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By Lizzie Powell

The Coffee Cherry

I was always fascinated by coffee, but I am constantly surprised when so many people I speak to think that it is grown in the ground!  

When I explain that the coffee is in fact a cherry stone split into two halves, they seem strangely curious! 

I was keen to see this on my first ever trip to the Columbian plantation and gave one a good squeeze in front of my camera to try and show our customers just how remarkable these coffee beans really are!

Once the coffee tree is 68 weeks old, it will bloom

The white flowers smell a lot like Jasmine and they generally develop after a heavy rainfall.  They literally burst into flower overnight and the hills and mountain tops look like heavy snow has fallen, it is extremely rare to see such a sight and many coffee experts have only been fortunate enough to see this a handful of times during their lifetime. 

There were a few flowers in Colombia to be seen, flowers do vary greatly between regions.  The flowers I saw in the Caribbean (it’s a harsh job, but someone has to do it) were very much larger! With all fruiting trees, the flowers are necessary for the fruits to develop later.

The branches of the coffee tree start to develop the first fruits very near to the central stem of the plant or trunk.  Each new crop is grown further and further down the branch as the cherries can not grow in the same place on a branch twice… the older the tree, the longer and heavier the branches.

Once the cherry has ripened, it must be hand picked….. more on this for the next time!

Click here to read part three - the coffee pickers

The Flowers of a coffee bean plant

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