Coffee Flowers are Lovely!

Taking time to stop and smell the coffee (blossoms)

I was thinking about my departure later this week for Kenya, then on to Ethiopia. I was making my to-do lists, emailing our contacts so the samples and coffee cuppings are coordinated, getting my Visas set up, looking at hotels, and thinking about the open-ended projects I need to wrap up before departure. Honestly, after all these years, trips still make me incredibly nervous, I am embarrassed to say. It’s just me: I’m a homebody at heart.

When I feel this way, I try to recall the simple pleasure of traveling, of seeing new things, and the old things I see that bring enjoyment. Coffee flowers come to mind.

Coffea arabica blooms for a very short period. A flower might be fresh and fully open for just a few days. They wither quickly. So the timing to see coffee in bloom is tricky.

Mankira Cooperative, Coffee flowers, Kafa, Ethiopia

And interestingly, coffea arabica is self pollinating, so flowering is not the same as other fruiting trees that need to attract pollinator insects to assist in creating fruit. Apparently, coffea arabica blooms for other reasons. I like to think it’s just to be beautiful … a nice little thought, but untrue of course.

The intensity of floral smells from arabica ranges greatly, but some are mild like honeysuckle, or more potent like jasmine. A few varieties have the scent of tropical blossoms. The big secret is that coffea canephora, robusta coffee, has amazing blooms to match the huge clusters of coffee fruit it produces. Robusta in bloom is stunning!

So for easing nerves and sharing some coffee beauty, here is as collection of coffee flower photos I have taken over the years…. not wanting to do things halfway, I chose a mere 101 photos to share! ha…-Tom

5 Responses

  1. Thanks for posting your photos. Interesting to see the different cultivars and varieties and related info. My favorite photos were the lone flower labeled “Kerinci Sumatra”, and the two images from Oakland.

    1. Thanks Ron! The coffee flowering stage is just a blip in the life cycle, so I feel lucky when our visits somehow line up with it.

      -Dan

  2. I agree with Christopher – nice to see the bamboo. Gives the abundance of photos some context for where these plants are growing. How great to see all the flowers, none-the-less! Thanks…

    1. I really enjoy photographing bamboo varieties too. Hmmm, maybe I should make a gallery of bamboo?

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