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Café & Aroma

Origins of Coffee

The coffee tree is native to the ancient province of Kaffa in the Abyssinian highlands, today Ethiopia, where it grows wild. The etymology of Kaffa is believed to come from the Arabic qahwah which means “a berry drink.” As a result, the region has traditionally been considered the birthplace of coffee, as it was there that Christian monks during the Middle Ages prepared infusions with the plant today called Cafeto (from the genus Coffea – from the Rubiaceae family). The energetic qualities of coffee were also known to the Galla tribe of Ethiopia in the 11th century, who mixed it with animal fat and ingested it. Later the coffee tree would be introduced in Arabia, and where it would expand to the rest of the world with the Turkish dominion of Anatolia.

Coffee Facts

Family: Rubiáceae

Genus: Coffea

Species: arábica, canephora, libérica, etc.

Variety: typica: java, blue montain, maragogipe; bourbon: caturra, moka, SL28; heirloom: geisha, Kaffa all in arabic coffea.

Variety: robusta and laurentii in coffea canephora.

Variety: dewevrei and koto in coffea lebérica.

There are the Crosses, which occur between the varieties: mundo novo: typica + bourbon

catuai: mundo novo + caturra; pacamara: pacas + maragogype.

Hybrids exist, which occurs between species and between species and varieties.

timor: arabica + robust; icatú: bourbon + robusta + mundo novo

Coffee Species

Coffee belongs to the Rubiaceae family and to the Coffea genus.

There are numerous species of coffee tree and different varieties of each species. The most commercially important species belonging to the genus Coffea are: Coffea arabica Linnaeus (known as Arabica or Arabiga) and Coffea canephora Pierre Ex Froehner (known as Robusta). There are other species that also appear in the coffee market, but on a smaller scale: Coffea libérica, a liberian variety, is found in Monrovia, Liberia and has a captive market in the Scandinavian countries; and it has other varieties known as Excelsa (some consider this variety as a species) that has its origin in Lake Chad in Africa and dewevrei that is cultivated in less quantity.

Arabica Coffea

Arabica coffee is the most cultivated since ancient times. It represents 75% of world coffee production. It produces a fine and aromatic coffee and needs a cool climate. The cultivation of the Arabica coffee tree is more delicate, less productive and is reserved for mountain highlands, between 900 and 2000 meters above sea level. It is cultivated throughout Latin America, in Central and Eastern Africa, in India and Indonesia. Its best known varieties are “arabica” (typica) and “bourbon”, but from these new strains and different cultivars have been developed, such as: “Caturra”, “Mundo Novo”, “Tico”, “San Ramón”, “Moca”, “Maragogipe”, “Columnaris” or “Blue Mountain” Catuai, Limani and the Geisha especially the one that is cultivated in the highlands of Chiriquí and Boquete; Republic of Panama, where this variety is so extraordinary, that its qualities have been rated as the best in the world of coffee and the highest quoted in auctions. The quality that this geisha variety acquires is due to: the climate, the sun, the wind, the rainwater, the volcanic earth, the altitude, the relief of the terrain and the people who dedicate themselves throughout the process of this selection, which they make it unique with its flavors and aromas that are only found in Panama.

Coffea canephora

Robusta coffee is grown in Central and West Africa, throughout Southeast Asia and a little in Brazil, where it is known as “Conillón”. It offers a drink rich in caffeine; Strong and more acidic, usually used to make instant or soluble coffee and blends, it has 20% of the world coffee market. The robust one adapts to flat terrain, with higher yields. Its best known varieties are: robusta, quilou and lawrentii. Originally from the Belgian Congo (currently the Democratic Republic of the Congo), today it is cultivated in the Ivory Coast, Angola, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Indonesia, Brazil and the Philippines. More resistant than the arabica coffee (hence its name “robust”).

Coffea liberica

Liberian coffee is grown in Malaysia and West Africa and is only traded in small quantities where it accounts for 5% of world coffee production including its excelsa, koto and dewevrei varieties. Very little coffee of these species is found in trade, because the trees when fully grown are too tall to easily collect fruit. Instead, the nuts are collected as they fall.

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