On the Coffee Farm
The coffee plant requires an environment with moist, fertile soil (often volcanic), moderate temperatures, lots of alternating sunshine and shade, and moderate rainfall (152-203cm or 60-80 inches per year with intermittent dry seasons. The best quality coffees typically grow at higher elevations around 1200-1800+meters (4000-6000 ft.) in remote mountainous areas or coastal ranges.
Higher elevations and moderate temperatures lead to a slower growth cycle, which in turn produces mucilage inside the cherry that is richer in sugars and soluble solids (other sugars, soluble pectins, amino acids and organic acids). The slower development increases the density of the bean and allows more time to absorb nutrients from the plant and fruit.
This translates to a sweetness, acidity and flavor intensity not found in lower-grown coffees. A coffee plant will take about five years to mature to a productive level.
Fruit Development - from pre-flowers to ripe fruit