Coffee is a deciduous, shrub-like tree. Most cultivars used in commercial production are pruned back each year to less than 8 feet in height, and every 8-10 years the tree is pruned nearly to the ground. The life of the tree in terms of good coffee production can be 50 years, and it will live much longer but will probably stop producing coffee with good organoleptic qualities at some point.
The Lean Times [We were discussing the nearly complete lack of Central American coffees in our offerings when Tom remembered that he wrote about this in a past Tiny Joy. He has a good memory because I found it in the Nov-Dec ’04 edition! I am reproducing part of that here since it is still relevant. – Maria]