Family • Rubiaceae - Coffea arabica Linn. - ARABIAN COFFEE - Xiao guo ka fei

Scientific names

Coffea arabica Linn.

Common names

Cafe (Span.)
Kahana (Sul.)
Kape (Tag.)
Kapi (Ilk., If., Tag.)
Arabian coffee (Engl.)
Ka fei (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

ARABIC: Kawa, Elive, Qahwa. PORTUGUESE: Cafe, Café, Caféeiro.
CHINESE: Ka fei, Ka fei dou, Ka fei shu, Xiao guo ka fei, Xiao li ka fei. RUSSIAN: Kofe arabica.
DANISH: Kaffe. SHONA: Muhubva.
DUTCH: Arabicakoffie, Koffie, Koffiestruik. SPANISH: Arbol del café, Cafeto, Cafeto arábico, Cafeto de Arabia.
FRENCH: Café arabica, Caféier commun, Caféier d’Arabie. SWAHILI: Kahawa.
GERMAN: Arabicakaffee, Arabischer Kaffeebaum, Arabischer Kaffeestrauch, Bergkaffee, Kaffe. SWEDISH: Kaffe.
GREEK: Kafes. TAMIL: Capie cottay.
ITALIAN: Albero del caffè, Arbusto del caffè, Caffe, Caffè. TELUGU: Chaabe.
JAPANESE: Arabika koohii, Koohii noki. THAI: Kafae.
KOREAN: K’eo p’i na mu. TURKISH: Kahvé oghadji.
MALAY: Kopi. VIETNAMESE: Càphê arabica.
PERSIAN: Gehve, Tochem keweh. ZULU: Ikhofi, Ilikhofi.

Kape is a small, smooth tree reaching a height of 3 to 5 meters. Leaves are elliptic-ovate to elliptic-oblong, 8 to 15 centimeters long, shining, and pointed on both ends. The flowers are white, borne in fascicles in the axils of leaves. Corolla is 1.5 centimeters. Fruit is red, ovoid or ellipsoid, 1 to 1.4 centimeters long.

Besides Coffea arabica, other species have been introduced in the Philippines: C. robusta, C. excelsa, C. liberica, C. canephora and C. ugandae.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Medicinal plants of the world / Ivan A. Ross

(2) Studies on Lectins from Thai Plants / Sopit Wongkham et al / J. Sci. Soc. Thailand, 24 (1995) 27-36

(3) The Cholesterol-Raising Factor from Coffee Beans, Cafestol, as an Agonist Ligand for the Farnesoid and Pregnane X Receptors / Marie-Loouise Ricketts et al / Molecular Endocrinology, doi:10.1210/me.2007-0133

(4) Cafestol / Wikipedia

(5) Sorting Coffea names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE /

(6) GC-MS study of compounds isolated from Coffea arabica flowers by different extraction techniques /
Stashenko EE1, Martínez JR, Cárdenas-Vargas S, Saavedra-Barrera R, Durán DC. / J Sep Sci. 2013 Sep;36(17):2901-14. doi: 10.1002/jssc.201300458. Epub 2013 Jul 30.

(7) Effect of green Coffea arabica L. seed oil on extracellular matrix components and water-channel expression in in vitro and ex vivo human skin models. / Velazquez Pereda Mdel C1, Dieamant Gde C, Eberlin S, Nogueira C, Colombi D, Di Stasi LC, de Souza Queiroz ML. / J Cosmet Dermatol. 2009 Mar;8(1):56-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2009.00425.x.

(8) Coffea arabica Seed Extract Stimulate the Cellular Immune Function and Cyclophosphamide-induced Immunosuppression in Mice / Mohammad Rafiul Haque, Shahid Hussain Ansari, Azhar Rashikh / IJPR, Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, Volume 12, Issue 1, Winter 2013, Page 101-108

– Widely scattered in distribution.
– Introduced by the Spaniards.

• The alkaloids of coffea arabica are caffeine, adenine, xanthine, hypoxanthine, guanosine and proteids.
• Leaves contain an alkaloid, caffeine, 1.15 to 1.25 percent.
• The pericarp of the fruit contains caffeine, mallic acid, mannite, invert sugar and saccharose.
• The seeds contain caffeine 0.72 to 2.43%, gallic acid, citric acid, proteids, sugar, legumin, glucose, dextrine, coffeo-tannic acid, fat, and volatile oil (caffeol).
• Caffeine is medically known as trimethyl xanthine, C8H10N4O2.


– Respiratory, gastric and renal stimulant; diuretic, antilithic, digestive, peristaltic, febrifuge.
– Increases reflex action and mental activity. More stimulating than cocoa.
– Roasted coffee believed to have disinfectant and deodorant properties.
– A strong infusion of coffee is antisoporific.

Parts used and preparation
Seeds and leaves.
Roasted coffee considered in Indian medicine as disinfectant and deodorant.

(C)Guy Ackermans 2005



• Infusion or decoction of roasted coffee leaves as a stimulant. Some prefer the leaf to the berry.
An important alkaloid used as a stimulant for the nervous system and circulation.
• In traditional Indian medicine, coffee is a palliative in spasmodic asthma, whooping cough, delirium tremens.
• Used in the early stages of typhoid fever.
• Roasted coffee used for disinfectant and deodorant properties.
• Strong infusion of black coffee used as antisoporific in cases of poisoning by opium, alcohol, and other stupefying or narcotic poisons.
• Used as vehicle for administration of quinine and sulfate of magnesia, concealing the bitter and nauseous tastes of the medicines.
• Used as a tonic to offset the effects of malaria.
• Used as a diuretic in dropsy.
• In the raw state, berries are used for hemicrania and intermittent fevers.


Coffea arabica Arabica Kaffee Rubiaceae Krappgewächse 26
Study Findings
• Gastrointestinal: Gastroesophageal reflux: Coffee promotes gastroesophageal reflux, stimulating gastrin release and gastric acid secretion and slow gastric emptying. The effects on esophageal sphincter effects. In some, it increased rectosigmoid motor activity within 4 minutes of ingestion.
• Nervous system effects: Caffeinated beverages acutely stimulated the autonomic nervous system, affecting alertness, heart rate and energy arousal.
• Antioxidant: Extract shown to have antioxidant activity attributed to chlorogenic acid.
• Dental Caries / Anticariogenic: Streptococcus mutans has been implicated as the primary causative agent of dental caries in humans. The organisms also produces an adherent glucan that contributes to the formation of dental plaque. Roasted coffee extract possesses a wide range of antibacterial activity that includes S aureus and Strep mutans. The study suggests coffee has an anticariogenic action but no antiadhesive action.
• Lectins: Study showed potent lectin activity in the fruit extract.
• Cafestol / Hypercholesterolemic: A diterpene molecule in coffee, said to be the most potent cholesterol-elevating compound in the human diet. A typical bean of Coffea arabica contains 0.6% cafestol by weight, and is highest in unfiltered coffee drinks. Regular consumption of boiled coffee increases serum cholesterol by 8% in men and 10% in women. In drip brewed coffee, it is present in only negligible amount. Study suggests that cafestol can directly regulate expression of genes involved in cholesterol metabolism through activation of nuclear receptors FXR and PXR. Cafestol is also an intestine-specific activator of PXR and direct regulation of FXR and PXR genes in the intestines contribute to its choleraterol-raising effect in humans.
• Compounds Isolated from Flowers: Extraction techniques isolated about 150 different chemical substances from the flowers of Coffea arabica. n-Pentdecane was the most abundant compound, followed by 8-heptadecene and geraniol. Hydrocarbons and terpenoids were predominant compounds in the sorptive extractions. Caffeine, the distinctive component of coffee fruits and beans, was also found in relative high amounts in the CO2 extraction of arabica flowers.
• Seed Oil / Skin Protective Property: Study evaluated the in vitro effects of green coffee oil on the synthesis of collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans and the release of transforming growth factor beta1 and GM-CSF by human skin fibroblasts. Results showed seed oil might improve physiological balance in the skin, allowing the formation of new connective tissue, and preventing dryness by increasing AQP-3 levels. It suggests a potential for CGO as adjuvant for use in dermocosmetic formulations.
• Anti-Diabetic Effect: Study evaluated the anti-diabetic effect of extracts of Coffea arabica in diabetic rats. Results showed significant lowering of blood glucose levels compared to control. Findings suggest the extract of coffee can alleviate diabetic hyperglycemia.
• Stimulatory Effect on Cellular Immune Function / Immunostimulant: An alcohol extract of coffee showed a immunostimulatory effects on cell-mediated immune response and cyclophosphamide-induced immunosuppressed mice. The activity could have been due to cell-mediated and humoral antibody-mediated activation of T and B cells. Results suggest Coffea arabica is a potent immunostimulant against cytotoxic drugs.
• Coffe Berry Pulp / Antibacterial: Study evaluated the antibacterial potential present in Hawaiian Arabica coffee berry pulp. Results showed antibacterial compounds present in the pulp. A water extract of coffee pulp showed potential antibacterial effect against E. coli 1472. A higher antibacterial activity was provided by 80% methanol extract. Listeria monocytogenes strains were most susceptible to chloroform fractions. Results suggest the berry pulp has a potential as food preservative.

Tinctures and seeds in the cybermarket.