Last time I talked about the coffee plants in the shop, so I’ll write a little more today on coffee growing. The plants generally prefer shade, or little direct sunlight, so in many areas the plants are grow under a canopy of native plants, or imported shade trees. In other parts of the world, including Hawaii, the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica, and the Mandheling region of Sumatra, the weather is so wet and air so humid that the plants are not grown under shade at all. In other parts of the world including Yemen and Brazil the coffee is grown in direct sun. GENERALLY, the higher the bean is grown the better. Beans grown at altitudes between 3000 to 6000 feet usually mature slower and thus produce a smaller, denser, bean with less moisture and more flavor. There are exceptions to this rule however, as some of the most celebrated coffees are softer bean.
The successful growth of the coffee plant and the final taste of the coffee brew are also controlled buy the species and variety of the coffee plant. There are several species of coffee, the most common being robusta (hardy plant but is at best neutral in the cup and often tastes like cardboard) and Arabica. There are also many varieties of Arabica including the most common bourbon and typical varieties, not to mention all of the hybrids of these varieties. The varieties and hybrids control the speed and type of growth as well as the taste of the brew.