The coffee tree is a shrub with a straight trunk. The plant can survive for about 50 to 70 years. Flowers and beans appear during the third year, but production is only profitable from the fifth year onwards.
In the 18th century botanists, classified coffee as a member of the Rubiaceous family. Today, there are around 60 recognised species of coffee tree, yet just two dominate world trade. Coffea arabica, popularly known as Arabica, accounts for 75% of production worldwide. The remaining 25% is primarily Coffea canephora, commonly known by the name of its most widespread variety: Robusta.