You will learn how to grow a coffee plant from seed with this step by step guide that also advises the materials needed to carry it out. Most of us love the fragrant aroma and warmth a good cup of coffee brings. For many, it is the only way to start the day, and a cup of coffee will often be preferred over breakfast. There are many reasons why you may wish to know how to grow a coffee plant from seed.
Here are just a few of those reasons:
- The personal fun of growing a plant from seed.
- The chance you may get to roast your own coffee beans.
- The lush green leaves of the coffee plant will look in your home or conservatory.
- To give as a gift.
- To interest the children in nature.
There are problems with the dream of growing your own coffee beans:
Here are just a few of those reasons:
- You may not live in a humid enough environment.
- The temperature zone you live in may be too cold.
- Plant and insect problems may cause the plant to die.
- You may be too busy with work and family and forget to keep the plant watered.
- Children love to find out how fragile items are. Your coffee plant will be very fragile.
Sipping that first cup of hot coffee in the morning is enough to make one dream of fields of green coffee plants. After all, if you grow your own plants, you might never run out of your favorite rich beans, but is it really that simple?
While growing coffee beans might seem like the next evolutionary step for coffee lovers, the hard truth is that it is improbable you will ever get more than a single cup of fresh coffee from your plant. But don’t let that dampen your mood.
Lush, green coffee plants make great houseplants. They also happen to be easy to grow and can be a great project for beginners and a conversation piece for when the company stops by for a cup of fresh brew.
What you need to grow a coffee plant from seed:
Coffee seeds – You will need to ensure that the plant seed is good enough and suitable for growing. You may also wish to ensure the plant seed is confirmed organic and from a quality company or location, you are happy to deal with. Additionally, if you are importing the seed, you may wish to check with your customs department that it is legal to import from that location.
Vermiculite – on its own or mixed with the orchid potting mix, vermiculite is used to germinate seeds. The vermiculite will mean minimal watering is required. When vermiculite is used alone, seedlings should be fed with a weak fertilizer solution when the first true leaves appear.
Spray bottle: for ease with watering the seedling, a spray bottle or mister would be most advisable. You do not want to flood the seeds or seedlings.
Small plant pot with good drainage – start with a small pot and then increase the size as and when ready to do so.
Orchid potting mix – highly recommended for coffee plants. Used with the vermiculite, it will provide an excellent growing medium for the sprouted coffee bean seed.
When searching for coffee beans to grow, you cannot use a bean from store-bought coffees because those beans have been roasted and will no longer germinate. Instead, you will need to find a nursery or online seed dealer that sells the Arabica coffee plant’s seeds. Other types of coffee plants can be grown, such as the Robusta, but I believe the Arabica will work best for most of you, especially those new to growing plants.
Coffee seeds can take 2 to 6 months to germinate, depending on the seed’s age and type. Newer seeds will germinate in under 3 months, whereas older seeds take longer to get going and root themselves.
Plan to plant more than one seed because not all seeds will germinate. The seeds that do germinate will need to be placed in a separate pot and cannot be grown together due to competition.
Step by Step guide to growing a coffee plant from seed:
Starting the coffee plant growth:
The first thing you will need to do when you get your seeds is to soak them in untreated room temperature water for 24 hours. Next, drain the water out and plant the seeds in wet vermiculite.
As soon as the beans begin to germinate, remove them from the vermiculite and gently plant them in lightweight soil. The soil will need to be dark and rich with a pH of close to 6. Orchid potting mix has the best commercially made pH balanced soil for growing coffee plants.
Avoid pressing down the soil around the bean because this may stunt its growth or prevent it from growing and keeping the soil slightly moist but not soaking wet. A spray bottle full of water works best for watering the young plants.
The plant pot must have good drainage so that the water does not pool. If the pot you are using does not have enough drainage holes, drill more holes into the planter using a drill. Coffee plants do not like sitting in wet soil and can get sick if the soil is not properly drained.
Best Growing Environment
Now that the bean has sprouted, you will need to create the perfect living environment for your plant. First, it will need plenty of growing space. It will also need plenty of indirect sunlight. Coffee plants do not like direct sunlight, so keep it near a window but not directly under the sun.
In the outdoors, the coffee plant grows in the tropics, and it will need the right humidity levels in the home. You can meet this requirement by setting the plant on top of a tray filled with pebbles and water to maintain moisture in the air.
In the winter, keep the plant away from drafts because cold drafts could make the plant sick or kill it. The temperature must remain above 65 F (18 C), and the coffee plant will not survive freezing temperatures.
If the plant is grown outside in the garden, it will need space to grow because coffee plants can grow up to 6 feet tall, but it is suggested that unless you live in the tropics, coffee plants should be grown indoors because of temperature and humidity can be controlled.
Repot the plant after each foot of growth. You should report it at 1 ft, 2 ft, 3 ft, etc., to allow its roots to grow. You will need to add a fresh growing medium and remove the old medium without damaging roots. There is only a need to remove that which falls away easily, and there is no need to wash the roots.
Prune it once a year in the early spring and it will need an orchid fertilizer about once every three months.
Length Of Time Until Mature
Now comes the waiting game. It takes 3 to 5 years for a coffee plant to become fully mature. When it is ready, the flowers will bloom. If the plant is indoors, these blooms will need to be hand germinated. Eventually, cherries will form in place of the blossoms. Inside these cherries are the coffee beans, but don’t get too excited just yet. It will take a full year for these cherries to become ripe.
At first, the cherries will be green. In a few months, they will turn red, and eventually, they will change to dark red. Once the cherries are dark red, they are ready to be picked, and the coffee beans can be removed from inside them.
The coffee bean bush can live up to 70 years when given proper care
Growing Coffee Beans For Coffee Drinking:
Unless you own a large greenhouse or you own rich tropical land in Columbia, you are not likely to be able to grow enough coffee beans to keep you in caffeine for a year. At most, you might be able to brew one or two cups of coffee after a harvest. Regardless of this, the coffee plant will look wonderful, and you will have battled the challenges to keep the plant alive in an environment; it was not supposed to grow within. Pat yourself on the back for what you have achieved.
You would need to have at least 20 coffee plants to have enough coffee for just yourself for a year. On average, a single coffee plant will produce 4,000 beans a year and, after roasting, that will amount to a mere 1 to 2 pounds of coffee. [SOURCE]
Coffee Seeds From Online Seed Catalogs:
Here are a few of the many suppliers you can purchase your seed from:
- Eden Brothers
- Rare Exotic Seeds
- Outside Pride
- Reimer Seeds
- Tree Seeds
Roasting Fresh Coffee Beans – Tools Needed:
Presuming you will obtain coffee beans from your own plants, you will need to know how to roast them. I wish I could say I have managed to obtain some beans from personal plants.
Here are the down to earth basics needed for roasting:
- Cast iron skillet
- Baking sheet
- Wooden spoon
- Eye protection
- Oven mitts
- Metal storage container
- Coffee bean grinder
Whether you have reached the point where you can harvest coffee beans from your plant, or you just ordered fresh, green coffee beans from a reputable online dealer, you are now ready to roast your own coffee beans for the freshest pot of coffee you will ever taste.
Note: For every 2 pounds of green coffee beans, you will get about 1 pound of roasted beans for coffee making.
Coffee bean roasting method step by step guide:
To begin the roasting process, pour the beans into the skillet and set the heat on high. Continuously stir the beans with a wooden spoon and wear the oven mitts or protective gloves to protect your hands from the heat.
As the beans roast, they will turn from green to yellow to light brown. The beans will begin to make a cracking sound, and the husk of the raw beans will start to come off.
Blow the chaff away and pour the roasted beans onto a baking sheet. Allow the beans to cool for a few hours but don’t touch the beans at this time because they are baking hot, and you will burn yourself.
After the beans have cooled, you can transfer them to a container. Leave the lid off of the container for two days to allow the beans to breathe and settle.
When the two days have passed, the beans are ready to be used. Grind them and make yourself a pot of fresh coffee.
Fascinating Facts About Coffee:
The Acorns 2017 Money Matters Report says, “the average American spends roughly $1,100 a year on coffee.” [SOURCE]
Arabica and Robusta are the two most popular coffee plants. Robusta produces a bitter bean, but it has more caffeine than the Arabica bean, which produces a rich coffee.
A regular coffee cup has more caffeine in it than a tiny cup of espresso, so if you are looking for a caffeine jolt, stick with a regular cup of joe.
Brazil produces the most coffee in the world.
Lightly roasted coffee has more caffeine in it than medium and dark roasted coffee.
While the plant can be toxic to animals and small children, the coffee cherries can be eaten as food. The pulp from the cherries can also be used to make wine.
In the United States, only two states can grow coffee: Hawaii and California.
The average American will drink up to 11 pounds of coffee a year. Compare that to the average adult Finn who consumes 27.5 pounds of coffee a year. [SOURCE]
For people looking to quit drinking soda, coffee is a prominent replacement drink. It is loaded with caffeine, and one cup of plain coffee only has one calorie in it.
The world’s most famous composers loved their coffee. Ludwig van Beethoven was such a massive fan of coffee that he would brew his cup with 60 beans. Johann Sebastian Bach was so obsessed with coffee that he wrote the “Coffee Cantata.”
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