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Coffea arabica

AuthorityL.
FamilyMagnoliopsida:Asteridae:Rubiales:Rubiaceae
Synonyms
Common namescoffee arabica, arabian coffee, arabica coffee, kafei, kofe, cafe, Kaffee, yebuna fire, buna
Editor
Ecocrop code749



Notes
DESCRIPTION: A globose evergreen, multi-stemmed shrub or small tree attaining heights of up to 5-10 m (when not pruned). The root system of the mature coffee tree consists of: a taproot, which is often extensively branched, robust, and generally short (0.3 to 0.5 m), but may grow as long as 1.0 m in deep soils. A number of secondary roots develop from the taproot and grow vertically downwards. The lighter and more penetrable the soil, the deeper they will develop. Their role, together with that of the taproot, is to assist in anchorage and supplying water to the plant. Lateral roots, which are generally numerous, develop, often almost horizontally, and are further extended by a network of rootlets. They explore the superficial and richest layers of the soil. Their role is essentially to provide mineral nutrition to the plant. Its branches are opposite, long, flexible, and rather thin; its habit is semi-erect when young and spreading or pendulous when adult. The petiolate leaves are dark glossy green, simple, opposite, acuminate; having a short petiole with undulating margins and a slightly crinkled surface, they are 10-15 cm long and 4-6 cm wide, sometimes bearing interpetiolar stipules. They have a prominent leaf midrib and lateral veins. Flowers produced in dense clusters along reproductive branches in the axils of the leaves. White, sweet scented, star-shaped and carried on stout but short peduncles. Bracteoles united, forming a cup-shaped epicalyx at the base of the flower. There are 5 calyx segments halfway the length, spreading out very widely at the anthesis and 5 stamens inserted in the corolla tube. Anthers carried on long, slender, upright filaments. It is about 90% autogamous (self-fertile) thus a great number of its flowers are fertilised before anthesis. Ovary inferior, 2 united unilocular carpels, each containing a single ovule attached to the base of the carpel wall. The ovary bears a slender style, which terminates in short, pointed bifid stigmas. The ovary is in the form of a drupe, and is commonly called a cherry. The cherry is ovoid or sub-globulous, red when ripe, 10-15 mm wide and 16-18 mm long, and consists of a coloured exocarp (skin), a fleshy, yellowish-white mesocarp (pulp) and two beans or seeds (8.5-12.5 mm long, ellipsoidal in shape and pressed together by flattened surface that is deeply grooved; outer surface convex) joined together along their flat sides. When one of the two ovaries aborts, the other develops into an ovoid bean, which is commercially known as a 'peaberry'. Each bean is protected by two coats. The first, the endocarp, is thin with a fibrous texture (parchment) and the second, the perisperm, is a very fine membrane (skin or silverskin) that more or less adheres to the bean. The size and shape of the beans differ depending on variety, environmental conditions, and cropping practices. On average, they are 10 mm long, 6-7 mm wide and 3-4 mm thick. They weigh 0.15-0.20 g. Dried seeds, after removal of the silvery skin, provide the coffee beans of commerce. The optimum temperature for the germination of coffee seeds is about 30°-32°C, below 10°C germination is very slow. USES: Food: Dried seeds (?beans?) are roasted, ground, and brewed to make 1 of the 2 most popular beverages in the world. In its native Ethiopia, it has been used as a masticatory since ancient times. Cooked in butter, it can be used to make rich flat cakes. Coffee is widely used as flavouring in ice cream, pastries, candies, and liqueurs. In Arabia, a fermented drink from the pulp is consumed. Fodder: Pulp and parchment are occasionally fed to cattle in India. Apiculture: Honeybees collect nectar and pollen from the flowers. The honey is light with a characteristic flavour. Mixed coffee-orange honey is very highly valued. Timber: Wood is hard, dense, durable, takes a polish well, and is suitable for tables, chairs and turnery. The bark can be made into pulp, parchment, manure and mulch. Soil improver: The pulp and parchment are used as manure and mulches. Annual litter fall from both shade and crop trees, including pruning residues, maintain soil organic matter levels and hence the cation exchange capacity; this reduces the risk of leaching losses and permits a more efficient use of any inorganic fertilizers applied. Intercropping: C. Arabica is often intercropped with food crops, such as corn, beans or rice, during the 1st few years. Poison: C. Arabica seeds contain caffeine, which has been described as a natural herbicide, selectively inhibiting germination of seeds of Amaranthus spinosus. Medicine: Reported to be analgesic, an aphrodisiac, anorexic, antidotal, cardiotonic, CNS-stimulant, counterirritant, diuretic, hypnotic, lactagogue and nervine. Coffee is a folk remedy for asthma, tropine poisoning, fever, flu, headache, jaundice, malaria, migraine, narcosis, nephrosis, opium poisoning, sores and vertigo. Other products: Coffelite, a type of plastic, is made from coffee beans. Coffee with iodine is used as a deodorant. KILLING T.: Some varieties have been reported to withstand -4°C. Temperatures at -5- -8°C may kill the plant within an hour or two. At temperatures from 0-2°C, which are not unusual in some production areas, the foliar tissue and green shoots are killed. This is manifested by almost complete defoliation of the shrubs, the drying out of the young branches (black tip), and with an appreciable loss in the harvest. GROWING PERIOD: Perennial. Begins to bear in 2-3 years, is in full bearing at 6-8 years, and produces economic yields for 30-40 years on average, though in some cases only 10-15 years, and in others up to 50-70 years. Plants of 80-100 years are known. Fruits mature 210-270 days after flowering, and the growth cycle is 240-330 days. COMMON NAMES: (Burmese): ka-phi, (Creole): kafe, (English): Abyssinian coffee, Arabian coffee, arabica coffee, Brazilian coffee, coffee, coffee tree, (Filipino): kafe, (French): café, caféier, (German): Bergkaffee, (Indonesian): kopi, (Khmer): kafae, (Spanish): café, cafeto, (Swahili): kahawa, (Thai): gafae, (Trade name): arabica coffee, (Vietnamese): Cà phê. FURTHER INF.: The generic name Coffea arabica is derived from the Arabic word used for the drink, which, despite its name, may have come from the region of Kefa in Ethiopia; it is indigenous to the wet highland forests of Ethiopia. It can in equatorial regions be grown at elevations from 1300 to 2800 m, with 1500-1900 being usual, at 15°N or S it can be grown down to about 500 m. In the subtropics it is grown from sea level to 1000 m. The latitudinal range is between 22°N and 27°S. With too much rainfall the plant tends to develop wood at the expense of flowers and fruits. One to 2 months of less than 50 mm rain facilitates uniform flowering. Heavy rain during and after harvest is not desirable. It will only flower when days are 13 hours or shorter. Medium humidity is best, periods of mist and low clouds are beneficial but arabica require 2-3 drier months for the initiation of flower buds. The photosynthesis pathway is C 3.
Processing: The ripe fruits of coffee are normally processed in the production area. They go through a certain number of operations, the objectives of which are to extract the beans from their covering of pulp, mucilage, parchment and film, and to improve their appearance. Two techniques are used to obtain clean coffee beans: Wet processing in which the fresh fruit is processed in three stages: a) Removal of the pulp and mucilage and washing, b) Drying of parchment coffee, c) Removal of the inner coverings, parchment, and film (hulling). Dry processing which consists of two stages: Drying of the fruit (coffee berries or cherry coffee), and b) Removal of the dried coverings in a single mechanical operation (hulling). Optimum yield of clean dry coffee beans is 2-3 t/ha obtained in Kenya, while average yields are about 0.5 t/ha in Brazil and 0.9 t/ha in Africa. An important disease in coffee is leaf rust, caused by Hemileia vastatrix, it is most serious at low altitudes and when trees are weakened by overbearing. Resistance breeding has reduced the severity of this disease. Just as severe is coffee berry disease caused by Colletotrichum coffeanum.
Sources
ICRAF Agroforestry Database
Purdue NewCROP
Sims D (pers. comm.)
Sys C 1984 pp 70
Landon J 1984 pp 282 296 [TEXT, DRA, DEP, PH, FER, SAL]
Rehm S 1991 pp 248-253 [DEP, TEMP, RAIN, LIG, DRA, PH, FER]
Roecklein J 1987 pp 11 [USE]
Eswaran H 1986
Kozlowski T 1977 pp 250
Williams C 1979 pp 84-96 [TEMP, RAIN, DEP, TEXT, DRA, PH]
Robinson J 1986 [DEP, USE, RAIN, KTMP, TEMP, PHO, LIG, DRA, PH, SAL, TEXT, FER, LIMIT]
Williams C 1979a pp 60-68 [TEMP, KTMP, RAIN, PH, DEP, TEXT, PH]
Edwards S up pp 167
Onwueme I 1991 pp 438-446 [LIG, TEMP, RAIN, DEP, DRA, FER, PH]
Hensleigh T 1988 pp 123-133 [LIMITS, LIG, DEP, TEXT, DRA, FER, PH, TEMP, RAIN, PHO, USE]