Types Of Coffee Plants
Arabica and RobustaArabicaRobusta
Arabica:The majority of coffee farmed and consumed throughout the world comes from the Arabica family because it produces a better-tasting coffee. The first-ever Arabica coffee bean plant was discovered in Ethiopia, which is where half of the worlds coffee production comes from. Arabica beans are known for high-quality flavors and aromas, with more complexity and sweetness detectable in the cup. 100% of The Roasteries coffees come from the Arabica family!
Robusta: These are smaller beans that have fewer sugar compounds, causing Robusta coffees to take on more earthy, bitter flavors and have more caffeine content. Robusta is also much easier to cultivate than Arabica, which is why they are a cheaper coffee bean. The low price point is why Robustas use is usually relegated to commercial-grade products, like instant coffee.
Harvesting The Coffee Beans
I know you are eager to taste coffee from your homegrown tree. However, you need to give it time. Coffee plants begin to bear fruits when they are 6 years old. But, youll wait for about 3 more years before you can get reliable, consistent yield from the crop. Cherries are picked when they are deep red in colour. In case you see them dropping off before they reach the deep red colour, this is a sign that the tree isnt mature yet.
How Tall Does A Coffee Plant Grow
Growing your own plants is an exciting hobby, regardless if you have a windowsill garden or a large plot of farmland outside. However, you must keep in mind that growing a coffee plant is a bit misleading especially since it can grow rather high. To appropriately plan how and where to grow a coffee tree, you should know how tall a coffee plant grows. Typically, a mature size coffee tree stands approximately 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Of course, individual trees may vary in height.
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Keep The Plant Away From Children And Pets
Coffee beans are delicious but every other part of the tree is toxic. Although you may not attempt to use the leaves or branches of the coffee plant in any type of food or drink preparation, small children and pets may not be aware of how dangerous this plant can be. If a child, dog, cat, horse or other animal were to ingest the leaves or branches, they could get sick or develop health issues. Of course, cherries can present a choking hazard as well.
How Often Should I Water My Coffee Plant
Depending on indoor and outdoor factors, you’ll need to adjust your watering methods as you would with any other type of plant. A good rule of thumb is to water it regularly, approximately once per week with 1/3 cup of water. The soil should stay moist but not be swimming in water. Keep an eye on your plant for signs of dehydration which include limp leaves. When in doubt, never overwater. Give it a little water to see if it perks up and adjust accordingly.
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How Are Coffee Beans Made: The Process Of Creation
Updated: October 9, 2021 by Owen Richardson
Coffee is undoubtedly one of the most popular beverages worldwide. So many people drink coffee or have at least tried it at some point in their life. But how many of us know how coffee beans are made and what they go through before they are ready for brewing?
It takes a lot of expertise to create coffee that tastes and smells great. In this primer, I will tell you the entire process of coffee growing, from the moment you plant the seeds to the moment you purchase the coffee from a store and take it home. You will learn why some branded coffees are so expensive but completely worth it and why the taste of coffee is not always the same within a brand and between different brands.
If you are still looking for your signature coffee taste, look into a company that practices sustainable, responsible growth and Fair Trade work and packages the coffee into eco-friendly packaging. All of this will help you drink your coffee in peace and with a clear conscience.
So if you are up for the task of learning how coffee beans are made from beginning to end, keep on reading. I bet that after reading all about the process, you will have a newfound appreciation for this drink that we all love yet take for granted!
Is There Anything Such As Sustainable And Green Coffee Farming
It takes a lot of land, coffee plants, water, and labor to supply the world with its daily fix of coffee. As with any type of agricultural growing, humans need to be stewards of the land and farm according to sustainable practices. Coffee is no different, and there is a new global awareness of the impact coffee growing has on the planet.
The first step in sustainable coffee farming is the production of organic Coffee Beans. These are coffee beans produced without the use of herbicides or pesticides. Not only is the environment being protected, but coffee consumers are getting the healthier product produced in an eco-friendly way. As a coffee lover, you ought to restrict your buying to organic beans. Make certain you are buying USDA-certified organic beans by checking out our Chamberlain Coffee Bags. We source all of our coffee from farms dedicated to sustainable growing practices.
Farms that grow coffee plants beneath a shade canopy, provide a thriving habitat for birdlife, reducing the need for herbicides and fertilizers, and promoting biodiversification. Shade-grown coffee is known for both sweetness and complexity.
Sustainable coffee farming uses less water than traditional farming practices. Organic matter, such as composted coffee pulp and fertilizers is spread under coffee plants reducing the amount of water required for irrigation. Also, water leftover from the cherry processing is recycled and used for coffee plant irrigation.
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How To Propagate Coffee Plants
While it may seem like the obvious method, you cant plant a roasted or green coffee bean and grow a coffee plant. The easiest way to grow a new coffee plant is to propagate one via stem cuttings. Here’s how to propagate your plant:
Step 1: Gather gardening shears or pruners, a small pot, fresh soil, powdered rooting hormone, a pencil or chopstick, a clear plastic bag, and a healthy, mature coffee plant.
Step 2: Fill a small pot with fresh soil moistened with water. Use the pencil or chopstick to poke a hole a few inches deep in the surface.
Step 3: Choose a straight, healthy stem a little under half an inch wide on the mother plant. The cutting should be about six inches long with at least two leaves. Snip off the stem with a diagonal cut.
Step 4: Remove the leaves from the bottom third of the cutting. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone, then plant the cutting in the hole. Gently pat the soil so that it stands up straight.
Step 5: Place the plastic bag over the cutting to hold in humidity. Insert the pencil or chopstick into the soil to hold the plastic bag away from the plant’s leaves. Place the cutting in a warm spot with bright, indirect light.
Step 6: Keep the soil around the cutting well moistened. Look for new leaves, which are a sign that the plant has rooted . When new growth has appeared, you can repot the plant into a slightly larger container and care for it as usual.
What Does A Coffee Plant Look Like
There are a few important coffee plant characteristics to take note of: Coffee plants have branches that are covered in dark green, waxy leaves that grow in pairs. These leaves are fundamentally important for the plant since that is where photosynthesis, the conversion of sunlight to chemical energy, happens. The energy produced from photosynthesis allows the plant to grow the delicious cherries that contain our coffee beans.
These branches are also where the coffee cherries grow. After about 3-5 years of growth, the plant will start flowering. Small, fragrant white blossoms will grow where the leaves and branches meet. These flowers house the plants sex cells and are what help the plants reproduce over time. About 6 weeks after the flowers are pollinated, the coffee cherry will develop where the flowers were located. These cherries will eventually turn red, orange, yellow, or pink, depending on the coffee varietal. In general coffee plants live between 30-40 years, though some can live over 80! These plants, technically considered a shrub, are pruned about once a year to keep them from growing too tall most farmers and harvesters prefer them to stay around 5-7 feet so theyre easier to maintain and harvest year over year. This height also allows them to avoid too much direct sunlight, which can negatively impact the plants growth. Here are a few other fun facts:
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Do Certain Plants Produce Decaf Coffee Beans
No, there are no coffee beans that are naturally free of caffeine. It is an intrinsic element of the plant species. Decaf coffee beans are created through decaffeination processes that occur before roasting the beans. While there are various processes you can use, the water-based soaking methods of removing caffeine are the most natural.
These methods extract the caffeine without removing the coffee flavors or adding unwanted chemicals to the beans. No decaffeinated process can remove all of the caffeine from the beans, but some methods can remove up to 99.9% of the caffeine.
How To Grow Coffee From Coffee Plant Seeds
Ideally, to grow coffee bean plants, you should start with a freshly picked coffee cherry, but most of us dont live in a coffee producing country, so this is a bit problematic. If, however, you do happen to reside in a coffee producing country, pick ripe coffee cherries by hand, pulp them, wash, and ferment in a container until the pulp flops off. After this, rewash, discarding any beans that float. Then dry the beans on a mesh screen in open, dry air, but not direct sun. The beans should be slightly soft and moist inside and dry on the outside bite into it to find out.
Since most of us dont live in a coffee-producing region, green coffee can be bought from a green coffee supplier. Make sure it is from a fresh, recent crop. Although the bean can be germinated for almost four months, surer results are had if fresh. You will probably want to plant many seeds to get one plant theyre kind of finicky. Fresh seeds germinate in 2 ½ months while older seeds take about 6 months.
When To Plant Coffee
You can grow coffee from seed, but I recommend buying a plant from your local nursery since it can take a few years before a seed grows into a plant mature enough to produce cherries the beans come from.
If youre planting outside, plant in spring when any threat of frost is over. Coffee prefers soil temperatures between 45-85°F.
Try to plant when the temperature is going to be consistent. Coffee is known to drop its leaves when temperatures fluctuate.
Where To Grow Your Coffee Plants
Out of all edible plants, Coffee plants have some of the lowest light needs but they still need to be in a very bright place that gets at least 4+ hours of direct sunshine. While you might be lucky enough to have a bright windowsill that works, most of us need to use a grow light . For an introduction to grow lights, head over to our post on grow lights for indoor gardeners. Weve also got a buying guide for screw in types, but to keep things simple in this guide, well just provide directions for the 24W Screw in Bulb by Sansi, which we think is a good middle-of-the-road option.
How bright should your grow light be?
Coffee plants need the equivalent of 4+ hours of direct sunlight to grow their best. In order to provide an equivalent amount with a grow light, it needs to be pretty bright! The 24W Sansi bulb should be placed 6 inches away from the top of the plant. This will give your PPFD of 500 mol/m²/s.
How many hours per day do your Coffee plants need under a grow light?
Coffee plants are known as short-day, meaning theyll develop faster if they sense over 12 hours of darkness. We want them to progress into flowering as soon as possible, so we recommend setting up a timer to leave it on for only 8 hours per day.
Coffee Plants Grow Faster in Warmer Temps
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Enjoy The Growing Not The Gathering
One mistake a lot of first-time produce growers make is assuming that once their plant grows, they’ll enjoy as much of its bounty as they want. Unfortunately, many plants, including the coffee plant, take years to grow and will only yield a limited amount of produce. When your plant flowers and produces cherries, it’s an exciting feeling. However, always remember that a single plant will only produce so much. Learn to enjoy the process and appreciate any amount of cherries you produce.
Harvesting The Coffee Cherries
Coffee growing is steeped in tradition, and the harvesting of coffee cherries hasnt changed much over the years. The ripened coffee cherries are picked by hand, or at least thats the case for good quality coffee beans. Coffee herries ready for harvesting are crimson red, while green, yellow, and black cherries must remain on the coffee plant for further maturation. An experienced picker knows the cherries to select, and that’s why the picking is done by hand. Large commercial operations will use machines for harvesting, stripping the coffee plant clean of cherries whether they are ripe or not, resulting in a poorer quality coffee yield. After hand-picking the cherries, workers check the cherries for blemishes and defects, reserving only the best cherries for processing. Because the coffee cherries mature at different times during the growing season, harvesting continues over a two or three-month period.
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Check For Signs Of Disease Or Pests
The last aspect of their care you need to handle is checking for signs of disease and pest infestation. Take a look at some of these signs that can indicate you have a problem.
- Growth has stopped
- Discolored wood
If you see any of these signs, there are a few things you can do. First, we recommend trying to slightly alter their watering and soil schedule. Just dont do anything too dramatic as it can cause further damage. Next, you can try a non-toxic pest control. If that doesnt work, you can go for a mildly toxic solution.
If you are truly worried about your plant, you can bring it to a nursery for care. They will have tests available that can help you determine the underlying problem.
Tips On Potting Your Coffee Tree
Your coffee plant should reach about 8 inches in the 4 inch pot before it is ready for repotting.
Once the plant reaches this size it is ready to spread its roots and grow. At this stage, the plant will require more nitrogen to support the trunk, leaves, and branches.
At this stage, the plant will require more nitrogen to support the trunk, leaves, and branches.
Repot in the spring into a 10 inch pot with one of the above soil mixes when the growing season starts.
In 12 to 18 months the plant should be approximately 24-36 and ready for stepping up into a 14- inch pot .
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Keep Pests Away From The Plant
It’s not uncommon for some houseplants to attract pests, and the coffee plant is no different. A variety of organisms may try to infest your plant, including mites, ants, white stem or coffee berry borers, leaf miners, scale insects, aphids and mealybugs. Although you want to rid the plant of pests, you want to do so in the least toxic way. Start with organic pest control solutions before moving on to mildly toxic options. You should preserve the natural health of your plant when possible.
How To Grow Coffee Plants From Unroasted Beans
Coffee is a shrubby evergreen plant that produces fragrant white flowers in early spring, followed by small oblong fruits called cherries, advises the University of Florida IFAS Extension. The cherries can take up to nine months to ripen to a red-purple color and often contain two coffee beans inside them. The beans are harvested to either produce more coffee plants or to roast, for making into the popular beverage coffee.
Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 10B through 11, coffee plants have a rounded growth habit, reaching 8 to 15 feet tall at maturity. Germinating coffee seeds and cultivating the plants can be done indoors under artificial lighting or you can grow coffee plants outdoors in sub-tropical regions.
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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.
Plant The Beans And Wait
Coffee beans take their time to come up.
Its a good idea to provide bottom heat if your temperatures are below 70. I used an inexpensive heat mat like this one.
As the trees usually start producing fruit in October and through December, fresh beans will be hard to grow in a temperate region of the Northern Hemisphere without some extra heat.
I would plant a seed tray of beans in North Florida in the winter and put the tray onto a large baking tray, then put a little water in the tray and set the entire thing on a heat mat in my office until the seeds emerged. Then, if its still cold outside, youll need some grow lights to keep them from getting spindly and dying. If outdoor conditions have warmed up, move them on to a sunny porch or, if not, put them next to a window where they can get sunlight.
Little coffee seedlings transplant easily and will grow quickly. They like plenty of fertility, so give them compost and a dilute fertilizer solution to make them happy. I was also able to germinate coffee beans in my greenhouse during the winter in little pots. They like warmth.
If your coffee trees are grown from early on in full sun, theyll be able to handle full sun. Just be careful not to take them from a shady location to full sun right away or theyll burn badly and may die.
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