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• The cof­fee tree is a trop­i­cal plant that’s be­lieved to be na­tive to Ethiopia.

• The two well-known species of cof­fee grown are ara­bica and ro­busta. The for­mer is con­sid­ered a bet­ter cof­fee, but is more dif­fi­cult to cul­ti­vate. Ro­busta, used mainly for in­stant cof­fee, not only grows more eas­ily but is also 50% cheaper to cul­ti­vate.

• The world’s largest cof­fee sup­pli­ers are Brazil, Viet­nam and Colom­bia. The US is the largest con­sumer. About 70% of the world’s cof­fee is grown by small farm­ers.

• More than 1 000 phys­i­cal and chem­i­cal changes oc­cur when cof­fee beans are roasted. They swell and be­come more por­ous, and their sugar, tan­nin and acid­ity lev­els change.

• In 1999, there were 50 cof­feeroast­ing com­pa­nies in South Africa; to­day there are more than 200.

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