There are two main types of coffee plants, although variations even among these, the Robusta and the Arabica. Robusta is used more often in blends and has a less refined taste, and higher caffeine content. The Arabica, more sought after, is the basis of specialty coffees.
Coffee plants can grow as high as 33 feet but are usually pruned to heights that allow for easier harvesting. The Arabica species is self-pollinating while the Robusta relies on cross-pollination. The coffee tree flowers twice a year, and a quarter of the flowers turn into coffee cherries.
As the coffee cherries turn red, harvesting begins. On large plantations, strip picking by machinery is often used to pick all the beans, even if they are not fully ripe.
At Java Planet we source our beans from small family farms that handpick the cherries as they ripen, resulting in a better product.