How to Grow a Coffee Plant at Home
Nov 04, 2019
How much do you love coffee? The casual coffee drinker might frequent a cafe or even brew a pot at home occasionally, but if you're a coffee fanatic like our team members at Real Good Coffee Company, you know that your options for making great tasting coffee at home are endless. If you're interested in really enhancing your coffee making skills, go for the ultimate upgrade and grow your own coffee plant at home!
Can I Grow A Coffee Plant at Home?
You can grow your own coffee plant at home with a little patience and preparation. Read on to discover how to grow a coffee plant, how to care for it and how to know when the beans are ripe enough to pick, roast, grind and brew!
How to Grow a Coffee Plant at Home
Before you begin growing your coffee plant, you need to dedicate a space to it. Coffee plants can be grown indoors and outdoors, so you have options whether you live in a small apartment or have a sprawling backyard. If you choose to grow it inside, make sure not to put it in an area of direct sunlight, as it prefers diffused sunlight. If you attempt growing it outside, understand that these plants can become quite large, so it'll need enough space to grow without interference.
Most people suggest that you try to grow your coffee plant indoors instead of outdoors. Temperatures in regions other than the tropics may be too volatile for coffee plant growth. Varying humidity levels, cold weather, intense heat indexes and other seasonal changes may significantly deter the growth of your plant. Thankfully, it's relatively easy to give the plant the light, water and humidity necessary indoors to foster its growth for years. However, you can successfully grow it in a greenhouse, provided you regulate humidity, sunlight and temperature.
To start growing your own coffee plant at home, need to find seedlings, cherries or green coffee beans for an arabica coffee plant. The rare nursery may sell potted coffee plants, but these are difficult to find so you'll probably need to find freshly picked coffee cherries or green seeds. Keep in mind it's highly unlikely that you'll grow a coffee plant from a bean that's already been roasted. Once you've either extracted the beans from the cherry or purchased green coffee beans alone, you're ready to plant.
For your initial potting, you need the right soil. Consider how arabica coffee plants grow in their natural habitats — they are located in tropical, mountainous regions that receive high humidity and significant water. Your soil much be rich with nutrients and allow for the plant's roots to penetrate deep. A soil with a pH close to a 6 is ideal. You'll also need to ensure the plant has proper drainage — excess pooling water is not good for the plant.
As your plant grows, you'll need to get into a coffee plant care routine that fosters its healthy development. Water it enough so that the soil stays slightly moist — too dry or too wet of soil is not good for the plant. You can also use a pebble tray filled with water to help maintain humidity. Check the pH level of the fertilizer every few months and fertilize it when needed. Regular pruning is also helpful for its growth, which you could do every spring.
You'll need to repot your coffee plant as it grows, which is another step you can take in the springtime when it becomes taller than 2 feet. Initially, you'll want to perform your first repot when the plant grows about 8 inches high, then again when it nears 24 inches high approximately during its first full year. Make sure you're managing your repotting responsibly. The roots need room to thrive, however, putting too small of a plant in too large of a pot is not recommended.
How Long Will It Take for My Coffee Plant to Flower?
Not unlike other fruit-bearing plants, the process from coffee plant growth to fruit production will require a few years of work and patience. In fact, even after the plant has started producing cherries, it could still take a full year for the cherries to ripen after the plant has flowered. Although your individual plant may grow quicker or slower, you're looking at an average of three to four years before it begins to flower. The arabica coffee plant will produce white flowers that are star-shaped and scented.
After your plant begins to flower, it will begin producing green fruits. As the fruits mature, they will ripen from green to red to dark red over the next few months. Once the cherries are ripe enough, you can harvest them and remove the beans. One way to encourage flowering in your plant is to limit its water consumption during the winter then water it well in the spring to spur flower growth.
How Many Coffee Plants Do I Need to Grow My Own Coffee?
Who wouldn't love to brew up a batch of coffee beans that were grown and hand-picked right at home? We love the thought of having an entire coffee farm all to ourselves so we could experiment with different roasting and brewing techniques all day long! Unfortunately, many of us only have a limited amount of space for growing our coffee plants. So how many coffee plants are required to grow enough coffee to drink regularly?
Coffee plants can grow approximately 2,000 cherries — which ends up producing 4,000 beans — each year. This amount of beans can produce between one and two pounds of coffee after roasting. Think of how quickly you go through a two-pound bag of coffee. To grow enough beans for you to enjoy your coffee all year long, you'll likely need anywhere from 20 or more coffee plants just for your own coffee consumption needs!
Tips for Growing Your Own Coffee Plant
Although these plants are not native to North America, growing a coffee plant at home is possible if you provide it with the consistent nurturing it needs. If you've got a green thumb, growing a coffee may come easy to you. If you're a beginner, learning how to grow coffee in the best conditions possible might take a few tries. Here are a few additional tips we've gathered to help you succeed in your coffee-growing goals.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Check Your Plant for Signs of Disease
Pests aren't the only problem your coffee plant can encounter. Disease can also plague your plant and spread if not treated right away. Many of the first indications of disease show on the leaves. If you observe leaves changing color to brown or yellow, whether in spots or on the entire leaf, it's likely sick. Dried out leaves that fall from the tree or discolored wood beneath the bark are also signs of sickness. Check cherries for lesions and rotting.
5. Learn About Roasting, Grinding and Brewing Your Beans
Although some people enjoy simply growing the coffee plant, those who have a goal to brew their own beans should learn a little about the coffee-making process. The way your cup coffee tastes is significantly impacted by many factors, including roasting process, grind size, water to coffee ratio and brewing method. To discover what resources and steps you need to brew your perfect batch of coffee, read our informative guides found on our blog.
6. Don't Confuse Coffee Plants With the Kentucky Coffee Tree
The botanical name for the coffee plant is Coffea arabica, not to be confused with the Gymnocladus dioicus, also known as the Kentucky coffee tree. The Kentucky coffee tree is native to North America and does produce small brown seedpods. In fact, these pods were once roasted and ground into a drink similar to coffee many years ago. Unfortunately, it's still not the coffee we know and love. When shopping for a coffee plant, make sure you're getting a plant that actually produces coffee beans.
Coffee Plant FAQ
Whether you were born with a green thumb or you're new to the garden game, you've likely never tried growing your own coffee plant before. Many of our customers are curious about the coffee growing process and are interested in learning as much as possible. If you want to grow your own coffee tree, we want to help! We've gathered the answers for the most frequent questions we're asked when it comes to growing coffee at your own home, backyard, garden or farm.
1. 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.
2. How Do You Prune a Coffee Plant?
Coffee plant care includes pruning it when necessary. From initial planting through maturity, you always want to help manage and direct the plant's growth. Control its height and width by limiting new growth. For pruning, be sure to remove all dead branches and fallen leaves. A pair of sharp hand pruners will effectively cut through the branches with ease. Cut stems at a 45-degree angle slightly above the leaf axil. Don't worry if you make a mistake — coffee plants are resilient and will return to form if they're over-pruned.
3. How Fast Does a Coffee Plant Grow?
Coffee plants take many years to mature, sprout flowers and produce coffee beans. You should see an increase in inches within a few months, with the plant reaching a height of 2 feet after the first year. Although this may seem like a relatively quick growth spurt, always remember that it'll take additional years for the plant to flower and produce beans that are ready to pick.
4. 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.
5. How Much Does a Coffee Plant Yield?
Perhaps the most important question — how many cups of coffee will a coffee plant produce? Inside every cherry are two coffee beans. A coffee plant can produce an average of 4,000 beans per year or approximately one to two pounds of coffee. If you're truly serious about enjoying your own hand-grown coffee frequently, you should consider growing multiple coffee plants at once.
Are you ready to grow your own coffee plant? Watching coffee plant seeds grow into a thriving plant provides a great feeling of accomplishment. Anyone who cultivates this success gets two green thumbs up from our team. If you're only interested in grinding and brewing coffee beans, that's okay too! Real Good Coffee Company is here to provide you with high-quality 100% arabica beans, roasted and freshly packed in Seattle. All orders ship free of charge and are guaranteed to satisfy every coffee drinker in your home.
High-Quality Beans Delivered to Your Doorstep
From the first coffee plant seeds to the last sip in the bottom of the cup, the process of growing, harvesting and preparing each batch of coffee is a remarkable journey. We're proud to do our part in creating the best cup you've ever tasted by roasting only the best arabica whole beans available. Let us help you get your morning started the right way. Browse our inventory of Real Good Coffee beans or contact us today for more advice on brewing the perfect cup of coffee!