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  • The Cultivation and Harvesting of Arabica Coffee

    The Arabica coffee tree is typically cultivated in the tropics and is wild to the Ethiopian highlands. Being from Ethiopia, where it evolved in the cool, shady forests of the highlands, it is used to a single dry season in the winter months and grows at an optimum temperature of between fifteen and twenty four degrees.

    At temperatures much above these, coffee production is typically reduced due to leaf rust and reductions in the rate of photosynthesis. At the other extreme, if temperatures become to low the coffee plant may be damaged by frost. Damage to coffee trees can also occur due to factors such as high winds and low humidity.

    Where Arabica Coffee Trees Grow

    Arabica trees normally grow in areas where rainfall averages around 1500 to 2500 mm per annum, most of which falls steadily over a nine month period.

    In many areas of Africa though the Arabica coffee tree grows in areas of lower rainfalls, but water supplies are supplemented by irrigation methods. Outside of the temperate region of Ethiopia, Arabica is subject to very different growth conditions. For example the plant is grown with great success in both Columbia and Ethiopia; these two equatorial countries have four seasons, two dry and two wet; this results in two crops. It is beneficial to stress the coffee plant to bring about intensified flowering, if this does not occur it is possible that the plant will flower all year round, bringing a steady flow of flowering, with a lesser yield.

    Ideal Arabica Coffee Soil Conditions

    The Arabica coffee tree is very robust with regards to soil conditions and is able to grow on many different rock beds such as limestone, basalt and sandstone; that said, the coffee tree tends to grow best in volcanic areas. Whatever the geological features, Arabica trees prefer to grow in soils that are permeable, deep and friable. The drainage of the soil is also important as the roots of Arabica coffee trees have a high requirement for oxygen. The coffee plant prefers soils that are slightly acidic in nature, typically in the region of 5.0 to 6.0. This pH can be maintained by external methods such as the application of manure.