When we sip on that delicious latte or filter brew, it’s easy to forget that our favorite drink comes from a plant. Yet millions of coffee trees grow around the world, their fruit powering us through the day.
But what does a coffee plant actually look like? How many varieties are there? And how do the flowers and cherries affect the drink we consume every day?
Read on to find out.
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Young coffee seedlings still in bags at Finca San Jerónimo, Guatemala.
A Short History of Coffee
What country comes when you hear the word “coffee:” Colombia, Brazil, Indonesia? Actually, the coffee plant originated in Ethiopia.
Over the centuries, coffee spread throughout Africa and the Middle East and from there across the globe. There are dozens of stories about how this happened, from saints sneaking beans out of Yemen to European powers replanting it throughout their colonies. What seems to be undeniable is that empires had a significant role to play.
Fast-forward to today. Coffee is an integral part of crop economies in parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Non-producing countries also thrive on coffee, roasting and consuming vast quantities every single day.
But what actually is this drink? What is it made of?
Discover more in A Brief History of Coffee Consumption
Coffee seedlings at Finca San Jerónimo, Guatemala.