Plants may live on for 60 years. The
tree, if left alone will grow to a height of between 16
and 40 feet. In most coffee plantations the trees are kept
at a manageable six feet to get the best yield and to make
it easier to harvest.
The best growing conditions are in a
temperature range of 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees
Fahrenheit. Rainfall should be plentiful and the weather
should switch between heavy rainfall and sunshine to bring
the berries to full maturity. The type of soil is not too
important but good drainage is a must.
Coffee plants are fairly easy to grow in
the home as a potted specimen, which should be moved
outdoors for the summer if possible. They do best in
filtered sunlight, with night temperatures in the lower to
mid 60s and day temperatures of 70F or higher. Plant them
in any good commercial, fast draining potting soil . The
soil should be kept on the moist side, but never soggy.
Coffee plants will produce fruit without
any fertilizing whatsoever, but for best results and
maximum yield, they should be fed every 2 weeks from March
to October, and then monthly from November through
February. Use a soluble, all purpose (10-10-10)
Coffee is easily grown from seed though
starting off with a plant is of course much easier. If you
want to give it a shot, you can find coffee seeds at
The Seed Rack
(The Whatcom Seed Company)
near the bottom of the page.
If you prefer to start right off with a mature coffee
plant you can them at
→ The plants will grow to about 10 feet if given ample root
room, but can be pruned if this is too big for the
allotted space. Pruning may involve simple pinching to
produce a bushier plant, or you may go as far as cutting
it way back.... Right down to where only two branches near
the bottom are left on it.
of the coffee plant are red when they ripen in the
fall, with a sweet pulp surrounding the center coffee bean. Each coffee
berry has two beans. The coffee tree's fruit does not all
ripen at one time. In fact it will have blossoms and
berries in various stages of ripening. Only the ripe
berries can be picked. The berries cannot be picked when
green since they will not ripen once picked.
Once you have harvested sufficient beans
to brew your first pot of 'home grown' coffee, you will
have to roast them. There are many 'home type' roasters
available on the market, which do an excellent job of
evenly roasting your beans. Whether you are willing to
go to the expense of purchasing one of these is up to you.
It is possible to roast your own beans in the oven. This
method will tend to smoke up the house a bit, and the
smell of the burned off chaff will tend to linger in the
house for quite some time. The amount and size of beans,
as well as your altitude will make a difference in the
roasting process, so this is a 'live and learn process.
The beans should be placed in some form of
perforated container, such as a steel strainer or
vegetable steamer. Place them in a pre-heated, 250 degree
F. oven for about seven minutes. Then increase the oven
temperature to 450 degrees. In about ten minutes the beans
should begin to crackle. (This timing will depend on the
temperature, heat capacity of the oven, and the beans; so
keep an eye on them.) When the beans start crackling, mix
them up, to promote an even roast.
Check their color every two minutes until
they have achieved a color slightly lighter than the end
color which you desire. (As the beans cool, they will
continue roasting). When they have completely cooled,
store them in an air tight container in the
refrigerator...... or grind em, brew em and drink it all up!