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The world’s most popular brew of coffee has some very ancient origins, according to a new study.

Researchers recently discovered that Coffea arabica – popularly known as just “arabica” – is around 600,000 years old, the Associated Press reported.

For their research, scientists analyzed the genomes of coffee plants from around the globe, including arabica’s parent species and samples dating back to the 18th century.

Their findings showed that the arabica plant species emerged hundreds of thousands of years ago through the natural crossbreeding of two other coffee species – meaning that humans weren’t responsible for its creation, the research team noted.

They added that before human cultivation, the arabica plant’s population fluctuated over thousands of years: flourishing in warm and wet periods and struggling during dry spells.

It was during these difficult times that population bottlenecks occurred when only a small number of genetically similar plants survived.

The journey of arabica, which originated in Ethiopia but found fame when first brewed in Yemen during the 1400s, was a colorful one, the scientists noted.

Legend has it that Indian monk Baba Budan smuggled seven coffee beans from Yemen in the 1600s, which later triggered coffee’s global ascent.

Arabica coffee, known for its smooth and sweet taste, now dominates between 60 and 70 percent of the world coffee market, with brands such as Starbucks and Tim Horton’s relying on its beans.

The authors added that understanding arabica’s genetic history could help scientists devise strategies for safeguarding the crop’s future.

Today’s arabica coffee plants are vulnerable to diseases such as coffee leaf rust, resulting in billions of dollars in annual losses.

The recent study focused on a resistant arabica variety, pinpointing key sections of its genetic code for potential plant protection.

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