It is doubtful the average person would recognize an actual coffee tree. Most of us would recognize a roasted coffee bean. A coffee tree can live as long as 20 to 30 years. They are capable of growing in a wide range of climates so long as the climate does not have harsh fluctuations in temperature. It is estimated that there are 25 to 100 species of coffee plants.
The original coffee trees were discovered in Ethiopia. In some parts of Africa, the coffee tree still grows in the wilderness, mainly at the Ivory Coast, Uganda and Zaire. Brazil is the world's largest coffee producer. On average it produces around 28 percent of the total world output. Colombia follows second with about 16 percent, third lies Indonesia with around seven percent, and fourth Mexico with about four percent.
Coffea Arabica comes from these original coffee trees. The coffee trees in Ethiopia produce a fine, mild, aromatic coffee. Over half of the world’s coffee production originates from the coffee trees in Ethiopia. Arabica coffees bring the highest prices in the world market of coffee.
Better arabicas are high grown coffees, generally between 2,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level. Cooler weather at higher elevations causes the beans to take longer to mature, intensifying the wonderful flavors. These beans are more expensive because the plants yield less coffee per year and are more difficult to pick at the higher elevations -- and because the quality of the aribica is unmatched.