Coffee beans are the source of one of the most popular beverages in the world. They are in fact, not actual beans, but the seeds of Coffea, a genus of flowering plants whose seeds are known worldwide as coffee beans. It is a member of the Rubiaceae family and grows on shrubs native to tropical and southern Africa and tropical parts of Asia.
Grown widely in the tropics, cultivated coffee is grown best at high elevations, but cannot grow at temperatures below zero. The shrub produces red or purple fruit called ‘cherries’. These contain two seeds, the coffee beans.
One of the most widely grown coffee crops is the Coffea arabica which bears fruit only after three to five years. These shrubs can bear fruit for about 50 to 60 years (even up to 100 years in some cases). The fruit or ‘cherries’ take an average 9 months to ripen.