Monika Bravo

Country of origin: Colombia
Plant: Coffee

The name Coffee is derived from Caffa, a province of Abyssinia. In its wild state the tree grows to a height of 30 feet, but in cultivation it is kept shorter to expedite picking; it has evergreen leaves, smooth and shiny on the upper side, dark green under and paler, 6 inches long, 2 1/2 inches wide; flowers in dense clusters at base of leaves, white and very decorative, but only lasting in bloom two days; berries red and fleshy like small cherries, each berry two-seeded, convex on one side, flat on the other with a long furrowed line running lengthways and covered with a thin parchment which has to be winnowed or milled before roasting, after the outer pulp has been removed by a machine. The roasting develops the volatile oil and peculiar acid to which the aromas and flavours are due. The Coffee shrub was introduced into Arabia early in the fifteenth century from Abyssinia, and for two centuries Arabia supplied the world’s Coffee; at the end of the seventeenth century the Dutch introduced the plant into Batavia, and from there a plant was presented to Louis XIV in 1714. All the Coffee now imported from Brazil and Colombia has been imported from that single plant.