Coffee is a word that grabs people’s attention like no other. Why is the word so alluring? Probably because it makes people think about the gift of the world’s best caffeinated beverage that can be served warm or cold. And Coffee Plants are the source.
The people who get it, really get it. They love it, want it, and need it almost on a daily basis. Some coffee lovers can hardly open their eyes until they have their first cup of Joe. And now there’s a new way to get the freshest coffee possible. With Coffee Plants, you can grow your own beans!
Coffee is like a hug in a mug
— American Darling (@Nautical_Prep) October 14, 2014
Coffee Plants: The Facts
Coffee Plants, or ‘Coffee Arabica’, are easy-to-grow evergreen shrubs. They’re recommended for growing zones 9 to 11 outdoors and 4 to 11 indoors. If planted outdoors, this shrub can get 3 feet wide and 6 feet tall. That’s large enough to make a privacy hedge!
When most people think about Coffee Plants, they probably think about warm tropical locations. That type of thinking is correct: most coffee is grown in warmer climates because the plant can only withstand cold temperatures down to 45 degrees. If you live in an area that gets colder than that, container-plant yours and bring it indoors. It thrives in a pot!
But the dark green, glossy leaves on the Coffee Plant will make any yard pop, and brighten up any room. Especially when it sports white flowers that smell sweet, like jasmine. Coffee cherries, the fruit that Coffee Plants produce, will provide you with color as well. They start off green, fade to yellow, and then turn orange, and end up being a deep, dark red.
Care for the Coffee Plant
Coffee plants are very hardy and easy to care for, even as indoor plants. They make an excellent choice for beginners and an option that shouldn’t be passed up by advanced gardeners. Plant yours in an area that receives partial shade – Coffee Plants enjoy indirect sunlight. And they do great planted under other trees where they receive dappled sunlight. Potted Coffee Plants will enjoy being placed by a window to receive indirect sunlight.
The soil for your Coffee Plants should have a slightly acidic pH, between 4.2 and 6.0. The soil should also be well draining. A loamy sandy soil will work best. If your soil is heavy with clay, consider adding some fine potting mix to improve drainage. Coffee Plants often don’t require any fertilizer, but you can give your plant a boost with a general purpose fertilizer, like 10-10-10, early every spring and fall.
Keep your soil moist, but not oversaturated. Check your soil every few days and give your plant warm water once you feel that the top of the soil is drying out. Cold water may shock your plant’s system, and warm water will make it feel like it’s at home in the tropics. Make sure that your pot has holes drilled in the bottom in order to give proper drainage, and when watering, give it water until you notice liquid draining from the bottom of your pot.
When Coffee Plants bloom in the spring, they flower for a little over a month. The blooms are pollinated over time, meaning the coffee cherries will mature at different rates. The coffee cherries aren’t ready to be picked until they turn a dark red color. Once your harvest time rolls around, check on your cherries every 8 to 10 days. The coffee beans are actually the seeds inside of the cherries, and there are a few steps to take before you can use them to make a brew.
Once you’ve harvested all of your dark red cherries, squeeze them and two little coffee beans will emerge. These beans will need to sit in water for 12 to 24 hours, and in some cases, the beans need to sit in water for two days. The pulp of fruit will float to the top, and your beans will sink to the bottom. Once this happens, remove your beans from the water so they can dry. Your beans can dry the all-natural way in the sunshine for about 10 days, or you can place them in a food dehydrator for a few days. Once they’ve dried, the outer hull will need to be removed from the skin.
After your beans have dried and their hulls have been removed, they need to be roasted. You can roast your beans by preheating your oven to 450 degrees and placing the beans on a sheet-lined pan. Make sure your beans aren’t touching or overlapping. This process usually takes 15 to 20 minutes, but you should keep an eye on your beans to determine what type of roast that you want.
Once your beans go from green to light brown, you’ll have a light and sour roast. As the beans get darker, their flavor changes. Dark brown beans provide a full-bodied, sweet, espresso flavor. Be careful not to cook your beans too long. Once they’re a shade of dark brown, almost black, remove them from your oven.
Don’t be alarmed if you hear popping sounds while roasting your beans. The beans will expand and crack while they’re roasting. They’ll crack twice as the temperature increases and as they get darker.
Enjoy Home-Grown Brew
Best of all, coffee is packed with antioxidants and nutrients that benefits our over-all health. By growing your own coffee beans, you’ll get the freshest, best tasting coffee that you’ve ever had. And Coffee Plants are easy to grow, indoors and out, and will provide you with beautiful blooms similar to jasmine blooms. This plant is a unique head turner! Even if you don’t drink coffee, chances are that you can think of someone close to you who is all about the java.