The coffee plant is classified into many varieties, but the two most common are Arabica and Robusta.
Annual world production of coffee reaches approximately 130 million bags (60 kg.), with most of the harvest concentrated in Central and South America (60%), Africa (10%) and Asia (30%).
The Arabica variety is about 65% of world production and is the most prized quality, with a caffeine content that ranges from 1.1 to 1.7%.
A native of Arabia, today it is grown mainly in Central and South America, at altitudes of between 600 and 2500 m.
The seed is elongated and flat.
Brazil is the world’s largest producer (with over 40 million bags, it makes up 1/3 of world production), followed by Colombia (about 12% of world production, and first producer of washed coffee), Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica. Even India and Africa produce Arabica, but to a lesser extent.
The Robusta variety accounts for about 35% of world production. Compared to Arabica it is considered less valuable because its high caffeine content, between 1.7 and 3.8%, affects its taste making it more bitter. However, there are Robusta varieties with excellent organoleptic qualities.
Robusta is more resistant to the hot and humid climates of the equatorial regions, so there it grows at low altitudes, between 200 and 600 meters above sea level. The seed has a roundish shape.
It is now widespread in Africa (Uganda, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Zaire) and Asia (Indonesia, Java and Vietnam, a country, this latter, which in recent years has known a rapid development and has become the second largest coffee producer). Also in Central and South America we find small-scale production of excellent quality Robusta.