Have you ever considered growing your own coffee?
Many coffee lovers believe that cultivating quality beans is just not possible in your garden. However, if you’re able to provide the right conditions and invest a bit of time, it’s perfectly feasible to grow coffee plants in your garden or indoors. Here’s how to do it.
Ideal climatic conditions to grow coffee plants
Climate is a crucial factor when it comes to growing coffee plants. They are usually grown in a tropical climate, so you need to provide the right combination of temperature and humidity (also known as the heat index). A daytime temperature of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity level of 50% or more is ideal.
Obviously, your home probably doesn’t provide a tropical climate naturally, so you will need to artificially create the perfect growing environment for your coffee plants. The best way to do this is to grow your plants in a greenhouse.
If you don’t have access to a greenhouse, you probably need to stick to buying your coffee beans. Check out the best ethiopian coffee beans if this is the case. If you have a greenhouse and decide to have a go at growing your own coffee, read on for growing and plant care tips.
Choosing coffee seeds
The first thing to say – and yes it might sound obvious, but it’s still worth saying – is that it’s impossible to grow coffee plants from roasted coffee beans. You need to buy cherries, seedlings or green beans. The best option for successful cultivation are the green seeds of small coffee cherries. You can also buy potted coffee plants which will give you a head start.
The best soil to grow coffee plants
The right soil is important for growing strong and healthy plants. As a rule, coffee plants are grown in mountainous areas with very high humidity. Consequently, it’s best to grow them in soil that is rich in nutrients and minerals similar to those in a tropical climate. Most coffee growers believe that soil with a pH close to six is the best option. Drainage is important too; keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
As your coffee plants grow, feeding them will help them to thrive and increase your harvest. Always double-check the pH level of the fertiliser to avoid harming your plants, and use it according to the instructions on the packet. You will probably need to feed your plants more often during the growing season, and cut this back over winter.
Repotting coffee plants
As with all plants grown in pots, repotting is another key element of taking care of your coffee plants. It’s recommended that you move your plant to a larger pot every spring, to give the roots more room to grow and support the plant as it gets bigger. You can also prune your plant to keep the size manageable.
Dealing with pests on coffee plants
Any plant grown indoors or outside can suffer from a pest infestation, and coffee plants are no exception to this rule. The most common culprits are mites, aphids, and mealybugs. It’s important to check your plants regularly for signs of infestation. This might include visible insects, webs, and powdery residue. Treat the infestation as soon as possible, to limit damage and prevent it from spreading to other plants.
Are coffee plants toxic?
With the exception of the mature fruit, all parts of coffee plants are toxic to humans. In addition, all parts of the plant are toxic to cats, dogs and most other animals. The berries might look tempting, but they should not be eaten. If you’re growing coffee plants in a home or garden where there are children or pets, it’s wise to keep the plants out of reach.
How many coffee plants to grow?
How many coffee plants do you need to provide you with your own supply of coffee beans? Well, it needs to be a pretty large operation if you want to exclusively drink coffee that you’ve grown yourself. You will need to grow about 2,000 cherries, which will produce around 4,000 beans per year. This will result in about two pounds of coffee after roasting. Most beginners start with 15-20 coffee plants.
If that all sounds like way too large a scale, you can of course grow coffee in smaller volumes and supplement your homegrown harvest with shop-bought beans. You can even grow a coffee plant as a houseplant; obviously you won’t get much in the way of a harvest with just one small plant, but it’s a simple way to provide the right conditions while growing a more unusual indoor plant.
How long does it take to grow coffee plants that produce beans?
Unlike many fruit-bearing plants, coffee plants will not produce a harvest very quickly. It usually takes a few years for coffee plants to mature and start producing flowers, which in turn will produce fruit.
Coffee flowers are white star-shaped buds with an amazing scent. The flowers turn into green fruit, which are ready to harvest once they are red or dark red.
How to harvest coffee beans
To harvest your coffee beans, remove them from the fruit – soaking them in water overnight will help to loosen them. Dry your beans until the flaky outer layer can be removed easily, then roast, grind and enjoy!
It’s also worth checking out the science of growing specific types of coffee beans before you start the entire process. And if you’re someone who wants to spend no more time in making a good cup of coffee, super automatic espresso machines can be a good companion on your kitchen counter.
Hopefully this guide has covered everything you need to know in order to grow coffee plants in your garden or indoors. Even if you decide to grow on a really small scale, you can have fun cultivating your own mini coffee plantation – and that cup of coffee made with your own beans will taste amazing.
Do you think you’ll have a go at growing your own coffee?