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Rubiaceae: Coffea arabica L.

C. liberica Bull ex Hiern

Source: Magness et al. 1971

These two species constitute most of the coffee of commerce. The plants are woody, tropical, evergreen shrubs up to 15 feet in height. The leaves are elliptical, glossy, up to 6 inches long and 1/3 as wide. The fruit is a fleshy berry, in which 2 seeds are imbedded. Blossoming and fruit setting occur mainly 2 to 3 times per year. About 6 to 7 months are required to ripen the fruit, so fruits at various stages of maturity are on the plants at the same time. Ripe berries are picked at about 2-week intervals. The pulp is removed by machines. Seeds are dried in the sun or in dehydrators and roasted before being marketed. U.S. production was given as 5,000 tons, 1959 census (Hawaii only). Imports total about 1,450,000 tons annually.

Last update February 18, 1999 by ch