Nothing sounds better than growing your coffee. It is an unmatched, eye-opening experience that will change your perception of coffee. Take it from me: once I started growing my own coffee, it was mind-blowing. It made me love coffee even more – if possible.
If you wish to turn this dream into a reality, you can do that by following a few easy steps. Remember, even if you didn’t plant anything your entire life (like me), a coffee tree is a perfect place to start.
Seeds or potted?
The way you want to grow your coffee is entirely up to you. Similar to any other plant, you might start with seeds and watch the way in which they grow into a tree.
Still, do bear in mind that this might test your patience. It might take up to years until you get to enjoy a cup of fresh coffee from your produce.
If you’re not patient, and you want to enjoy your coffee sooner than 8 years’ time, you should get one that has been started in a pot. That will develop plants in about 3-4 years.
Starting from scratch
If you want to start the growing process from scratch, you should begin with pre-germinating the seeds. In order to do that, you should soak them in water for about 24 hours.
Afterward, I advise you to scatter the soaked seeds, so that the excess of water would drain. The next step is planting the seed. We believe that a lightweight, porous soil is best in this case.
Still, ensure that you don’t press the soil down. Add ½ inch of mulched grass, as this will keep the surface moist. Make sure you remove it after the seeds have germinated, though. Water it daily but don’t overdo it. The soil should be kept moist, but it shouldn’t be drenched.
As for the length of the germination process, it varies by the age of the seeds.
In other words:
In the case of fresh seeds, the germination process lasts about two months. As for the old seeds, it may take up to six months. We recommend you to buy fresh seeds that originate from recent crops.
As soon as that happens, you might proceed with transferring the plant to a low pH soil that is rich in nitrogen. Now your patience will inevitably be tested. In three – four years you’re bound to see your soon-to-be coffee tree flower.
Coffee plant care
First things first:
Coffee trees are quite flexible. They are evergreen, which makes them suitable candidates for indoor beautification. Nonetheless, if you prefer, you could grow them into 3-4 feet tall bushes or trees. It’s entirely up to you.
Of course, it depends if your climate enables you to plant the trees outside. If not, keeping the plant indoors is a good practice.
In fact, choosing to maintain the plant indoors gives you better control of its environment. In this respect, make sure that it has about four hours of sunlight per day, at the very least.
The good news, however, is that it will survive with artificial lighting as well. The one condition is to give it space since it is prone to expand.
As for the temperature, it should be somewhere around 60 and 80 Fahrenheit degrees during the day. Ideally, it shouldn’t go below 45 Fahrenheit degrees at night. This is quite significant: exposing the coffee tree to cold will most likely destroy it. And God forbid that ever happens, right?
Moving on, coffee trees live on water. Still, they don’t appreciate being overly saturated. After drenching the plant, you should sprinkle the top a bit, similar to tropical rain showers. Attaining balance is crucial. Both too much and too little water could mean havoc on your plant. So make sure you find the right quantity for your tree.
In addition, make sure the water is a bit warm. Freezing water might kill your coffee plant.
At the beginning of winter, you should diminish the water quantity for about 2-3 months. As soon as spring begins, you may start watering the plant more, to generate the production of flowers.
- What about the soil?
It should be a tad acidic, having a pH balance between 4.2 and 6.0. Even though it’s not mandatory to use fertilizer, it certainly helps.
If you wish to use fertilizer, you should do so between March and October, every two weeks. The rest of the year, you should fertilize once a month. Also, a water-soluble fertilizer would work best, from our experience. You’ll be reaping the results of your hard work sooner than later.
The flowering phase
The flowering period lasts for a month or so. Believe me; the aromatic, sweet scent of the flowers will blow your mind. Also, since coffee is self-pollinating, you don’t need to worry about this aspect! Each dainty white flower will turn into fruit.
Harvesting and seed preparation
When the fruit turns red, this means that the beans have ripened – finally. Each berry should contain two beans. Take note that the berries will change color gradually and each at its own pace. That means you should pick the ripe ones only.
After carefully picking them, you should pull them by hand. Afterward, you should wash them. You may ferment the beans till the pulp eventually falls off. While they ferment, you can rub them in your hands.
Wash them again, and see whether some beans float or no. If they float, I’m sorry to bring this up to you, but they need to go.
The beans should present 20 percent moisture content. Only afterward can you proceed with drying them on a mesh.
- How do you know that?
By tasting one of the beans. You should notice the perfect combination between moist interior and hard exterior.
As soon as your beans are prepped, the next step is to roast them. What you should do is preheat the oven to 450 Fahrenheit degrees. Place the beans in a pan. Make sure they don’t overlap each other.
Allow the beans to roast for up to 20 minutes. This is, once again, a matter of preference. What type of roast do you prefer best? Depending on the answer to this question, you should adjust the cooking time.
Don’t worry if you’ll hear popping sounds – it is entirely normal. Due to their expansion, the beans might crack.
Although you might not be a pro when it comes to gardening, anyone can learn how to grow his/her own coffee. For example, we aren’t proficient in gardening, but with coffee trees, we did ok. By choosing to do so, you get the chance to enjoy the freshest cup of coffee ever – what can beat that?
The best part about growing your own coffee is that you don’t need to have a big yard for this because the coffee tree is a plant that thrives indoors as well.
So, what are you waiting for? Are you ready to start producing your own coffee at home? Please share your experience if you’ve already done it.
About the Author: Dennies John is the founder of DrippedCoffee who is a coffee geek and love to share what he know about this field. When he is not brewing coffee, you can see him cycling or swimming.