Coffee: From the Ground Up


By: aG | Spunky Seniors Club® | February 2016

Many of us can’t get through the day without coffee, but what is it about this rich, dark beverage that we love so much? If you’re a connoisseur, do you know as much about coffee as you think you do? Coffee can be a great diuretic, but excess caffeine isn’t good for you.  So how much coffee is too much coffee? What are some of the advantages of drinking a cup of Joe so early in the morning? Some say for health reasons, while others say it gives them the energy boost they need to wake up. So what is it?

More and more of us want to know where our coffee comes from and how it’s grown. Here’s a look at coffee from the ground up.

What Does Coffee have to do with Cherries?

According to the National Coffee Association (NCA), everyone recognizes a roasted coffee bean, but few recognize an actual coffee plant.  

Coffee trees are pruned short to conserve their energy and make harvesting easier; unpruned they can grow to more than 30 feet high.  Each tree is covered with green, waxy leaves that grow opposite each other in pairs. Coffee cherries grow along the branches in a continuous cycle, so it’s not unusual to see flowers, green fruit and ripe fruit at the same time on a single tree.

It takes nearly a year for a cherry to mature after the first flowering, and about five years of growth to reach full fruit production.  Coffee plants can live up to 100 years, but are most productive between the ages of seven and twenty.  The average coffee tree produces ten pounds of coffee cherry per year or two pounds of green beans.

All commercially grown coffee is from a region of the world called The Coffee Belt. The trees grow best in rich soil, with mild temperatures, frequent rain and shaded sun. 

Coffee’s Unexpected History

The story behind the discovery of coffee is shrouded in legend, and few today would guess which common domesticated animal played an important role in the history of coffee

Other fun Historical Facts about Coffee

  • Once called “the bitter invention of Satan,” it won over the Pope in 1615 who gave it papal approval
  • In England, coffee houses were called “penny universities”; for a penny, you could enjoy a cup and stimulating conversation
  • Until coffee came along, the common breakfast drink of the day was beer and wine

22 Facts about Coffee:  The World’s most important beverage. The entire world would shut down without it, according to BuzzFeed.

Coffee and Caffeine 

Today, coffee is jokingly called “the fuel of the modern man,” but it’s not too far from the truth.  Take a look at any office during the morning hours and the majority of people will be drinking coffee.  While they’re sipping it for the energy boost, caffeine has other good and bad side effects … in humans, spiders, and even bees.  

What did the coffee say to the bean?

Nothing.  Why?  Because it was grounded!

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