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Coffee anyone?

Coffee anyone?

For a northern summer you guys are quiet!
So I thought I'd ask about another of my pet projects - coffee

My first plant had 4 beans on it last year, this year there are dozens of developing fruit.
The first 4 beans I replanted (rather than make 1/4 cup of coffee) and on checking, one at least is germinating.

Has anyone tried growing coffee? I'm surprised that it can take the cold quite well, at least down to 0C.
I'm determined to pick, wash, roast, grind and brew at least one cup of coffee at some stage, and it could be next summer.

I'm also growing tea, but this is a romp in the park compared to getting coffee beans.

I've done a bit of reading and it seems anyone can go to their local barista roasting house and ask for green beans from a very highland area (Cloudforest?) and provided these are relatively fresh, they should germinate.
One of you coffee-drinking nationals must have tried this?

The following thread was started by Nigel(NZ) on June 26, 2006 at 2:07 pm PST

Funny that you mentioned that...

Coffee trees are sold as 4 inch house plants around here.... but I haven't seen anyone outside of SoCal attempting to grow them for the beans.
2 Years ago, I bought a 1 gal - 2 ft tall Coffee plant and planted it in my most protected spot in a semi shady part of my garden.
It put on about 2 ft the first summer... then died mid winter... in the absence of frost or freezing weather... my theory was that our soil was too cold.

Then last summer, I bought a couple of those 4 inch house plant coffee trees bare rooted them and put them into the ground... one in a shady place... one in full sun.
Both made it through the winter no problem.... the one in the full sun had a little sunburn on the leaves mid spring.... but has since been pushing out lots of new growth and it isn't getting sun burn't.... even with our full sun and 106f degree temps.
Who knows... maybe in a couple of years I'll be able to brew my own coffee?


The above followup was added by Jeff on June 26, 2006 at 2:20 pm PST.

my cup of cofee

I had a plant I took home from the nursery, it was growing on the side of my house, complete shade except for some winter sun through a dormant magnolia in winter. I had it for a couple of years but it was growing slowly so I yanked it. But the last summer I had it it bloomed and had a few fruits. I watched these carefully and harvested them one by one when they were orange red. Then I peeled the skins off and shelled out the cream colored beans, put them in a plastic bag, and forgot about them.

Then I found them last year, after we moved in following the remodel ("The Troubles") moved them to a drawer in the kitchen, and forgot about them.

I found them last month and they were still the same as when I picked them. So I put them in a teflon pan, turned the flame on as low as it could go, covered them, and walked off and forgot about them.

The smell of roasting./burning coffee brought me to my senses, and I think I roasted them a tad too long, but I ground them up, made about a heaping tablespoon of ground coffee, and I brewed exactly half a cup, trying to make sure I didn't water it down too much.

And the result was . . . . . not bad, not bad at all! In fact, not too much different from the strong Santa Cruz Roasting Company Sweet Italian we have every morning. I was pleasantly surprised!

So give it a try if you are inclined. If I can grow decent beans in heat-challenged Santa Cruz, think what you could do in an area with a decent summer. I think avoidance of cold/wet is good, though I may have an idea for a way around that. I will let you know if it works.


The above followup was added by Luen on June 26, 2006 at 3:02 pm PST.

Coffee maniacs

Here, we are coffee drinking manics, but coffee
plants are rare.

I am growing a few seedlings and they are doing
fine, although they are a bit too slow for my taste.
For an energetic food they sure could be a little speedier. Nice looking plants, though.

The above followup was added by abiu(.pt) on June 26, 2006 at 3:37 pm PST.

Coffe Plants Melbourne

I have two coffee plants, both now three years old. I bought them when they were about a year old and 15 inches high. I initially grew both in pots but transplanted one into a semi shaded position in the ground last spring.

They both ara now about 4 foot high. The one in the ground has approx 100 green beans developing, whilst the one left in the pot has a couple of hundred. We don't experience much in the way of frosts here so hopefully the beans will continue to rippen.

The one which was left in the pot gets a little more sun and seems slightly healthier and bushier. They have done well with a high nitrogen fertilizer.

I would think the cold would be more of a concern that the heat.

I have heard that the ripe berries themselves are edible. Anyone tried eating one?

The above followup was added by David Johnson - Melbourne on June 26, 2006 at 3:59 pm PST.

Availability of 4" Coffee Plants


Where have you found those small coffee plants for sale, and (roughly) how much do they cost?

I put a small plant in the ground last year, in one of the most sheltered locations in my garden. It made it throught the (mild) winter just fine, although I did have it covered with a glass cloche. However, it now seems to be declining and dying (there seems to be something wrong with the roots), so I think that I'll probably have to replace it.

The above followup was added by Ashok on June 26, 2006 at 5:17 pm PST.

Coffee berries

I tried the berries David, they're quite pleasant in a sweet sort of way. Apparently it was originally the berries that were used as a beverage, the beans were discarded.

Changed a bit now!

Those of you with harder winters could look for the 'robusta' species (Aribica is the commonly grown 'quality' coffee) some blends and brands use Robusta to add body and depth to blends but they are considered to be inferior (all tastes brown to me!). Robusta are hardier though, as the name suggests, and if you find green robusta beans they should still do well in frosts.

Possibly a fresh roast robusta tastes as good as a refined decafe arabica dribbled as dry crystals out of a foil sachet?

The above followup was added by Nigel(NZ) on June 26, 2006 at 6:02 pm PST.

4 inchers

Home Depot, Lowes and Orchard supply sometimes have them in the Misc. houseplant area... I think I paid about $1.99.


The above followup was added by ff on June 27, 2006 at 0:21 am PST.


I think all the plants sold as houseplants are robustas. Easier to grow. And supposedly French and Italian roast are made from robusta beans.

The flesh of the berries tasted sweet, but I wasn't sure of edibility so I didn't taste too much. They weren't great, just sort of sweet. No real distinctive flavor. And lots of unknown alkaloids/glucosides in that family.

And really Nigel, four beans for a quarter cup of coffee? I guess you make it different down there!


The above followup was added by Luen on June 27, 2006 at 8:57 am PST.

Ignorance disclosed

Luen, you're right, I have no idea how many beans go into a cup of coffee - even a demitasse cup!

As a primary tea drinker, my experience of coffee grinding is limited to a 'handful of those fill the plunger to about there'.

Your experience would be welcome.

The above followup was added by Nigel(NZ) on June 27, 2006 at 2:45 pm PST.

bean counter

I came up with about 80 beans per scoop, about one and a half to two scoops per large cup.

Your mileage may vary.


The above followup was added by Luen on June 28, 2006 at 8:58 am PST.

Inexpensive Coffee Plants

Per Jeff's advice, I stopped off at Orchard Supply Hardware today ... sure enough, in the houseplant section, there were coffee plants for sale.

Each pot actually had multiple small seedlings in it -- I picked out one that had five, and I'm hoping that they will be reasonably easy to separate.

The pot of seedlings cost $2.50 -- just my price! (Yes, I'm cheap ...)

According to the tag, the seedlings are of the "catura" strain. A quick web-search revealed that this is a dwarf type of C. arabica. According to TradeWind Seeds, these plants can attain a maximum size of about eight feet tall. (Under ideal conditions, obviously!)

The above followup was added by Ashok on June 28, 2006 at 8:44 pm PST.

Good to hear!

Now... the question is.... do the grow better if you seperate the plants and plant them as singles?

I just planted the clump whole.... now I have a 3 ft tall bush, with many trunks.

BTW... you can find multiples of King palms the same way.... just go looking in the house plant dept at your local supermarket.... look carefully as they will sometimes throw magestic palm seed into a 4 inch pot and call it a house plant as well..... hard to tell the difference when young.

A cheap way of growing Kings as they seperate easy at a small size.


The above followup was added by Jeff on June 29, 2006 at 3:58 am PST.

Seedlings -- Separate or grow in clump?


I'm thinking of separating the seedlings just because I would like to trial multiple plants in multiple garden locations. I'm hoping to find that perfect spot that has a (reasonably) suitable microclimate.

But if you like having a clump with multiple trunks, I see no harm in that. I have a number of pomegranite bushes that I've started from cuttings, and I think that several of the clumps are actually multiple plants -- i.e., there were multiple rooted cuttings in the orginal propagation pots.

Now, if you wanted to train a plant (coffee, pomegranite, or whatever) into a tree form with one trunk, it obviously would be necessary to separate or pull excess seedlings or cuttings.

The above followup was added by Ashok on June 29, 2006 at 4:48 pm PST.

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