Though generally referred to as a coffee tree due to the huge dimensions it can get to, the coffee plant is an evergreen specific to the warm subtropical areas all over the world. Though there are quite many species varieties, there are only two types of coffee plant that global economy exploits on a large scale: they are Arabica and Robusta, the two coffee kinds on which international commerce depends.
Though these two varieties of the coffee plant are used, Arabica leads beyond any trace of a doubt as it is responsible for 75% of the world coffee production, whereas Robusta only gives 20%. This huge difference comes from the coffee plant specificity of each of these subspecies. The beans produced by Robusta coffee plant are inferior in what the quality is concerned due to the higher level of caffeine that also influences taste.
Thus, Robusta coffee is a little bitter than Arabica and darker too; nevertheless, certain communities also depend on this coffee variety for economic survival. To make harvesting pretty easy or comfortable, the height of the coffee plant is kept under control on plantations, and it doesn't get to grow as high as ten meters as it would normally do, if left wild.
Another major difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee plant lies in pollination specificity: Arabica for instance is self fertilizing whereas Robusta depends on cross pollination. The full development of the coffee fruit, the delicious bean we depend on for our morning coffee, takes about thirty to thirty-five weeks after which it's time to harvest. As for the growth period of the coffee plant until it becomes fertile it ranges between four and five years.
For proper development, the coffee plant depends on a pretty high level of rainfall every year; it is sensitive to cold, however, it will not die because of accidentally cooler weather. The dependence on warm temperature makes it impossible to cultivate the coffee plant in Europe or in other similar parts of the world, where a temperate climate provides incompatible environments.
One great surprise came when a naturally decaffeinated type of coffee plant was discovered in Brazil, with a lot better flavor than the no-caffeine coffee brands manufactured at present. Flavor is usually lost because caffeine is extracted with the help of solvents, while if it be completely absent from the chemical composition of the plant, the flavor would remain untouched. Cultivating this type of coffee plant would mean a true revolution in the business, and things are not far from moving in that direction.