Across Unknown South America

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER II Coffee — The Dumont Railway MY object in travelling by the Paulista Railway was to inspect the line on my way to the immense coffee plantations at Martinho Prado, owned by Conselheiro Antonio Prado. The estate is situated at an elevation of 1,780 feet above the sea level, upon fertile red soil. It is difficult, without seeing them, to realize the extent and beauty of those coffee groves: miles and miles of parallel lines of trees of a healthy, dark green, shining foliage. A full-grown coffee tree, as everybody knows, varies in height from six feet to fourteen or fifteen feet according to the variety, the climate, and quality of the soil. It possesses a slender stem, straight and polished, seldom larger than three to five inches in diameter, from which shoot out horizontal or slightly oblique branches — the larger quite close to the soil — which gradually diminish in length to its summit. The small, white blossom of the coffee tree is not unlike jessamine in shape and also in odour. The fruit, green in its youth, gradually becomes of a yellowish tint and then a bright vermilion when quite ripe — except in the Botucatii kind, which remains yellow to the end. The fruit contains within a pericarp a pulp slightly viscous and sweet, within which, covered by a membrane, are the two hemispherical coffee beans placed face to face and each covered by a tender pellicle. It is not unusual to find a single bean in the fruit, which then takes the shape of an ellipsoid grooved in its longer axis; and thisis called moka owing to the resemblance which it bears to the coffee of that name. The coffee chiefly cultivated in Brazil is the Arabica L. and to a small extent also the Liberica Hiern, but other varieties have developed from those, and there are crosses of local kinds, ...
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