Video 1. Introduction to my plant, Coffea arabica (Raju, 2010)

1.1 Coffea arabica

Scientific name and Classification
Of the many varieties of the genus coffea, Coffea arabica is one of the most significant and important plants. The scientific name for the plant is Coffea Arabica (Grolier
multimedia Encyclopedia, 2010). Carolus Linnaeus was the one to place coffea arabica in the genus coffea in 1731 (Grolier multimedia Encyclopedia, 2010). It belongs to the family rubiceae (Grolier multimedia encyclopedia, 2010).
Figure 1. Picture of Carolus Linnaeus (Roslin,1778)

Characteristics of Coffea Arabica
The coffee plant is a small shrub, with dark, evergreen leaves (Gwinn,1988). Coffee plants grow between 12 to 15m tall (Walters, 2007). The plant has clusters of
white flowers which are self pollinating (Gwinn,1988). About four years after planting the coffea arabica, it produces small, white, fragrant flowers (as shown in figure 3). The flowers are white, 10–15 mm in diameter (Coffee research institute, 2006). The tree's lifespan can exceed one-hundred years (Ross, 2005). The leaves are opposite and about 6–12 cm long and 4–8 cm broad (Coffee research institute, 2006). It has dark-green, lance-shaped leaves, approximately three to six inches long.The fruit is called a drupe (though commonly called a "berry") and is 10–15 mm in diameter, maturing bright red to purple and typically contains two beans which are purple or red (Walters, 2010). On a single tree, the number of petals on a flower vary from blossom to blossom (Geletu, 2006). The plant may grow with a single stem, but often develops multiple stems by branching at the base or on the lower stem (Baines, 2004). The bark is light gray, thin, and becomes rough when old. The wood is light-colored, hard, heavy, and tough (Geletu, 2006). The root system consists of a short, stout central root, and secondary roots radiating at all angles (Baines).

Figure 2. Diagram of plant coffea arabica ( Köhler, 1914)

 Video 2. Appearance of Coffea arabica (Raju, 2010)


According to legend, coffea arabica was first discovered high in the mountains of Ethiopia (Gwinn,1988). Coffea Arabica can be found in the mountains of Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula, Indonesia, East Africa, the highlands of Ethiopia and south eastern Sudan (Baines, 2004). Coffea Arabica is one of the first species to be grown in Southwest Arabia for over 1000 years (Gwinn,1988). Coffee arabica is most recently cultivated in Java, Sumatra, India, Arabica, equatorial Africa, Hawaii, Mexico, central and South America, and the West Indies (Walters, 2010).

Figure 3. Location of where coffea arabica is found (Miguel, 2010)

What are the environmental conditions where the plant is located?
Coffee trees grow best in high temperatures. They also seem to thrive in fertile, well-drained soil. Coffea Arabica is a rain forest species (Grolier multimedia encyclopedia, 2010). They grow best at altitudes between 3000 to 6000 feet in a climate that does not experience freezing temperatures, yet does not reach extremes of heat (Bailey, 2000). The ideal temperature range for an Arabica tree is from 60 to 74 degrees fahrenheit (15 to 24° celcius) (Bailey, 2000). Above this range, the trees will not grow as well. They can be grown in low teperatures of 20° (Bailey, 2000). The plant needs be grown in light shade but it will grow well and is often cultivated in full sun. In hot and dry conditions, the flowers are generally smaller and numerous (Ross, 2005). However, if the conditions are too dry, the flowers will not bear as much of the fruit that will develop into the coffee harvest (Ross, 2005). The growing climate should also have an average annual rainfall between 47 and 98 inches (1200 to 2500 millimeters) (Ross, 2005). Soil for the coffee trees should be slightly acidic with good drainage (Ross, 2005). Although the species tolerates soil pH’s from 4 to 8, pH’s of 5.2 to 6.2 are preferred (Grolier multimedia encyclopedia, 2010).

Figure 4. Coffee arabica plantation(Rebelo, 2004)

1.2 Product

What is the product produced by the plant Coffea arabica?
The product produced by the plant coffea arabica is the popular beverage, coffee. Coffee is a drink made from the roasted and ground beans of the coffee plant (as shown in Figure 1).

Figure 1. Product received from plant coffea arabica
How do we get coffee?1. Harvesting: are used to remove the berries of the plant. When the berries are picked, they are thoroughly washed. They are put through a bath of running water called a "sluice" (Walters, 2010)
2. Pulping: Machinery removes the pulp from the berries. The beans are dried and left out for weeks.
3. Hulling and Peeling: Milling machines blows of all loose skin on the beans. The beans are sorted and the good ones remain for the next step.
4. Roasting: Coffee beans are put into machines and roasted at 900 degrees F for about 20 minutes.
5. Grounding: Beans are ground finely and packaged.
5. Exporting and Shipping: shipped to different companies in different parts of the country in either powdered or frozen state.
6. You buy the powder from a supermarket or you buy a cup of coffee at a cafe!

Figure 1. How coffee is made


Coffee is made from the seeds (or beans) of the coffee plant. The seeds of the coffea arabica are located in the roots of the plant. Coffee comes from coffee berries that grow on the plant. These berries contain two beans (Walter, 2010). These berries are then roasted and brewed with hot water to make coffee (Walters, 2010). The product is obtained from the coffee berries (as shown on figure 3) located on the small shrub.

Coffee_Beans_on_a_tree,_being_picked.jpg cofbean.gif

1.3 Making the Product

Where does coffee actually come from?
You buy it at the grocery store or at a local coffee shop. But do you know where your coffee is actually coming from? Many people drink coffee everyday but few stop to think about where these beans come from and who is growing them. Below shows a diagram of how coffee is processed from a bean to a cup of coffee.

Process from the plant, Coffea arabica to a cup of coffee ...coffee_bean_arrow.jpg


Video 1. Process of making coffee in the coffee mill (Youtube, 2009)

1.4 Beneficial Impacts

What is it used for and who uses it?
Coffea Arabica produces one of the best tasting coffees. But before the plant was used as a beverage, coffee was considered wine, food and medicine (Miller, 2009). The coffee beans are the most used part of the plant, but the leaves and berries also help make herbal tea. Grinded coffee beans can be used as a garden fertilizer, to plant household plants and add to compost. The caffeine in coffee beans is a natural defense mechanism the plant uses. It contains a toxic substance that repels many creatures, allowing it to have a greater fitness and survival. Coffea arabica is the source of food for the butterfly and moth species (Britannica Encyclopedia, 2010). Parts of green coffee beans can improve the ability of the blood vessels to contract or expand freely in humans (Brittanica Encyclopedia, 2010). Also, coffee has had slight impact on biodiversity and contributes to wildlife food and cover, and soil stability (Ross, 2005). Coffee wood is used mainly for fuel but is turned into chairs and other types of furniture in Africa (Ross, 2005). Coffee berries are eaten occasionally by people. The fruit pulp is fed to livestock and consumed widely by farmers (Baines, 2004). Lastly, it is used to flavor candies, liquors, and pastries (Geletu, 2006).
Figure 1. Coffea arabica is used to make the beverage coffee (Yoshi, 2009)

Figure 2. Plant can be used as a fertilizer (Makar fertilizer corporation, 2006)
Figure 3. Butterflies use this plant to eat and survive (Macro, 2007)

Figure 4. Several moth species use the plant as a source of food (Dorothy, 2006)

Explain fully, in any way, how living things, economy, environment, and/or society are benefited by the product or the production of it.
Firstly, coffee improves humans in many ways (as shown in video 1).Coffea Arabica contains less caffeine in the coffee seeds than any other coffea species which is beneficial for humans. Also, coffee is one of the world’s most valuable trading commodities based on its importing and exporting history (Baines, 2004). It helps defend your body against diabetes, reduces workout pain, guards you against gout, helps preserve your memory, protects you against Parkinson's disease, deters death from heart disease, decreases the risk of cancer, decreases the likeliness of obtaining Alzheimer's and lowers the risk of cirrhosis (Executive healthcare management, 2000) . Also, the antioxidants in coffee help regulate blood movement in your body (Figure 5 shows more beneficial impacts of coffee consumption). Its main effect is that it is a mild stimulant of the central nervous system helping to increase awareness and decrease feelings of drowsiness and tiredness (Executive healthcare management, 2000). Coffee has been a well known stimulant to keep people awake it gives people more drive, and people can get more done, therefore that can lead to an increase in productivity. Secondly, coffee exporting and importing have led to huge profiting by the economy. 70% of the world's coffee production is Coffea arabica (Ross, 2005). Thus, coffee is a major import and export product for many countries including America, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Ethiopia, China and Russia (Encyclopedia of horticulture, 2000). In Canada, the market for coffee is increasing daily because more people are consuming coffee on a daily basis. In 2009, Canadian markets benefited $8.96 billion in the production and distribution of coffee around the world (Walters, 2007). Today, coffee is the third most popular drink in the world, behind water and tea (Cristina, 2006). Coffee is used worldwide commercially and for religious ceremonies. In Afghanistan coffee is used in mecca, but before the 20th century coffee was considered haraam. There are many social and cultural aspects of coffee. Coffee houses in mecca was used as a place for political gatherings. Coffee helps enforce religious values and morals in cultural groups, such as Christians. Christians in the earlier days believed that coffee had toxics that were both spiritually and physically unhealthy.

Video 3. Coffee health impacts (Discovery Channel, 2010)

Figure 5. The beneficial effect of coffee made by coffea arabica ( Executive Healthcare Management, 2000)

Figure 6. World map of countries that import coffee (Vardion, 2006)

What other products did coffee replace? Why?
When coffee was first produced in the late 17th century, in Yemen (Southern Arabia) it replaced the popular drink murra (bitter coffee) (Derounian, 1930). At that time, the people thought that coffee was an energizing, and stimulating drink. They felt that coffee was better, because of the taste of the beans and sweet aroma that coffee offered. In India coffee replaced the popular morning beverage, chai. Chai tea is a drink that combines black tea, sweetener, milk and an array of spices. Coffee was preferred over chai because it decreased tiredness and drowsiness and made people more alert and awake in the early mornings. Therefore, over the years coffee became a well liked morning beverage.

1.5 Harmful Impacts

Explain fully, in any way, how living things, economy, environment, and/or society are harmed by the product or the production of it.

When coffea arabica is grown in full sunlight, this creates a number of environmental issues, such as pollution, destruction of ecosystems, deforestation, and soil degradation. In the process of making coffee, when roasting the coffee beans the heavy machinery pollutes the air. This can lead to major environmental problems such as global warming. The natural habitat of the plant are rain forests (Grolier multimedia encyclopedia, 2010). In the process of making coffee, heavy machines end up ruining the natural habitat of many animals. Animals are forced to migrate and adapt to unsuitable climates or environments. Deforestation leads to a decrease of biodiversity in the coffee plants. Also, it increases the amount of animals at risk of extinction because their natural environment is being threatened. The economy also is slightly setback by the production of coffee. The tariffs on exporting coffee to other countries (i.e. Brazil, Mexico, Ethiopia) is expensive. During the Coffee crisis that took place around the world, farmers were left to starve and search recklessly for jobs (International coffee organization, 2001). Also, humans are greatly impacted by the excessive consumption of coffee. Coffee contains cafestol, cafeic acid and caffeine (Healthy Child Healthy World Organization, 2010). These chemicals can harm your body if you consumed over a long period of time.Caffeine is a substance that has been widely used for centuries but it has many negative effects. Caffeine is a stimulant, it can make you stay awake for longer but the long term effect of coffee can cause damages to the human body. Caffeine can cause blurred vision, dizziness, mouth dryness, drowsiness, thirst, anxiety, confusion, irritability, decreased or increased hunger, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), nausea, gastric ache, rapid heartbeat, diarrhea, and increased urination (as shown in Figure 1) (Mikael, 2009). Coffee is a stimulant (because it contains caffeine) which keeps you awake for longer periods of time, this can lead to many physiological diseases such as insomnia and sleep apnea. Only 28% of humans get eight or more hours of sleep in North America. Even though this can be beneficial for businesses who have employees drinking coffee, their personal health is put at risk. Lastly, increasing coffee prices creates inequalities in society(News Channel 18, 2009). Because the price of coffee is rapidly increasing many low and middle class families have a harder time buying and consuming the product. Coffee is not available for less wealthy people, therefore, this causes a hurtful distinction in economic status and class.
Figure 1. Harmful effects of caffeine on human body (Mikael, 2009)

Figure 2. Cartoon showing that coffee has a stimulant which keeps people awake (Daryl, 2005)

What are the alternatives available or proposed to replace the product? Why?
Some alternative beverages to replace the consumption of coffee is barley tea, barleycup, black tea, green tea, caro, chicory, dandelion coffee, pero, postum, and roasted grain beverage. All of the alternatives for coffee contains no or a small amount of caffeine which helps prevent many harmful diseases and body conditions. Black tea is available instead of coffee because it contains only half the amount of caffeine in coffee. Black tea is made mainly of water, sugar and leaves. Black tea is easier to prepare (it takes less than 10 minutes) whereas the process of making coffee is not as time efficient. Also, tea is less expensive than coffee. Some commercially available alternatives to coffee are finely powdered and dissolve instantly in hot water whereas coffee needs to brewed and mixed with other ingredients before consuming. Green tea is a good alternative for coffee because it contains antioxidants which help regulate blood flow in the human body. Licorice tea can also be consumed instead of coffee because it has a sweet flavor and nourishes the adrenal glands. Yerba maté is another alternative which contains no caffeine, but has a stimulating effect that helps people stay awake the same as the stimulant in coffee.


 Figure 3. Black tea
1.6 Conclusion
Coffea arabica is a small shrub with thick, glossy leaves and white fragrant flowers. This plant is mainly found growing on the high mountains of Ethiopia and Brazil at high altitudes and temperatures in between 15 to 24° celcius. The popular and tasteful beverage -coffee- is produced from the beans of the plant. The coffee bean are picked from the plant, washed, and dried. Then, roasted and ground finely into powder. This powder is exported to different parts of the world, including Mexico, Hawaii, India, Canada and America. Coffee from this plant is either sold as fine powder at a local supermarket or poured into a cup and sold at a local coffee shop. Not only is this plant used to make the beverage coffee, but it is also used as fertilizer, medicine, livestock feed, fuel and furniture. Coffee is one of the most valuable trading products in our country, 70% of our world beverage profit is made from just coffee because it is in such great demand and quality. Coffee can beneficially help the human body by preventing and reducing any risk of diseases. Consequently, coffee also has some negative impacts. Coffee has the ability to trigger various medical conditions due to the increased quantity of caffeine the beverage contains. The process of making coffee has created a number of environmental issues, such as pollution, destruction of ecosystems, deforestation, and soil degradation. Coffee has replaced water, murra, and chai because of it's thick taste, aroma and energizing stimulation but it has been replaced by black tea and roasted grain beverage because of it's harmful long term effects. Even though coffee does have many negative impacts on our environment and overall health, the plant coffea arabica has become a significant part of our everyday lives, society, economy and culture.

1.7 References (APA)
Online Encyclopedias
  • Coffea arabica. (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved December 03, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/124314/Coffea-arabica
  • Coffee. (2010). Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 8, 2010, from Grolier Onlinehttp:gme.grolier.com/article?assetid=0066710-0 Marshall , C. (1979).

Online Books

Online Web pages

  • Ross, I.A. (2005). Medicinal plants of the world[Volume 3 , pg.108, Humana Press, 2005].Encyclopedia of plants and animals. United States, New York: Marshall Cavendish Books Ltd.The world book encyclopedia// . United States, Michigan : World Book, Inc.
  • Baines, Borton, Cooper,.(2004). Flowering Plants. (2004). e.encyclopedia science. New York: DK Publishing Inc.
  • Gwinn, R.P. (1988). Coffea arabica . (1988). The new encyclopaedia britannica . U.S.A., Chicago : Encylopaedia Britannica, Inc.
  • Bailey, L.H. (2000) The standard Encyclopedia of horticulture. MacMillan, New York. pg.639