Coffea stenophylla (Highland Coffee of Sierra Leone) is a large evergreen tree native to West Africa. This species of coffee plants can grow taller than 20 feet, though there are also some smaller specimens that measure between 10 and 20 feet. It thrives in full sun or semi-shade and moderate water. In late spring or early summer, white or off-white flowers open up and then give way to small oval fruits.
The fruit from this tree is edible and is considered a nutritious snack. They are rich in antioxidants and rich in vitamins A, B, and C. Coffea stenophylla fruit can also be brewed into a healthy alternative to regular coffee. The fruit is slightly bitter, but can be sweetened with sugar or honey. It is also believed to have some health benefits, including promoting healthy digestion and helping to maintain balanced cholesterol levels.
This species can be grown in USDA Zone 9-11. The tree does not tolerate cold temperatures, and for those living in cooler climates, it should be grown in a pot. When grown in a container, the plant should be protected from temperatures below 40 F. The container should be placed in a sunny location and watered when the soil feels dry. The tree should also be fertilized once a month during the growing season.
In the right conditions, a Coffea stenophylla tree may produce up to hundreds of fruits in the season. The fruits are a rich source of nutrients and are a great snack, especially for those looking to get a boost of energy. In addition to being eaten, the fruits can be juiced, dried and roasted, or brewed into a beverage.