Ah, the coffee tree. Just thinking about it brings a smile to our faces. The rich, robust aroma of its beans, the way the sun shines off its lush leaves…there’s nothing like it. You might be wondering, what is the average lifespan of a coffee tree? Well, let us tell you a little bit about the coffee tree and its life cycle.
What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Coffee Tree?
The coffee tree, also known as Coffea Rubiaceae, is a flowering plant that produces coffee beans. The plant originated in Ethiopia and was then exported to countries around the world, where it was used to create the delicious beverage we all know and love. A coffee tree can live for up to 100 years, but the average lifespan is between 20 and 30 years.
The coffee tree is genuinely a tropical tree. That’s why you won’t see a lot of domestically-grown coffee plants. The only places you’ll see coffee plantations in the United States are Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and small parts of California.
Coffee Tree And Its Types
As you should expect, the tree’s varietal plays an enormous role in the flavor of your coffee. The varietal type, where it’s grown, its soil condition, and the surrounding plant types – all impact how the coffee beans taste and aroma when they’re brewed.
Two significant types of coffee shrubs that you need to know generally. Because they produce the main types of coffee we consume daily. These are Coffea Arabica, which makes Arabica coffee beans. And the other one is Coffea Canephora, which makes Robusta coffee beans. However, there are more than 6,000 other shrubs in the same genus, with perhaps 25-100 producing coffee beans as we know them.
Arabica (Coffea arabica): Arabica coffee is widely considered the higher quality and more flavorful of the two species. It accounts for a significant portion of the world’s coffee production. Arabica trees are more delicate and require specific growing conditions, such as higher elevation (around 2,000 to 6,000 feet or 600 to 1,800 meters), mild temperatures, shade, and well-drained soil. They are more susceptible to diseases and pests but produce beans with complex flavors, acidity, and pleasant aromas. Arabica coffee represents the majority of specialty and gourmet coffees.
Robusta (Coffea canephora): Robusta coffee is more robust and disease-resistant than Arabica, making it easier to cultivate. It is typically grown at lower altitudes (around 200 to 800 feet or 60 to 240 meters) in warmer climates. Robusta beans have higher caffeine content, a stronger and more bitter taste, and less acidity compared to Arabica. They are often used in blends, instant coffee, and espresso blends to provide body and crema. Robusta is generally considered a lower-grade coffee, but certain specialty Robusta varieties are gaining recognition for their unique flavors.
Apart from these main species, there are also some lesser-known or region-specific coffee tree varieties and hybrids, including:
Liberica (Coffea liberica): Liberica coffee trees are less commonly cultivated and represent a small fraction of the world’s coffee production. They have larger cherries and beans compared to Arabica and Robusta, and their flavor profile is often described as strong, woody, and distinct.
Excelsa (Coffea liberica var. dewevrei): Excelsa is a subtype of Liberica that was previously classified as a separate species. It has a unique flavor profile with fruity and tart notes and is primarily grown in Southeast Asia.
Geisha (Coffea arabica var. Geisha): Geisha coffee, originally from Ethiopia but now primarily associated with Panama, has gained international recognition for its exceptional quality and unique flavor profile. It is known for its floral and tea-like characteristics.
These are some of the main types of coffee trees and their notable characteristics. The specific variety or cultivar of coffee trees can have a significant impact on the flavor, aroma, and overall quality of the coffee produced.
Coffee Tree’s Different Stages
During a coffee tree’s 20 years lifespan, it will produce approximately 40,000 beans. That may sound like a lot but don’t forget the fact that it takes several beans to make a single cup of coffee. This is also the reason why coffee production requires mass-scale production lines. Producing coffee beans isn’t a simple process either for the tree or the farmer. It’s a constant working and caring process during its 20 years of lifespan.
A coffee tree begins its life as a seedling, which is then transplanted into soil and watered regularly. After about 3 years, the tree will start to produce flowers. Once the flowers are pollinated, they will turn into fruits known as coffee cherries. It takes approximately 6 to 9 months for the cherries to ripen, at which point they are ready to be harvested.
Once the cherries are picked, they are hulled and dried before being roasted and ground into coffee beans. The beans are then brewed into coffee and enjoyed by people all over the world!
So there you have it: everything you need to know about the lifespan of a coffee tree. Next time you’re enjoying a cup of joe, take a moment to appreciate all that went into making it—from the humble beginnings of a seedling to the final product in your cup. And if you want to show your appreciation, buy some fair-trade coffee! It’ll make both you and the farmers who grew your beans happy. 🙂