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How to Grow Coffee and What You Should Know about It

How to Grow Coffee and What You Should Know about It
How to Grow Coffee and What You Should Know about It

Coffee is a beverage that many people like. Some people even make drinking coffee their routine in the morning, hence the term “morning coffee.” Do you know that you can grow your own coffee at home? Growing coffee is certainly exciting and rewarding. Here we will tell you not just how to grow coffee but other related information as well.

About Coffee

There are things that you should know first before planting your first homegrown coffee. The first thing is how long does it take to grow coffee. If you plant from seed, it might take 8 to 10 years, which is quite a long time. Even if you are an avid coffee-lover, 8 to 10 years is still too long.

That is not the only way, fortunately. Ready-potted plants are widely available. You should be able to find them locally. If you can’t, buy them online. Either way, be aware of what you are buying. Unlike planting from seed, growing these potted plants will be ready to harvest in 3 to 4 years, which is a lot faster.

Other things you need to know is the plant grows best with hot temperatures (the ideal temperatures are between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit), nutrient-rich soil and well watering. If you live in a region where the temperatures change drastically, keep your coffee indoors. Take care of your coffee plant properly and you will be rewarded with desirable results.

Types

Alright, so how many coffee types are there? Well, there are many. And each of the types has its own unique characteristics. Two of the most common types are Coffea Robusta and Coffea Arabica. Regardless of the type, how to grow coffee is more or less the same. They all love the hot climate, nutrient-rich soil and well watering.

Let’s take Robusta and Arabica as examples. Robusta is known for its durability and toughness. Compared to Arabica, Robusta grows a lot faster. It is rich in caffeine as well.  Robusta, however, has a rather bitter flavor to it. If you like your coffee bitter, then Robusta is the ideal coffee type for you.

What about Arabica? Compared to Robusta, Arabica is less durable, more fickle and requires more attention. It takes longer to grow, too. Those are the downsides. The upsides? For starter, Arabica is well-known for its complexity and flavor is unmatched. Assuming the plant is prepared and taken care of properly, the coffee will have well-balanced sweetness, chocolate, nuttiness, and acidity. 

Growing

Okay, now we will tell you how to grow coffee. Assess the temperatures in the region where you reside. Do the temperatures change drastically with the season? As we mentioned earlier, temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for coffee. The temperature should not drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, either.

If the region where you live has the ideal temperature for coffee, you can plant outdoors. Otherwise, plant indoors. Although coffee plants do like hot and humid climates, direct and prolonged exposure to sunlight damages them rather than nourish them. So if you plant outdoors, planting them under a tree’s shade is a good idea.

If you plant indoors, place the plants close enough to a bright window. Don’t place it directly next to the window as sunlight might shrivel (or worse, burn) the leaves. If there aren’t any bright windows in the house, you can replicate sunlight with a full-spectrum light bulb or a timed fluorescent.

The next crucial thing on our how to grow coffee guide is watering. Regular watering is ideal for coffee. Water the soil so it is constantly damp. A quick and easy way to water the plant is by placing a potted plant in the kitchen sink and turn on the faucet. Saturate the pot with water and let it drain.

For the coffee plant to grow healthy and strong, it needs nutrient-rich soil. In other words, fertilization is needed. Water-soluble, micronutrient fertilizers are great options for the plant. The key is to fertilize the soil in moderation. So, be careful and avoid over-fertilizing or under-fertilizing it. Fertilize it just enough.

There are two ways and times for fertilization. The first is to fertilize every two weeks. This method should be done from March through October. The second is to fertilize once a month. This method should be done from November to February. If you see the edges of the leaves brown, reduce the fertilization frequency until they turn green.

As your coffee grows bigger and bigger, its roots will need more room to grow and spread. Consequently, you will need to move it into bigger and bigger containers. A full-size coffee plant can grow as high as 10 feet tall. During the first few years, you might not see your plant flower. That’s normal, don’t worry.

Remember, coffee plants take years to grow to maturity and bear fruit. Once a coffee plant reaches maturity, it will start to grow white flowers. These flowers are small and have jasmine- and citrus-like scents. The flowers will last for a few days before they wilt. After 1 to 2 months of fertilization, you should see the fruits growing.

The fruits or “cherries” will take about 8 or 9 months before they turn bright red and firm, which means they are ready to harvest. What you should know is that the cherries might ripe at different times. Some others might ripe at the same time. Some others might not. Keep your eyes on them and harvest the ripe ones.

Harvest

Harvest the Ripe Fruits
Harvest the Ripe Fruits

Now you know how to grow coffee. What about harvesting? Once the fruits turn bright red and firm, harvest them. Be sure to do it carefully so as not to disturb unripened fruits. After you harvest the ripe fruits, you need to roast them within 24 hours. Each fruit has two seeds, which after being roasted will become coffee beans.

You need to remove the seeds from the fruits. This removal process is known as pulping. Pulping is quite simple and direct. All you need to do is to squeeze the seeds out from each fruit one by one, using your hand. Although simple and direct, this can take hours to complete, depending on how much fruits you have.

But what if you have lots of fruits to pulp? In that case, you can put them all in a bucket. Then, using a piece of wood, smash the fruits. Keep smashing the fruits and don’t stop until all the seeds have been squeezed out. This pulping alternative should shorten the time needed to separate the fruits from the seeds.

Next, pour in water and stir. You should see the bad coffee beans, pulp, and skins floating to the top. Skim these out. Yes, including the beans as they are likely gone bad already. The good coffee beans, unlike the bad ones, will sink. After skimming is done thoroughly, drain the water and take the good beans.

Closing

What do you think? Since you now know how to grow coffee, you can start immediately. Remember, planting your own coffee takes time. Despite its long harvest, the joy of harvesting, roasting and making coffee you grow yourself will be more than enough pay off for all the patience and effort. Ready to grow your own coffee? Good luck!

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