strokes , diabetes,prostate cancer and depression among caffeinated coffee drinkers when compared to non-coffee drinkers. 3,4,5,6
The caffeine in coffee and tea is a chemical cousin to the asthma drug theophylline, drinking coffee and caffeinated teas can help calm an asthma attack and stop coughing spasms. Doctors at the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago, Illinois, have found that the common painkiller, ibuprofen, is more active against tension headaches when combined with caffeine. 8 102
As in all things balance is key, coffee’s worst aspect may be that it crowds out the many other healthy herbal teas and drinks we should be consuming during the course of the day.
Coffee consumption has always been a mainstay for dieters and has been associated with long term weight loss, likely from the thermogenic effects of caffeine raising the metabolic rate. Green coffee extract is another component that may be a factor. Green coffee extract, (GCE) is obtained mostly from green or raw coffee, as some of coffee’s active, antioxidant compounds are damaged in the roasting process. GCE is believed to suppress the accumulation of hepatic triglycerides, in other words works as a fat burner. There have no side effects reported in studies when using GCE, but the studies have been small in scope so far. Green coffee extract is not a “magic pill”, however, it may be a good supplement to try as part of a healthy approach to weight
In the green pharmacy Coffee is used in the treatment of flu, asthma, pulmonary problems, and fainting. Also a brew is made from both the leaves and the beans and drunk to accelerate labor.
Recorded medicinal properties of caffeine are: anticancer, antiHIV, antitumor-promoter, cancer-preventive, antibacterial, antiviral, cardiotonic, coronary-dilator, antiulcer, vermifuge, antieczemic, antiasthmatic, anticolitic.
(Schultes, R. E and Raffauf, R. F. 1990. The Healing Forest, Medicinal and Toxic Plants of the Northwest Amazonia.)
Reported to be analgesic, anaphrodisiac, anorexic, antidotal, cardiotonic, CNS-stimulant, counterirritant, diuretic, hypnotic, lactagogue, nervine, stimulant.
Coffee is reported as a folk remedy for asthma, atropine-poisoning, fever, flu, headache, jaundice, malaria, migraine, narcosis, nephrosis, opium-poisoning, sores, and vertigo. Also, caffeine is a widespread additive in over-the-counter diet pills, pain killers, and stimulants.
(Duke and Wain. 1981)
(List and Horhammer.1969-1979.)
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider