It’s one of the most famous places in the world.
But this place is also home to the world’s oldest coffee beans, and that’s thanks to an unlikely source.
A discovery at a research centre in southern Iraq that dates back to the 19th century has helped archaeologists uncover a wealth of information about the coffee plant.
Coffee beans are found in many different regions of the world, but they are generally found in the African region of the Sahara, which is home to an area the size of France.
It is an area where coffee plants have thrived for millennia, said Dr Mark Tapp, of the University of Adelaide’s Institute of Anthropology and Archaeology.
“It’s not just the beans, it’s the trees and the water that’s important to the plants,” he said.
“When you look at what’s happening in the forested region of Morocco, for example, you can see coffee trees growing right in front of you, and there are plenty of trees there that have been there for a very long time.”
This is the coffee tree, the Arabian coffee tree.
“So the fact that the coffee trees were here for a long time, and were probably in the region for tens of thousands of years, is very interesting.”
The oldest coffee tree in the Middle Eastern desertThe oldest known coffee tree was found in an area of the African desert, where it is thought to have grown from the late 1800s to the mid-20th century.
“There are many coffee trees that have existed in the desert region for millions of years,” Dr Tapp said.
“The oldest one in Morocco is a species called Bambara cerrado, which means ‘little bean’, and the oldest coffee trees in Africa are those that are found near the Sahara.”
The Arabian is the oldest known species in the Sahara.
The plant has a very strong scent and can be identified as a coffee bean.
The Arabians roots are very strong, Dr Tapps said.
The oldest ever found coffee treeCoffea arabicana, also known as the Arabians coffee tree (or the Arabia cerrada) is one of a number of coffee trees found in North Africa.
The largest of these trees is located in Morocco, where they grow from the early 1800s until the 1960s.
“The Arabia is the first coffee tree found in Morocco and it’s probably the oldest one known in North African,” Dr Jeroen Van den Broeck, a coffee expert from the University University of Amsterdam, said.
Dr van den Broeboek said the Arabias coffee tree has a long history.
“Its roots are the oldest ever identified, and it has been growing in Morocco since the 1700s,” he explained.
“But it is very old, the roots reach back at least 800,000 years, so there’s lots of fossil evidence that has been found.”
The trees are about 10 to 15 metres tall, and are usually planted at night, with the young shoots being picked and dried.
The roots are quite heavy and they are quite strong, but the oldest of the trees has a scent that attracts bees.
“They’re not the most efficient way of growing the coffee, but it is a very effective way of attracting the bees to the seedling,” Dr van den Bros said.
Caffeine is the chemical that is emitted when the plant’s leaves are turned upside down.
The flowers of the Arabi’s coffee tree can be used to make tea.
“Coffees can be made from coffee, or coffee pods, and the plants have a strong smell, so it is an effective way to attract bees to them,” Dr Van den Bros explained.
Coffe beans can be roasted in the same way as any other bean, and can also be dried.
Dr Tapp’s team were able to use the coffee’s scent to identify the Arabii coffee tree as the oldest, and most ancient, coffee tree known to have existed.
“In Morocco, coffee trees have been growing for centuries,” he noted.
“These trees are usually about 15 to 15.5 metres tall.
And in this region, there are also some very old trees that are up to 20 metres tall.”
Dr van der Broeek said there are several species of coffee beans that are indigenous to Morocco.
“One of them is called ‘Bambara coffee’ that is also grown in the Arabie desert,” he added.
“A lot of people don’t realise that Morocco is the third largest coffee producing region in the Islamic world.”
And one of those is called Banda coffee, which was found up until the 1940s.
“He said that, unlike other Arabies coffee trees, Banda has a stronger smell than Arabia coffee.”
Banda coffee is also found in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Mauritania,” Dr jeroen van den Bos said.