Coffee is a beverage that is consumed by millions and billions of people every day. And you will be shocked to know how easy it is to grow them at home! You can grow it in any region or climate, but only if you know the different care tips.
This guide will tell you how to grow your own coffee beans, the favorable conditions for them to grow, and much more! Let’s start.
How To Grow Coffee Plants At Home?
The first requirement for growing any plant is to get a seed. The coffee beans you buy from a store will probably be roasted. You could acquire green coffee beans, which have not been roasted yet, but the chances of them being viable for germination are slim.
The best way to plant coffee beans and get them to germinate is by planting beans right out of the coffee fruit. This poses the question of where to get a coffee tree from. It might not always be available locally. Nonetheless, you should visit plant nurseries or plant exhibitions. If it’s not available, then you can order it online.
When you have acquired a source for the seed, follow these steps to grow coffee from scratch!
Step 1- Plant The Seed
So, after you have a healthy coffee plant, wait for it to bloom and fruit. Extract the seed from inside the fruit and plant it straight from the fruit. You can easily put it in a container indoors or outdoors.
Don’t let the coffee plant seeds dry out or set them aside to use later. This will render them useless and they won’t germinate.
You want to plant the coffee seeds as soon as you extract them from the fruit before they dry out. Plant them in moist seed starting mix or potting soil and keep them watered.
Step 2- Transfer To A Pot Or Soil
Don’t expect the seeds to sprout in a couple of weeks. The seeds will take at least three to four months to sprout. So you have to be very patient during the whole process. If they are fresh seeds, they will sprout.
Once the plant comes out of the soil and gets to a decent size, you can transplant it to a pot and wait for it to grow bigger. If you live in a tropical place, you can plant them right into the soil. The soil should have a low pH and be abundant in nitrogen.
Water the seed daily, but don’t drown it. Add manures and fertilizers to keep it healthy.
Step 3- Care For The Coffee Plant And Be Patient
Once the coffee seed germinates, you have to take proper care of it. And since it takes years to blossom, you have to monitor its growth carefully.
If you live outside the tropical belt, then follow a cycle where in the summer you keep it in the sun for 14–16 hours, and indoors for 8–10 hours. You gradually interchange this ratio as the seasons progress, where ultimately, in the winter, you keep it in the sun for 8 hours and indoors for the rest of the day.
Water it twice a week and make sure it drains properly. It is also important to prune the plant properly to keep it in good shape. After three to four years, you can expect to see flowers and cherries as well.
Step 4- Harvest The Cherries
Once the cherries mature, you can harvest them. From here on, the coffee beans will undergo fermentation, drying, and roasting. And then they will go into your cup of coffee!
Favorable Conditions For Growing Coffee Plants
A coffee plant takes 4 years to flower and yield fruit. Growing coffee is a delicate and in-depth process, which will take a lot of patience.
You will see that planting seeds in colder temperatures will not yield the same result. If it gets very cold during the winter, then consider growing the coffee plant inside a greenhouse.
You can also put down a heating mat underneath to keep the temperature favorable.
This is necessary because coffee grows in tropical climates. So, they should never be at a temperature below 50°F and above 105°F, because in the tropics, due to high humidity, the temperature never goes above 100°F.
You don’t need to plant the coffee beans in direct sunlight. Instead, the ideal situation will be to get them filtered sunlight, like they get in jungles, because they grow in the shade of bigger plants.
Even though that is how coffee plants are usually grown, it doesn’t mean that they don’t thrive under direct sun. Direct sun is also good for their growth, but you have to let the plant gradually acclimate to the sun from a shady environment.
The leaves will get sunburnt and fall off if they get too much direct sunlight after being in the shade for a long time.
This is an important factor in growing coffee. You want to use soil that has organic matter and is porous. But just potting soil is not going to cut it. You will need one extra ingredient, which is volcanic rock powder.
The crushed volcanic rock will help recreate their environment and provide many of the minerals required to grow. You can get volcanic rocks online, crush them with a hammer, and mix them into the soil. You will see amazing results!
Fertilizers are a source of nutrients for the plants that enable them to grow faster and give an increased yield. Coffee plants have a high requirement for nutrients. They need regular feeding, which is every two months.
One of the most common problems with not fertilizing is that the veins in leaves will turn yellow. This is due to an iron deficiency.
Using a high nitrogen fertilizer in combination with chelated iron is going to prevent the yellowing and modeling of leaves. The fertilizer you use should also be loaded with minerals, micronutrients, phosphorus, and potassium.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Coffee Beans?
A coffee plant takes at least three to four years to yield ripe coffee cherries, which are then harvested for beans.
Once you plant the seed, it will take a couple of months to germinate. If you monitor the growth of the coffee plant in a microclimate and water it properly, you will see the plant increase by inches for the first few months.
After a year, there will be a sudden growth spurt, and the plant can grow up to two to three feet. Although the plant will grow dramatically, it is still a ways away from flowering and bearing fruit.
It will keep branching out and, after about 3–4 years, you will see flowers blooming. These flowers have a very deep and complex scent. After eight months of flowering, the cherries will finally be ripe and ready to be harvested.
What Is The Lifespan Of A Coffee Tree?
An Arabica coffee plant can remain viable for 100 years. But it is the most productive between the ages of seven and twenty years.
It takes a coffee plant four years to yield its first crop. After that, depending on the variety of the coffee plant, you might even see an increase in its output. This will be affected by how well you prune and fertilize the plant.
Robusta coffee plants will also fruit after three to four years. And they continue to bear fruit for 20 to 30 years.
How Many Times Can You Harvest Coffee Beans?
The harvesting season for coffee plants lasts for two to three months as the cherries ripen, and usually there is at least one harvest per year. For countries north of the equator, the harvest season is from September to March. For countries south of the equator, it lasts from April to August.
In some countries, like Columbia, the climatic conditions allow two harvests in a year. Although the second harvest might not be as productive as the main crop.
The coffee cherries can be harvested either by stripping the plant, which means plucking both ripe and unripe cherries altogether, or by selective picking, which means handpicking the ripe cherries and leaving the unripe ones to mature.
Frequently Asked Questions
This FAQ section contains answers to the most commonly asked questions about growing coffee at home:
- What Are The Two Types Of Coffee?
The two main types of coffee are arabica and canephora, also known as robusta. The Arabica coffee plant is self-fertilizing, so it does not cross-pollinate. It is also the superior and most popular type of coffee. Coffee robusta, on the other hand, requires cross-pollination by wind and insects.
- Can You Grow Coffee In A Greenhouse?
In areas outside the tropical belt, temperatures may be too volatile and could hinder the growth of the plant. So, it is better to grow them in a greenhouse where you can regulate the sunlight, humidity, and temperature. It would be even better if you planted them under the shade of another tree or plant.
- How Much Coffee Do You Get From One Plant?
A healthy coffee plant will yield around 2000 coffee cherries after maturing per year. And each coffee cherry contains two beans. So you will get approximately 4000 coffee beans. You will end up with roughly one or two pounds of roasted coffee every year, which is why you should consider growing multiple coffee plants at once.