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Ten Surprising Facts About The Coffee Plant

Coffee Plant

Coffee – the universally loved beverage evoking emotions of happiness and energy comes from the berries of the plant whose origins trace back to the tropical African countries of Madagascar, Ethiopia.

While most people think of the fine rich brew made from roasted coffee beans when they think of coffee, the plant itself has many benefits to it. 


The Coffee Plant

The coffee that you drink as a beverage is brewed from roasted berries of the coffee plant. There are two main varieties of plants which are used for this purpose – C. Arabica and C. Robusta. Once the berries are ripe, it is picked and roasted to varying degrees depending on the blend desired.

Surprising facts about the coffee plant

Coffee has many interesting characteristics which you may gloss over in favor of the types of beverages which are available in your nearby cafe. It can be made into whenever the word is brought up. People might be surprised to know that coffee plants are actually coffee trees; they are regularly pruned to keep them at a height which is conducive for farming.

Making a hot cup of coffee might seem like a mechanical exercise for people, but a lot of thought and planning goes into growing coffee and harvesting the beans. What people may not know is that the part of the coffee plant which provides the delicious brew is the seeds of the fruit.

The fruit ripen at different times and they need to be picked at just the right moment to ensure proper taste. Over ripe cherries have a tart and unpleasant taste which completely ruin the coffee drinking experience. 

Coffee plants take a while to grow and mature. A proper maturing process for the plant takes about 5 years. Once they start fruiting, they will produce coffee for about twenty years.

There are many varieties of coffee plants but the main two varieties which have economic value are the C. Arabica and C. Robusta. As the name suggests, the Robusta variety is very robust and hardy. It imparts a slightly more bitter flavour than the Arabica version but has significantly higher levels of caffeine. 

The Arabica variety has a smoother and richer taste which is why premium coffee brands tout that their coffee is 100% Arabica. Although the smooth taste of Arabica is favoured worldwide, the caffeine content is much lower than other varieties.

That makes Arabica less of a favorite when a full body strong coffee experience is desired. Robusta, on the other hand, is perfect for such uses and is preferred when making Italian espresso and similar beverages. 

Although Arabica and Robusta are the most important varieties of coffee, economically speaking, the coffee plant has a wide range of varieties that can be used for many other purposes. It can be used medically as a source for plant based medicine.

In the modern world, we take drinking coffee for granted. Can’t make your own? No problem, just nip down to the nearest coffee shop of choice and walk out with a steaming cup of coffee. One might wonder who discovered the energising effects of this intriguing plant.

Legend has it that it was a herder in present day Ethiopia who discovered that his goats had a distinct rise in energy levels after chewing the red berries of a strange plant.

He then showed it to some monks who brewed a beverage out of it to try and stay awake during evening activities. It worked very well and thus coffee as a beverage was born.
The coffee bean is so economically important that people tend to forget that there are other uses of the coffee plant that make it a valuable resource. Modern research into the medicinal aspects of the plant itself has given surprising results.

coffee plant

One study found that “tea” brewed from the leaves of the coffee plant is actually healthier than any other forms of tea. The leaves contain chemicals which have beneficial effects on human health. Tea helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of heart attack. 

Studies have also found that the coffee plant contains antioxidants which have a positive effect on brain health which could prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

In fact, it has been shown that having 2-3 cups of coffee a day prevents depression and lessens suicide risk among people who are prone to mental problems.
 
Green coffee has many benefits that roasted coffee doesn’t. Many essential elements the coffee plant imparts to the cherries get lost in the roasting process.

A beneficial chemical called chlorogenic acid (CGA) is lost during the roasting process. CGA has strong anti-oxidant properties which are beneficial for health. It boosts metabolism and helps in maintaining a healthy weight.
 

Conclusion

These are some of the surprising benefits of the coffee plant. As time goes on and more research is conducted on this incredible plant, more valuable information will be unearthed. Meanwhile enjoying a cup of Joe is incredibly satisfying and will pump up your energy levels while providing a host of health benefits.

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