The average lifespan of coffee trees is 20-30 years, the maximum is 80 years. The first of the three stages of plant life – the growth stage – begins with the germination of the seed and ends, depending on the species and growing conditions, 4 to 7 years later, when the plant can be considered fully formed. The next stage – productive – is much longer: from 15 to 25 years. After which the plant enters the third stage of the dying stage.
Coffee is a shrub with evergreen leaves: its main trunk can grow up to 10 meters in the wild. The root system of a mature tree is built around its main root, which is usually 30-50 centimeters long – although in deep soils, such as Brazilian red soils, it can reach over a meter in length. A lot of adventitious roots extend vertically downward from the main root, and the lateral roots, in turn, grow almost horizontally and create a network of roots – all together they feed the plant. By the end of the first year of life, an Arabica tree can have 4 to 8 levels of first-order branches growing from the trunk.
The stone fruit of the coffee tree, or “berries,” usually consists of two seeds. Sometimes a single seed, or peberri (rla in Italian and caracolito in Spanish) is formed. Essentially, grain is made up of endosperm, or embryonic matter, which is 20% water, as well as carbohydrates, fats, amino acids, minerals, and caffeine. The amount of caffeine varies from 1.0 to 1.5% for Arabica and 2.0 to 2.5% for Robusta.
Plant embryos – the seeds are covered with two reliable layers. The first is a thin silvery film, or seed coat, surrounded by an epndocarp, or parchment shell. All of this is surrounded by a mesocarp, or pulp, which is surrounded by red or yellow skin.
Once the seed has been planted in the soil, it will germinate under the right temperature and humidity conditions, and the roots will form after 3-4 weeks. After another 3-4 weeks, a shoot appears from the ground, raising a seed on itself, whose parchment shell is still intact. Two oval leaves soon sprout from the seed, fall off and are replaced after 10-12 weeks by a pair of ordinary leaves.