Types of Coffee:
The most important deciding factor about the flavour and quality of coffee is the species of the trees from which coffee is obtained.
There are about 40 different types of species, but only three types are commercially cultivated in India. These are as under: 1. Arabica: This is the finest variety of coffee for flavour. It has originated from the mocha coffee, native to Arabian Peninsula. More than 70 per cent of the coffee production in our country is of the Arabica type. This type of coffee is most expensive and is most important in world trade. 2.
Robusta: This type is comparatively of poor quality and it can survive in arid conditions. It is also disease resistant. The cost of production is low and the yield per hectare is high. Thus it is comparatively cheaper. 3. Liberica: This type is native to Liberia and suited to lowlands rather than upland conditions. Both robusta and liberica are particularly suitable for making “instant coffee”, and are thus gaining importance.
Conditions for Growth of Coffee:
Coffee is a tropical plant and needs hot and humid climate. ii. The temperature should vary between 15°C and 28 °C and the annual rainfall should be about 150 to 250 cm. It should be well-distributed. iii.
The coffee plant cannot tolerate frost, strong sunshine and hot wind. Thus, it is grown under shady trees. iv. Stagnant water is harmful so coffee is grown on hill slopes at an elevation of 800 to 2000 metres. Northern and eastern slopes are preferred as they are less exposed to strong afternoon sun and Southwest Monsoon winds. v. Coffee needs well-drained loamy soils, rich in humus and minerals. Red and Laterite soils are good for coffee cultivation in India.
vi. Coffee cultivation needs cheap and skilled labour for various operations including sowing, transplanting, and pruning, plucking, drying, grading and packing of coffee in the plantations.