You have to love a coffee with the word liberty built into it. I can see our tag line now, "Freedom comes with every sip!" or "Life, liberty and the pursuit of coffee!" So what does coffee and a hospital in Liberia have in common? Nothing! Until we connect the dots. Remember, we are thinking Doughnut Economics and Self Contained Philanthropy i.e., Cause-Specific Enterprises.
First, a little background. Coffee relative from West Africa. Liberian Coffee accounts for around 1% of commercially grown coffee. Taste and appearance of the beans and berries is similar to the more common coffee, although beans are often larger but contain a tough, difficult to shell skin, hindering their commercial uses.
The first plantation of liberica coffee was established in Liberia in 1864, but reports of its cultivation go back to 1792. Its supposed resistance to coffee leaf rust disease resulted in a rapid introduction all over the world during the late 19th Century; it reached India in 1872 and Indonesia in 1875. [Prosea,
M.S.M. Sosef & E. Boer]
Liberica coffee seeds take about 50 days to germinate. The trees develop, like all coffees, according to the architectural model of Roux, which is characterized by a continuously growing monopodial orthotropic stem with plagiotropic opposite branches. The first fruits are produced 2-3 years after planting out in the field. After 5-6 years the plants are in full bearing. The economic life span is about 25-30 years. Flowering and fruiting may take place throughout the year, but flowering is triggered by heavy showers; the flower buds grow to a certain size and then rest until stimulated by continued water stress and rapid rehydration, resulting in simultaneous blooming. C. liberica is self-incompatible. [Prosea,M.S.M. Sosef & E. Boer]
Fruit maturation takes 10-12 months, depending on the locality.
Cafes are popping up all over Liberia, especially Monrovia. For example, check out Peace Cafe. There is something about the entrepreneurial spirit in Liberia that I find so refreshing and hopeful at the same time.