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What is Coffee?

Coffee beans are the seeds of the fruit (called 'cherries') of the coffee tree. Typically each coffee cherry contains two coffee beans, positioned inside the cherry with their flat sides together.

When ripe, coffee cherries are harvested, sorted, processed, graded, bagged and shipped all over the world. Although Ethiopia is long considered the birthplace of coffee, coffee trees are grown in dozens of countries between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

Coffee trees belongs to the genus of Coffea, of which there are over 120 different sub-varieties. The two most commonly known varieties are Coffea arabica (known as 'Arabica') and Coffea canephora (known as 'Robusta'). Arabica accounts for about 60% of world coffee production and Robusta about 40%.


There are very many varieties of the Arabica coffee tree. We only use Arabica beans and on our packaging you will see varieties such as Typica, Bourbon, Caturra, and Catuai, to name a few. These names all refers to a specific Arabica variety, each with it's unique characteristics and flavour profile.

Arabica grows best at altitudes of 1300-1500m, with temperatures between 15 and 24 degrees, it prefers to grow in a light shade. Wild coffee trees grows to 9-12m tall, but in commercial plantations they are pruned to as low as 2 meters to facilitate harvesting. Ripe coffee cherries are still mostly picked by hand, as harvesting machines cannot operate in hilly areas the trees are grown in.


Robusta is able to grow and fruit lower altitudes than Arabica. It can also grow at higher temperatures, Robusta is higher yielding and are more resistant to disease than Arabica. These attributes makes Robusta a much cheaper coffee to produce than Arabica.

However, Robusta simply doesn't taste as good as Arabica and therefor is mostly used in the instant soluble market where price trumps flavour. Robusta also has a higher caffeine content than Arabica.

All Little Birdie Coffee is 100% Arabica

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