Coffea arabica L.
Arabica coffee, Arabian coffee, Abyssinian coffee, Brazilian coffee
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
- Folk Medicine
- Yields and Economics
- Biotic Factors
Dried seeds "beans" are roasted, ground, and brewed to make one of the two most
important beverages in the western world. In its native Ethiopia, used as a
masticatory since ancient times, it is also cooked in butter to make rich flat
cakes. In Arabia a fermented drink from the pulp is consumed. Coffee is
widely used as a flavoring, as in ice cream, pastries, candies, and liqueurs.
Source of caffeine, dried ripe seeds are used as a stimulant, nervine, and
diuretic, acting on central nervous system, kidneys, heart, and muscles.
Indonesians and Malaysians prepare an infusion from dried leaves. Coffee pulp
and parchment used as manures and mulches, and is occasionally fed to cattle in
India. Coffelite, a type of plastic, made from coffee beans. Wood is hard,
dense, durable, takes a good polish, and is suitable for tables, chairs, and
turnery. Coffee with iodine is used as a deodorant (List and Horhammer,
1969-1979). Caffeine has been described as a natural herbicide, selectively
inhibiting germination of seeds of Amaranthus spinosus (Rizvi et al,
1980). Caffeine is a widespread additive in over-the-counter diet pills, pain
killers, and stimulants (Duke, 1984b).
Reported to be analgesic, anaphrodisiac, anorexic, antidotal, cardiotonic,
CNS-stimulant, counterirritant, diuretic, hypnotic, lactagogue, nervine,
stimulant, coffee is a folk remedy for asthma, atropine-poisoning, fever, flu,
headache, jaundice, malaria, migraine, narcosis, nephrosis, opium-poisoning,
sores, and vertigo (Duke and Wain, 1981; List and Horhammer, 1969-1979).
Rager's Handbuch (List and Horhammer, 1969-1979) devotes pages of fine print to
the chemicals reported from coffee, but perhaps the more hazardous ones are
acetaldehyde, adenine, caffeine, chlorogenic acid, guaiacol, tannic acid,
theobromine, ard trigonelline. Tyler (1982) produces a chart comparing various
caffeine sources to which I have added rounded figures from Palotti (Industric
Alimentaire 16:) (1977).
In humans, caffeine, 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine, is demethylated into three
primary metabolites: theophylline, theobromine, and paraxanthine. Since the
early part of the 20th century, theophylline has been used in therapeutics for
bronchodilation, for acute ventricular failure, and for long-term control of
bronchial asthma. At 100 mg/kg theophylline is fetotoxic to rats, but no
teratogenic abnormalities were noted. In therapeutics, theobromine has been
used as a diuretic, as a cardiac stimulant, and for dilation of arteries. But
at 100 mg, theobromine is fetotoxic and teratogen (Collins, FDA By-lines No. 2,
April 1981). Leung (1980) reports a fatal dose in man at 10,000 mg, with 1,000
mg or more capable of inducing headache, nausea, insomnia, restlessness,
excitement, mild delirium, muscle tremor, tachycardia, and extrasystoles. Leung also adds "caffeine has been reported to have many other activities
including mutagenic, teratogenic, and carcinogenic activities; ... to cause
temporary increase in intraocular pressure, to have calming effects on
hyperkinetic children...to cause chronic recurring headache... Coffee drinking
has also been linked to myocardial infarction... cancer of the lower urinary
tract (e.g. bladder), ovaries, prostrate, and others." Most of these reports
have been challenged (Leung, 1980). According to Tiscornia et al (Rev. Ital.
Sostanze Grasse 56(8): 283. 1979) the sterol fraction of coffee seed oil
contains 45.4-56.6% sitosterol, 19.6-24.5% stigmasterol, 14.8-18.7%
campesterol, 1.9-14.6% 5-avenasterol, 0.6-6.6% 7-stigmasterol, and traces of
cholesterol and 7-avenasterol. Coffee pulp is a valuable cattle feed,
unpalatable to cattle at first. The pulp is comparable to corn in total
protein, and superior to it in calcium and phosphorus content. In India,
cattle feed on the pulp with no apparent ill effects. The ash of "cherry" husk
is rich in potash and therefore forms a valuable manure. Air dry coffee pulp
contains 1.34% N, 0.11% phosphoric acid (P2O5) and 1.5% potash (K2O). After
composting these values change to 0.91% N, 0.31% P2O5, 0.71% K2O (C.S.I.R.,
1948-1976). Leaves and reject seed may also be used as compost. Leaves are
reported to contain, per 100 g, 300 calories, 6.4% water, 9.3% protein, 5.5 g
fat, 66.6 g total carbohydrate, 17.5 g fiber, 12.2 g ash, 1910 mg Ca, 170 mg P,
96.6 mg Fe, 2360 ug carotene equivalent, 0.00 mg thiamine, 0.21 mg riboflavin,
and 5.2 mg niacin. Seeds contain per 100 g, 203 calories, 6.3% water, 11.7 g
protein, 10.8 g fat, 68.2 g total carbohydrate, 22.9 g fiber, 3.0 g ash, 120 mg
Ca, 178 mg P, 2.9 mg Fe, 20 4 beta-carotene equivalent, 0.22 mg thiamine, 0.6
mg riboflavin, and 1.3 mg niacin (Duke, 1981b). Raw coffee contains ca 10% oil
and wax extractable with petroleum ether. The fatty acids consist chiefly of
linoleic, oleic, and palmitic acids, together with smaller amounts of myristic,
stearic, and arachidic acids. From the unsaponifiable matter, a phytosterol,
sitosterol, cafesterol, caffeol, and tocopherol have been isolated. Among the
identified components of the volatile oil present in roasted coffee are:
acetaldehyde, furan, furfuraldehyde, furfuryl alcohol, pyridine, hydrogen
sulphide, diacetyl, methyl mercaptan, furfuryl mercaptan, dimethyl sulphide,
acetylpropionyl, acetic acid, guaiacol, vinyl guaiacol, pyrazine,
n-methylpyrrole, and methyl carbinol. All these substances do not preexist in
the unroasted coffee beans; some are undoubtedly the products of the roasting
process and others are produced by the decomposition of the more complex
precursors (C.S.I.R., 1948-1976).
As a long term drinker of 5-10 cups of coffee a day, I do not think I do myself
any favors by drinking the coffee. Still I will quote some of the alarming
things I have read. Tyler (1982) cites "some evidence linking coffee and
cancer of the pancreas." "...Caffeine...in large amounts produces many
undesirable side effects--from nervousness and insomnia to rapid and irregular
heartbeats, elevated blood sugar and cholesterol levels, excess stomach acid,
and heartburn. It is definitely a teratogen in rats" (Tyler, 1982). Michael
Jacobson cites numerous studies on pregnant animals and humans in which the
equivalent of 3-4 daily cups of coffee caused birth defects such as cleft
palate and missing bones (Washington Star, December 20, 1978). I am seeking
from MMWR documentation for a rumor I heard that several people were killed in
one year by colonic irrigation with coffee, more than were killed by all other
herbs combined that year (excluding alcohol, cocaine, heroine, marijuana, and
tobacco). In some individuals, caffeine causes nervousness, restlessness,
excitement and insomnia. Patients with peptic ulcers, hypertension, and other
cardiovascular and nervous disorders are usually advised by their physicians to
refrain from drinking coffee. Chlorogenic acid may induce rhinitis and
dermatitis in workers engaged, in roasting, sorting, or grinding coffee
(Morton, 1977). Mitchell and Rook (1979) note that the role of chlorogenic
acid in the respiratory symptoms were discounted. Still workers develop
asthma, dermatitis, rhinitis, and urticaria. Inhalation of coffee bean dust
can produce coffee worker's lung, a type of allergic alveolitis. Coffee
extracts are GRAS ([[section]]182.20), but the GRAS status of caffeine
([[section]]182.1180) is being reassessed (Duke, 1984b).
Evergreen, glabrous shrub or small tree, up to 5 m tall when unpruned; leaves
opposite, dark green, glossy, elliptical, acuminate-tipped, short-petioled,
5-20 cm long, 1.5-7.5 cm broad, usually 10-15 cm long and 6 cm broad; flowers
white, fragrant, in axillary clusters, opening simultaneously 8-12 days after
wetting; corolla tubular, 1 cm long, 5-lobed; calyx small, cup-shaped; fruit a
drupe, about 1.5 cm long, oval-elliptic, green when immature, ripening
yellow and then crimson, black upon drying, 7-9 months to maturity; seeds
usually 2, ellipsoidal, 8.5-12.5 mm long, inner surface deeply grooved,
consisting mainly of green corneous endosperm and small embryo; polyembryony
recorded. 2,500 dried seed/kg. (Reed, 1976).
Reported from the African Center of Diversity, Arabica coffee, or cvs thereof,
is reported to tolerate disease, high pH, insects, laterite, low pH,
Photoperiods, shade, slope, and virus (Duke, 1978). Many varieties and
cultivars are recorded with 'Typical', 'Bourbon', 'Mundo Novo', and 'Caturra',
most popular in Brazil. C. arabica is only natural tetraploid and
completely self-fertile coffee. Over 30 mutants are recognized. Disease
resistance and cold-resistance bred into some cultivars. 'Kona', grown in
Hawaii, with mild flavor; 'Harrar', Ethiopian type; 'Caracolla' or 'Pea Berries
'are seeds or beans derived from one instead of two-seeded berries, usually
developed at tips of branches. Crosses between two diploid species, C.
eugenioides S.Moore and C. liberica Bull, have produced a hybrid
with foliage similar to that of C. arabica (Reed, 1976). Some cvs are
short day,others indeterminate. (x = 11, 2n = 44)
Despite its name, C. arabica originated in Ethiopia, where it grows at
elevations between 1,375 to 1,830 m. It is believed to have been introduced
into Arabia prior to the 15th century. It was first planted in Java in 1690,
and in the early 18th century was carried to Surinam, Martinique, and Jamaica.
Cultivation soon spread throughout the West Indies and Central America and
favorable regions of South America. Later, it reached India and Sri Lanka.
Today, nearly 90% of the world's coffee comes from this species (Morton, 1977).
Ranging from Warm Temperate Dry to Rain (with little or no frost) through
Tropical Very Dry to Wet Forest Life Zones, coffee is reported to tolerate
annual precipitation of 4.8 to 42.9 dm (mean of 109 cases = 15.8), annual
temperature of 16.0 to 28.5°C (mean of 108 cases = 24.8), and pH of 4.3 to
8.4 (mean of 45 cases = 6.4) (Duke, 1978, 1979). Arabica coffee thrives from
the humid tropics to temperate climates from 5°N lat. to 34°S lat. where
temperatures average 11-26.5°C, and from sealevel to 2,500 m altitude.
Rainfall needs to be regular, abundant, and well-distributed, from 800-2,500
mm. Ideal conditions at the equator are 1500-1800 mm. A short, relatively dry
season may facilitate flowering and/or pollination. Native Ethiopian soils are
deep red to brown-red lateritic loams or clay loams of volcanic origin of high
to medium fertility with pH 5.3-6.6. In Brazil, similar soils are used plus
red-yellow podzolic types with pH 5-7. Optimal pH has been suggested as
Propagation is usually by seed; however, budding, grafting, and cuttings have
been used. Traditional method of plants on virgin soil is to put 20 seeds In
each hole 3.5 x 3.5m at the beginning of rainy season. Half are eliminated
naturally. In Brazil, a more successful method is to raise seedlings in shaded
nurseries. At 6-12 months, seedlings are taken to fields, hardened, and then
planted on contoured fields 2-3 m apart in 3-5 m rows. Holes are prepared 40 x
40 x 40 cm and 4 seedlings placed in each. Plants may be shaded by taller
trees or left undshaded. Coffee is often intercropped with food crops, such as
corn, beans, or rice, during the first few years. Clean weed control is
necessary throughout the entire season. Pruning is common practice in some
districts. Mulches and green manure are commonly used with chemical
fertilizers coming more and more into use. Typical application consists of 175
g N per bush, 100 g P, and 175 g K. P and K added in two applicationa and N
added over a longer period with 4-5 applications. Other elements added as
soils require them. Shading tends to favor leaf and shoot growth at the
expense of root growth. It may be useful when plants are young, but later
shading may reduce yields, especially when the trees are fertilized.
Average economic age of plants 30-40 years, with some 100 year old plantations
still bearing. Trees come into bearing 3-4 years after planting and are in
full bearing at 6-8 years. Fruits mature 7-9 months after flowering.
Selective picking of ripe red fruits produces highest quality. Crop ripens
over a period of several weeks. In Brazil all berries are stripped at one time
onto ground cloths, usually in April to June; in Ethiopia, harvest season is
October to December after the rainy season. Berries are dried in sun; in some
humid areas, artificial heat is used. Depulping after picking is increasingly
practiced. (Reed, 1976)
Wild Ethiopian stands yield 200-300 kg/ha/year of clean coffee, with 1 MT/ha as
a maximum. Cost of production is 20 30 cents/kg. Brazilian average yield is
400 kg/ha with record yield of 6,600 kg/ha. Cost of production 14-55 cents/kg.
In 1979, the world low production yield figure was 120 kg/ha in Sao Tome, the
international production was 521 kg/ha, and the world high production yield was
1,736 in Sri Lanka. Leaf-fall from coffee fincas should be 1-2 times
production, prunings 1-2 times production, culls 1/4 times production, pulp 1/2
times production, seed coat 1/10 times production. Arabica coffee makes up 90%
of the world's coffee; world production being about 70.7 million bags of 60 kg
each. Largest producers in order are: Brazil, Colombia, Ivory Coast, Mexico,
Angola, Uganda, Indonesia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, and Guatemala. After
importing a record 6.1 million pounds of caffeine in 1981, US suppliers report
that demand trailed off considerably during the first quarter of 1982.
Synthetic caffeine imports averaged 330,000 pounds per month in 1982, cf
513,205 in 1981. Primarily as the result of novel dietary formulations which
combine caffeine with phenylpropanolamine, some observers estimate that
pharmaceutical applications accounted for perhaps 40% of all caffeine
consumption in 1980, compared to the usual 25-30% (CMR, 1982).
Coffee production usually generates at least four kinds of residue (1)
prunings, (2) culls, (3) pulp, and (4) seed coat. Until I can find a published
figure, I estimate that trees could be pruned by 1-5 MT/ha/yr, (depending on
life zone, age, shading and disease) following harvest with no great loss in
production. Purseglove (1968-72) describes five methods of pruning. Plants
are topped to check upward growth and encourage secondary branch formation.
Pruning should remove all shoots which have borne flowers or fruit, dead and
diseased branches, as well as tangled branches. In India, crop bearing tends
to be biennial - a heavy crop alternating with a light crop. Regular drastic
pruning every year acts as a check on the biennial habit leading towards more
systematic but moderate yields. According to an NAS (1977b), dried red coffee
bean peels have energy potential of 3,500 calories per kg, compared to 10,000
for fuel oil, 11,000 for natural gas. Coffee hulls contain 3,885, and dry
robusta coffee contains3,915 calories. Burkill (1966) reports that 1 MT fruit
pulp should yield 127 liters alcohol. The cost of a utilization process can be
relatively low, such as the use of waste products--coffee grounds or refuse,
sawdust, bagasse, or peanut shells--as fuels by the firms producing them.
These wastes can be burned directly or converted to ethanol, reethanol or
methane. If legume shade trees are interplanted with the coffee, we expect
more firewood from the intercrop and less from the coffee. The energy
contributions from intercropped legume's nitrogen fixation are not always
insignificant. Young coffee can be intercropped with beans, peanuts or cowpeas
for the first two or three years to advantage. Purseglove reported yields of
over ca 2,000 Kg/ha clean coffee in Hawaii, with averages of ca 360 in Brazil,
450 in Colombia, 720 in El Salvador, 850 in Costa Rica, and 896 in Kenya.
According to Purseglove, defective beans are sometimes picked out by hand.
These culls or rejects, may or may not show up in production figures, remaining
at the farm or processing plants. I would estimate culls at 5-25% of harvest.
Culls could be fermented for alcohol production. In Panama, I was told by
Sitton Coffee Company that the pulp constituted 50% of the green fruit, the
seed coat (burned with diesel) 5% of the dry seed. In Puerto Rico, it is
estimated that an acre producing 1,500 lbs. of market coffee per acre will
provide about 2 1/2 tons of pulp yearly (USDA Production Research Report No.
Raw and Free (1977) found that bushes caged with bees yielded 52% more berry
than bushes caged without bees. Yields from non-caged bushes were
intermediate. These effects were more marked on bushes in full sun. Of the
numerous insects captured from the flowers of non-caged bushes, honeybees were
more abundant. Many fungi attact Arabica coffee plants, among them the
following: Aithaloderma longisetum, Armillaria mellea, Ascochyta tarda,
Botrytis cinerea, Botryodiploidia theobromae, Capnodium brasiliense,
Cephaleuros mycoidea, C. virescens, Ceratocystis fimbriata, Cercospora
coffeicola, Colletotrichum coffeanum, C. dematium, C. coffaephilum, Corticium
salmonicolor, C. solani, Curvularia prasadii, Cyphella heveae, Fomes
lamonensis, F. lignosus, Fusarium bulbigenum, F. coffeicola, F. decemcellulare,
F. diversisporum, F. equiseti, F. graminearum, F. lateritium, F. moniliforme,
F. oxysporum, F. semitectum, F. solani, F. sporotrichioides, F. stilboides, F.
tumidum, Gloeosporium coffeanum, F. coffeicola, Glomerella cingulata, G.
coffeicola, Hemileia vastatrix, Hymenochaete noxia, Irenina isertiae,
Leptosphaeria coffeicola, L. coffeigena, Macrophomina phaseoli, Meliola
coffeae, M. psychotriae, Mycena citricolor, Mycosphaerella coffeae, M.
coffeicola, Myrothecium advena, Nectira tropica, Nematospora coryli, N.
gossypii, Phyllosticta coffeae-arabica, Ph. coffeicola, Physarum cinereum,
Polyporus coffeae, P. occidentalis, Rhizoctonia bataticola, R. lamellifera, R.
solani, Rosellinia bunodes, Rostrella coffea, Sarsopodium coffearum, Sclerotium
rolfsii, Scolecopeltis longispora, Septoria coffea, S. berkeleyi, Stilbella
flavida, Tripospermum gardneri, Xylaria rhizocala. Pseudomonas garcae is a
bacterial disease, and stem pitting is caused by a virus. Cuscuta and
Loranthus spp. parasitize trees in some areas. Witches' broom also
occurs. Many nematodes have been found with Arabica coffee trees, including
the following: Achromadora longiseta, Aphelenchoides parietinus, Aphelenchus
coffeae, Cephalobus persegnis, Criconemella curvata, Cryptonchus abnormis,
Ditylenchus procerus, Dorylaimus subulatus, Eucephalobus filiformis, E.
longatus, Helicotylenchus concavus, H. erythrinae, Ironus ignavus, Meliodogyne
africana, M. coffeicola, M. exigua, M. incognita, Monochus gymnolaimus,
Paratylenchus besoekianus, Pratylenchus brachyurus, P. coffeae, P. pratensis,
Radopholus similes, Rotylenchulus sp., Tricephalobus longicaudatus,
Trichodorus sp., Tylenchus acutocaudatus, T. caudatus, Xiphinema
basilgoodeyi, X. brevicolla, X. insignis, X. radicidola (Golden, p.c.,
1984). Many insects attack coffee plants at various stages and on various
structures. Local agricultural agents should be consulted.
|Cup (6 oz.) expresso coffee ||310 mg
|Cup (6 oz.) boiled coffee ||100 mg
|Cup (6 oz.) instant coffee ||65 mg
|Cup (6 oz.) tea ||10-50 mg
|Cup (6 oz.) cocoa ||13 mg
|Can (6 oz.) cola ||25 mg
|Can (6 oz.) coca cola ||20 mg
|Cup (6 oz.) mate ||25-50 mg
|Can (6 oz.) pepsi cola ||10 mg
|Tablet Caffeine ||100-200 mg
|Tablet(800 mg) Zoom (Paullinia upana) ||60 mg
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
Burkill, J.H. 1966. A dictionary of economic products of the Malay peninsula.
Art Printing Works, Kuala Lumpur. 2 vols.
C.S.I.R. (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research). 1948-1976. The wealth
of India. 11 vols. New Delhi.
Duke, J.A. 1978. The quest for tolerant germplasm. p. 1-61. In: ASA Special
Symposium 32, Crop tolerance to suboptimal land conditions. Am. Soc. Agron.
Duke, J.A. 1979. Ecosystematic data on economic plants. Quart. J. Crude Drug
Duke, J.A. 1981b. The gene revolution. Paper 1. p. 89-150. In: Office of
Technology Assessment, Background papers for innovative biological technologies
for lesser developed countries. USGPO. Washington.
Duke, J.A. 1984b. Borderline herbs. CRC Press. Boca Raton, FL.
Duke, J.A. and Wain, K.K. 1981. Medicinal plants of the world. Computer index
with more than 85,000 entries. 3 vols.
Leung, A.Y. 1980. Encyclopedia of common natural ingredients used in food,
drugs, and cosmetics. John Wiley & Sons. New York.
List, P.H. and Horhammer, L. 1969-1979. Hager's handbuch der pharmazeutischen
praxis. vols 2-6. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
Mitchell, J.C. and Rook, A. 1979. Botanical dermatology. Greenglass Ltd.,
Morton, J.F. 1977. Major medicinal plants. C.C. Thomas, Springfield, IL.
N.A.S. 1977b. Leucaena: promising forage and tree crop for the tropics.
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC.
Palotti, G. 1977. The 'time for a Coca Cola' may not be right. Industrie
Raw, A. and Free, J.B. 1977. The pollination of coffee (Coffea arabica)
by honeybees. Trop. Agr. 54(4):365-370.
Reed, C.F. 1976. Information summaries on 1000 economic plants. Typescripts
submitted to the USDA.
Rizvi, S.J.H., Jaiswal, V., Muierji, D., and Mathur, S.N. 1980. 1,3,7-
trimethylxanthine--a new natural herbicide: its mode of action. Plant
Physiology 65(6):(Abstr.)Suppl. p. 99.
Tyler, V.E. 1982. The honest herbal. George F. Stickley Co., Philadelphia,
last update July 8, 1996