"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons." - T. S. Eliot

The flowering Coffea arabica

Coffea berries, Bali

Scientific Classification

Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Rubiales
Family Rubiaceae – Madder family
Genus //Coffea// L. – coffee

Coffea is a flowering plant whose seeds, otherwise known as coffee beans, are used to produce coffee. Coffea is a member of the Rubiaceae family, which is the fifth largest family of flowering plants by number of genera, as well as the fourth or fifth largest by number of species. The Rubiaceae family is the largest woody plant group in the tropics.Although members of this plant family can be found in almost every major region of the world besides Antarctica, the most common members include various trees and shrubs that are native to southern Africa and Asia. The flowers of these plants plants can be distinguished because they are usually bisexual, including 4 to 5 stamens and 2 carpels. Besides coffea, this plant group also includes many other commonly known species, such as Ixora (west Indian Jasmine), Spermacoce assurgens (buttonweed), and Warscewiczia coccinea (wild poinsettia).

Geographic Distribution


Map showing areas of coffee cultivation:

r: Coffea canephora

m: Coffea canephora and Coffea arabica

a: Coffea arabica

Although many species of coffea exist, the two main species that are grown are Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora. Of the two species, C. arabica makes up about 75% of the coffee cultivated worldwide due to its stronger flavor. While C. arabica the most common species of the coffea plant, C. canephora is also beneficial because it can be cultivated in lower altitudes and warmer climates compared to C. arabic. Both species of the plant are found in areas of Central and South America, as well as southern Africa and tropical Asia.


The History of Coffee


The history of coffee begins in the Ethiopian highlands with the legend of a goatherd name Kaldi. Coffea originated on this Ethiopian land, and the plant still continues to grow there today. Legend has it that Kaldi accidentally discovered coffee through his goats. He witnessed his goats eating strange looking berries, and they reacted to the plant with high energy and an inability to sleep.


Besides the fictitious Kaldi, coffee was originally cultivated and traded by the Arabs. By the 16th century, knowledge of the beverage had spread throughout Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. Coffee's early popularity is possibly due to the Muslim's inability to drink alcohol due to religious practices. Thus, the Muslims used coffee's energizing tendencies as a substitution for intoxication.


By the 17th century, coffee had also become popular across the European continent. Coffee cultivation remained strictly in the hands of the Arabs until the latter half of the 17th century. At this point in history, the Dutch were finally successful in obtaining seedlings. Their coffea plants thrived on the island of Java in what is now Indonesia, and the Dutch became successfully involved in the trade of coffee.

Caffeine's Effecaffeine.jpgct on Humans

For centuries coffee has acted as an addicting substance for those looking to become energized. The main reason that coffee has such an effect on humans is that it contains caffeine, a stimulant that effects the central nervous system. Caffeine is one of the most widely used drugs in the world, as it is also found in substances other than coffee. The stimulant targets the cerebral cortex and the brain stem within the central nervous system in order to produce effects. Once ingested, the effects of caffeine on the body can be felt as little as 15 minutes later and can last up to 6 hours. When consumed in doses of 100-200 mg, caffeine will result in increased feelings of alertness and wakefulness, increased focus, and better overall body coorcaffeine_rush.jpgdination. Likewise, consumption at this dose can also produce negative side effects, including restlessness, dizziness, and headaches. Consuming caffeine in quantities greater than 2 grams can cause insomnia, agitation, tremors, and rapid breathing within the consumer. Caffeine also produces other physical side effects within the body. Because it is a diuretic, it causes the body to lose more water. Likewise, caffeine increases heart rate and dilates the blood vessels to increase blood pressure.

Consumers of coffee must be careful with the number of cups they consume, as the caffeine inside of coffee is considered to be an addictive substance. Those will a caffeine addiction will discover an increased tolerance of the stimulant over time, as well as withdrawal symptoms and physical cravings for the substance.


From the Seed to the Cup: Ten Steps to Coffee Cultivation

  1. Planting

    Because a coffee bean is actually a seed, an unprocessed bean can be planted and will grow into a coffea plant.
  2. Harvesting the Cherries

    It will take approximately 3 to 4 years for the new coffea plant to flower. The plants produce a fruit called coffee cherry, which turns deep red when it is ready to be harvested.
  3. Processing the Cherries

    Coffee is processed through either the dry method or the wet method. The dry method requires the coffee cherries to be spread out on a large surface to be dried by the sun, while the wet method washes away the cherry's pulp with water.
  4. beans.jpg

    Drying the Beans

    Those beans processed by the wet method must be dried to approximately 11% moisture in order to be prepared for storage.
  5. Milling the Beans

    Before the coffee is exported, it undergoes the processes of hulling, polishing, grading, and sorting.
  6. Exporting the Beans

    The newly milled beans are loaded onto ships in order to be transported to the importing country.
  7. Tasting the Coffee

    Coffee is repeatedly tested for quality and taste at every stage of its production.


  8. Roasting the Coffee

    The milled coffee beans must be roasted in order to transform into the aromatic brown beans that are purchased in any market.
  9. Grinding Coffee

    The coffee beans are ground in order to be brewed. The coarseness of fineness of the ground coffee depends on the method by which the coffee is brewed.
  10. Brewing Coffee

    In the culmination of these ten steps, the coffee finally reaches your cup in the form of a hot beverage.

Wildcard: Coffee Milk

One cannot call him ocoffee syrupsr herself a Rhode Island resident until he or she has experienced the taste of coffee
milk. The concept of “coffee milk” is just that – milk mixed with a coffee flavored syrup. The drink was introduced to the state of Rhode Island during the 1930s. Since then it has become the official state drink of Rhode Island. There are two major brands that produce Rhode Island's beloved coffee syrup, Autocrat and Eclipse. Both brands list coffee extracts as one of the 5 major ingredients in the syrup.

Works Cited

[1] "Caffeine Effects." Virtual Mass Spectrometry Laboratory. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.

[2] "Caffeine." University of Michigan, n.d. Web.

[3] "Classification for Kingdom Plantae Down to Genus Coffea L." Natural Resources Conservation Service. USDA, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.

[4] "Effects of Caffeine." University of Delaware, n.d. Web. 1 May 2013.

[5] "The History Of Coffee." National Coffee Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.

[6] "Rubiaceae." Flowering Plant Families. UH Botany, n.d. Web. 1 May 2013.

[7] "Ten Steps To Coffee." National Coffee Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2013.