Coffea is a genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 of flowering plant
Flowering plant
The flowering plants , also known as Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants. Angiosperms are seed-producing plants like the gymnosperms and can be distinguished from the gymnosperms by a series of synapomorphies...

s in the Rubiaceae
The Rubiaceae is a family of flowering plants, variously called the coffee family, madder family, or bedstraw family. The group contains many commonly known plants, including the economically important coffee , quinine , and gambier , and the horticulturally valuable madder , west indian jasmine ,...

Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

. They are shrub
A shrub or bush is distinguished from a tree by its multiple stems and shorter height, usually under 5–6 m tall. A large number of plants may become either shrubs or trees, depending on the growing conditions they experience...

s or small tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

s native to tropical and southern Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and tropical Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

. Seed
A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant...

s of several species are the source of the popular beverage
A drink, or beverage, is a liquid which is specifically prepared for human consumption. In addition to fulfilling a basic human need, beverages form part of the culture of human society.-Water:...

Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

. Coffee ranks as one of the world's most valuable and widely traded commodity
In economics, a commodity is the generic term for any marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs. Economic commodities comprise goods and services....

 crops and is an important export product of several countries. The leaves and the outer part of the fruit are also sometimes eaten.

Cultivation and use

There are several species of Coffea that may be grown for the beans. The trees produce red or purple fruits called "cherries" that are drupe
In botany, a drupe is a fruit in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a shell of hardened endocarp with a seed inside. These fruits develop from a single carpel, and mostly from flowers with superior ovaries...

s. The cherries contain two seeds, the so-called "coffee beans", which — despite their name — are not true bean
Bean is a common name for large plant seeds of several genera of the family Fabaceae used for human food or animal feed....

s. In about 5-10% of any crop of coffee cherries, there is only a single bean, rather than the two usually found. This is called a peaberry
Peaberry, also known as caracoli, is a type of coffee bean. Normally the fruit of the coffee plant develops as two halves of a bean within a single cherry, but sometimes only one of the two seeds gets fertilized, so there is nothing to flatten it. This oval bean is known as peaberry...

, which is smaller and rounder than a normal coffee bean. It is often removed from the yield and either sold separately, (as in New Guinea peaberry) or discarded.

When grown in the tropics, coffee is a vigorous bush or small tree that usually grows to a height of 3–3.5 m (10–12 feet). Most commonly cultivated coffee species grow best at high elevations but are nevertheless intolerant of subfreezing temperatures.

The tree of Coffea arabica
Coffea arabica
Coffea arabica is a species of Coffea originally indigenous to the mountains of Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula, hence its name, and also from the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia and southeastern Sudan. It is also known as the "coffee shrub of Arabia", "mountain coffee" or "arabica coffee"...

will grow fruits after three to five years, and will produce for about 50 to 60 years (although up to 100 years is possible). The white flowers are highly scented. The fruit takes about nine months to ripen.


The caffeine
Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants...

 in coffee "beans" is a natural plant defense against herbivory
Plant defense against herbivory
Plant defense against herbivory or host-plant resistance describes a range of adaptations evolved by plants which improve their survival and reproduction by reducing the impact of herbivores. Plants use several strategies to defend against damage caused by herbivores...

, i.e. a toxic
A toxin is a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms; man-made substances created by artificial processes are thus excluded...

 substance that protects the seeds of the plant.

Several insect pests affect coffee production, including the coffee borer beetle (Hypothenemus hampei) and the coffee leafminer (Leucoptera caffeina
Leucoptera caffeina
Leucoptera caffeina is a species of moth. This leaf miner is one of several related pests on Coffea species. It is found in Angola, Zaire, Kenia and Tanzania in Africa. Other coffee leafminers include Leucoptera coffeella....


Coffee is used as a food plant by the larvae
Caterpillars are the larval form of members of the order Lepidoptera . They are mostly herbivorous in food habit, although some species are insectivorous. Caterpillars are voracious feeders and many of them are considered to be pests in agriculture...

 of some Lepidoptera
Lepidoptera is a large order of insects that includes moths and butterflies . It is one of the most widespread and widely recognizable insect orders in the world, encompassing moths and the three superfamilies of butterflies, skipper butterflies, and moth-butterflies...

A butterfly is a mainly day-flying insect of the order Lepidoptera, which includes the butterflies and moths. Like other holometabolous insects, the butterfly's life cycle consists of four parts: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Most species are diurnal. Butterflies have large, often brightly coloured...

 and moth
A moth is an insect closely related to the butterfly, both being of the order Lepidoptera. Moths form the majority of this order; there are thought to be 150,000 to 250,000 different species of moth , with thousands of species yet to be described...

) species, including napoleon jacutin (Dalcera abrasa
Dalcera is a genus of moths of the family Dalceridae with four Neotropical species. The larva of one species, D. abrasa, is a pest of coffee.-Species:*D. abrasa...

), turnip moth
Turnip Moth
The Turnip Moth is a moth of the family Noctuidae. It is a common European species, but it is also found in Asia and Africa, very likely having been spread by the international trade in nursery stock...

 and some members of the genus Endoclita
Endoclita is a genus of moths of the family Hepialidae. There are 60 described species found in eastern and southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.- Species :*E. aboe - India*E. absurdus - China*E. actinidae - China...

, including E. damor and E. malabaricus.

Coffea research

In 2008 and 2009, researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, usually referred to as Kew Gardens, is 121 hectares of gardens and botanical glasshouses between Richmond and Kew in southwest London, England. "The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" and the brand name "Kew" are also used as umbrella terms for the institution that runs...

 named seven species of Coffea from the mountains of northern Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

, including C. ambongensis, C. boinensis, C. labatii, C. pterocarpa, C. bissetiae, and C. namorokensis.

In 2008, two new species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of coffee plants have been discovered in Cameroon
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon , is a country in west Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the...

: Coffea charrieriana
Charrier coffee
Coffea charrieriana is a species of flowering plant in the Rubiaceae family. It is a caffeine-free coffee found in Cameroon...

, which is caffeine-free, and Coffea anthonyi. By crossing the new species with other known coffees, two new features might be introduced to cultivated coffee plants: beans without caffeine
Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants...

 and self-pollination
Self-pollination is a form of pollination that can occur when a flower has both stamen and a carpel in which the cultivar or species is self fertile and the stamens and the sticky stigma of the carpel contact each other in order to accomplish pollination...



  • Coffea abbayesii J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea affinis De Wild.
  • Coffea alleizettii Dubard
  • Coffea ambanjensis J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea ambongenis J.-F.Leroy ex A.P.Davis
  • Coffea andrambovatensis J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea ankaranensis J.-F.Leroy ex A.P.Davis
  • Coffea anthonyi Stoff. & F.Anthony
  • Coffea arabica
    Coffea arabica
    Coffea arabica is a species of Coffea originally indigenous to the mountains of Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula, hence its name, and also from the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia and southeastern Sudan. It is also known as the "coffee shrub of Arabia", "mountain coffee" or "arabica coffee"...

  • Coffea arenesiana J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea augagneurii Dubard
  • Coffea bakossii Cheek & Bridson
  • Coffea benghalensis B.Heyne ex Schult.
  • Coffea bertrandii A.Chev.
  • Coffea betamponensis Portères & J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea bissetiae A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea boinensis A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea boiviniana A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea bonnieri Dubard
  • Coffea brassii (J.-F.Leroy) A.P.Davis
  • Coffea brevipes Hiern
  • Coffea bridsoniae A.P.Davis & Mvungi
  • Coffea buxifolia A.Chev.
  • Coffea canephora
    Coffea canephora
    Robusta coffee is a variety of coffee which has its origins in central and western sub-Saharan Africa. It is a species of flowering plant in the Rubiaceae family. Though widely known as Coffea robusta, the plant is scientifically identified as Coffea canephora, which has two main varieties -...

    Pierre ex A.Froehner
  • Coffea carrissoi A.Chev.
  • Coffea charrieriana Stoff. & F.Anthony
  • Coffea cochinchinensis Pierre ex Pit.
  • Coffea commersoniana (Baill.) A.Chev.
  • Coffea congensis A.Froehner
  • Coffea costatifructa Bridson
  • Coffea coursiana J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea dactylifera Robbr. & Stoff.
  • Coffea decaryana J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea dubardii Jum.
  • Coffea ebracteolata (Hiern) Brenan
  • Coffea eugenioides S.Moore
  • Coffea fadenii Bridson
  • Coffea farafanganensis J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea floresiana Boerl.
  • Coffea fotsoana Stoff. & Sonké
  • Coffea fragilis J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea fragrans Wall. ex Hook.f.
  • Coffea gallienii Dubard
  • Coffea grevei Drake ex A.Chev.
  • Coffea heimii J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea x heterocalyx Stoff.
  • Coffea homollei J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea horsfieldiana Miq.
  • Coffea humbertii J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea humblotiana Baill.
  • Coffea humilis A.Chev.
  • Coffea jumellei J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea kapakata (A.Chev.) Bridson
  • Coffea kianjavatensis J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea kihansiensis A.P.Davis & Mvungi
  • Coffea kimbozensis Bridson
  • Coffea kivuensis Lebrun
  • Coffea labatii A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea lancifolia A.Chev.
  • Coffea lebruniana Germ. & Kester
  • Coffea leonimontana Stoff.
  • Coffea leroyi A.P.Davis
  • Coffea liaudii J.-F.Leroy ex A.P.Davis
  • Coffea liberica
    Coffea liberica
    Coffea liberica is a species of flowering plant in the Rubiaceae family. It is a coffee that is found in Liberia, West Africa.-Cultivation and Use:...

  • Coffea ligustroides S.Moore
  • Coffea littoralis A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea lulandoensis Bridson
  • Coffea mabesae (Elmer) J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea macrocarpa A.Rich.
  • Coffea madurensis Teijsm. & Binn. ex Koord.
  • Coffea magnistipula
    Coffea magnistipula
    Coffea magnistipula is a species of flowering plant in the Rubiaceae family. It is a shrub species of Coffea that is endemic to the Lower Guinean forests of tropical West Africa, specifically the South Cameroon Plateau and the Chaillu Massif of Gabon. Its scientific name is derived from the large...

    Stoff. & Robbr.
  • Coffea malabarica (Sivar., Biju & P.Mathew) A.P.Davis
  • Coffea mangoroensis Portères
  • Coffea manombensis A.P.Davis
  • Coffea mapiana Sonké
  • Coffea mauritiana Lam.
  • Coffea mayombensis A.Chev.
  • Coffea mcphersonii A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea melanocarpa Welw. ex Hiern
  • Coffea merguensis Ridl.
  • Coffea millotii J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea minutiflora A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea mogenetii Dubard
  • Coffea mongensis Bridson
  • Coffea montekupensis Stoff.
  • Coffea montis-sacri A.P.Davis
  • Coffea moratii J.-F.Leroy ex A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea mufindiensis Hutch. ex Bridson
  • Coffea myrtifolia (A.Rich. ex DC.) J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea namorokensis A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea neobridsoniae A.P.Davis
  • Coffea neoleroya A.P.Davis
  • Coffea perrieri Drake ex Jum.
  • Coffea pervilleana (Baill.) Drake
  • Coffea pocsii Bridson
  • Coffea pseudozanguebariae Bridson
  • Coffea pterocarpa A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea racemosa Lour.
  • Coffea rakotonasoloi A.P.Davis
  • Coffea ratsimamangae J.-F.Leroy ex A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea resinosa (Hook.f.) Radlk.
  • Coffea rhamnifolia (Chiov.) Bridson
  • Coffea richardii J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea sahafaryensis J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea sakarahae J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea salvatrix Swynn. & Philipson
  • Coffea sambavensis J.-F.Leroy ex A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea sapinii (De Wild.) A.P.Davis
  • Coffea schliebenii Bridson
  • Coffea semsei (Bridson) A.P.Davis
  • Coffea sessiliflora Bridson
  • Coffea stenophylla G.Don
  • Coffea tetragona Jum. & H.Perrier
  • Coffea togoensis A.Chev.
  • Coffea toshii A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea travancorensis Wight & Arn.
  • Coffea tricalysioides J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea tsirananae J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea vatovavyensis J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea vavateninensis J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea vianneyi J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea vohemarensis A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea wightiana Wall. ex Wight & Arn.
  • Coffea zanguebariae Lour.

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