Naturally, arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) is an understorey component of tropical forests. It is a small tree, frequently multi-stem, which size never exceeds 10 m high.
Arabica coffee appreciates shaded and cool environments. Optimal temperatures for its growth average 20 to 22°C., with extremes from 4°C to 35°C. Climates with well contrasted dry and wet seasons, either mono- or bi-modal, are suitable for its development as long as total precipitation are about 1500mm to 1800mm and that period without rain does not exceed 2.5 months. Hence its distribution in Africa in mountainous or highlands regions within the range of 1500 m to 2000 m elevation (as opposed to C. canephora Robusta distribution in humid, lowland areas).
Like all living organisms,coffee plants need to feed, drink and breath. Once these are both qualitatively and quantitatively ensured, the plant will grow and multiply in such a way that a profitable crop production is obtained.
Aiming to this goal, farmers and scientists have designed a set of practices ensuring good health and vigor to the coffee plant. These are detailed in the following pages, addressing the various stages of coffee cultivation such as:
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