Coffee Life Cycle: A Tale of Brewed Delight
Whether or not you believe a different version of how and where coffee was discovered, the famous legend of its Ethiopian roots is amusing to say the least. The story goes something like this: Kaldi, probably the most famous goat herder after Moses, was herding his flock some 14 centuries ago, minding his own business, when he noticed that his goats were acting a bit strange. They were jumping around, practically standing on their back legs, acting very giddy and energetic. Sound familiar?
After exploring the area, Kaldi found that the source of this peculiar behavior came from a small shrub covered in bright red berries. In pure Adam and Eve style, Kaldi had to try the fruit for himself. One thing lead to another and coffee took hold of Ethiopia and the Arabian Peninsula. Some believe the origin of coffee is Yemen but perhaps the relatable nature of the jumping goats is what made the Ethiopian theory so widely believed. Delighted four-legged creatures aside, it takes much more than origin myths to get that steaming cup of delight into your hands.
So where does cycle of coffee life begin? First and foremost, coffee looks nothing like, well, coffee. It begins as a fruit that grows on trees and resembles a cherry. Similar to cherries, there is a pit in the middle. This pit is the sought-after coffee bean and once separated from the fruit, but prior to roasting, is referred to as a green coffee bean.
Coffee trees thrive in soil that is well-drained and deep, and coffee roots love volcanic soil. The “Coffee Belt”, located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, is known for providing the optimal circumstances for coffee tree growing, and produces the two types of coffee: Arabica (grown best at high altitudes) and Robusta (low-land coffee trees).