Growing Coffee FAQ: 19 Things to Know

Do you know how to grow coffee? If not, this blog post will provide you with all the information you need. It includes things like your climate zone, soil composition, and watering schedule. There are also sections about pests that might attack your plants and insects that help pollinate them.

You don’t want to miss out on this fascinating read!

How Long Does it Take to Grow Coffee?

Usually, it takes around 3-4 years for a coffee plant seedling to fully root and begin producing mature amounts of coffee fruit. Coffee that’s grown in cooler climates could take even longer than this.

Can I Grow Coffee at Home?

While you can indeed grow coffee at home, you’re going to need to provide a temperature-controlled environment for it. Coffee plants don’t like frost, which means they should thrive indoors or in some southern US states.

What Is Needed to Grow Coffee?

Low pH soil and plenty of moderate 10-10-10 fertilizer can help to dramatically increase the chances of any given plant thriving quicker than normally. You’ll also need to provide plenty of water and shield them from excessive sunlight.

Can You Grow Coffee in the US?

While you can grow coffee in the US, you’ll want to check the USDA’s Plant Hardiness maps to make sure your area is free enough of frost to grow it. Growers in Hawai’i have long been able to productively grow coffee.

Do Coffee Plants Smell Like Coffee?

Though coffee plants do smell like coffee to at least some degree, they’re not roasted so the smell is much fresher and greener than that of brewed coffee. They have a somewhat distinctive smell, but it certainly isn’t as strong as the smell of coffee that you just make in the kitchen.

How Much Coffee Can One Tree Produce?

Mature adult coffee plants will usually produce just under a pound of bulk coffee each year. That translates into enough coffee to make 45 cups of coffee assuming that they’re six fluid ounces each.

You’ll usually see similar numbers as far as berries go, with some plants producing twice that number.

Why Do Coffee Plants Turn Yellow? Should I Remove Yellow Leaves?

Dryness is probably the biggest cause of leaves turning yellow, but they might also if the roots get burned with too much fertilizer. You’ll only want to remove them if they’ve started to curl up.

How Long Do Coffee Trees Live?

Full-scale commercial farmers will often say that these plants live 7-20 years long, but that just tends to be the most productive portion of their lives. Some reports claim that coffee plants could live over 100 years old if they’re never uprooted.

How Big Does a Coffee Plant Get?

Properly cared for coffee plants can grow as large as 6-7 feet, though some grown in greenhouses have exceeded even that size. It depends on how much moisture they’re given because they tend to be averse to dryness.

Is Coffee Farming Profitable?

Commercial operations usually focus on either producing high-end coffee, where margins are the highest or low-end coffee that they can save on through economics of scale. Smaller farmers usually only find it considerably profitable if they focus on the high-end market exclusively and promote their products as boutique-quality brands.

What Type of Soil Does Coffee Need to Grow?

Moist soil that has a lower pH is usually the best for coffee. It tends to be a finicky plant and may not even be able to root if someone tries to grow it in something too far outside of this specific metric.

Can Coffee Grow in Cold Climates?

Those who plant coffee in cooler climates will often find that it grows well for part of the year before suddenly hibernating and potentially dying off later on. Individuals who are serious about growing coffee in cooler areas will want to find some way to transfer the plants indoors for part of the year.

Why Is Coffee Not Grown in the US?

Labor costs are, unfortunately, one of the big reasons that coffee isn’t grown in the US as well as climate. Economics and consumer demand to keep prices down have hurt the prospects of many US farmers.

How Do You Care for a Coffee Plant?

Providing the plant with plenty of water is probably the most important thing. The soil pH shouldn’t get too high, either, because they can’t thrive in alkaline soils at all.

How Much Sun Does a Coffee Plant Need?

Two to three hours of sunlight should prove sufficient for growing coffee. While they certainly like heat, too much sun can dry out the plants.

Where Can Coffee Trees Grow?

Coffee trees of most domestic varieties can grow in any area where the soil conditions are right for them and there’s enough moisture. They don’t like places without enough water.

What Is the Best Fertilizer for Coffee?

Orchid fertilizers tend to be the best, but any 10-10-10 mix should do the trick. You want something that can lower the overall pH of the soil to make the ground suitable for the trees.

Coffee trees need a different amount of fertilizer at different points in their lives:

  • Seedling plants – 50-100mL of weak liquid fertilizer every two weeks
  • Rooting plants – 100-150mL of weak liquid fertilizer each week or two
  • 1-2 year old trees – 800kg/ha per year split up over growing season
  • Mature 4+ year old trees – 500-1,000 kg/ha per year over growing season
  • Fully grown trees – 90kg/ha of nitrogen annually, split up over many weeks

How Do You Tell If You Are Over Watering or Under Watering?

Regardless of whether you’re over or under watering your coffee plants, you’ll start to notice the leaves start to turn yellow. While there are several other reasons this might happen, you’ll want to take a look at the soil and see how spongy it is when you first notice this.

How Often Should I Water a Coffee Plant?

There’s no hard and fast rule like there might be with other plants. Do a test with your finger and see if the soil needs a little extra water or not.

Some types of domesticated coffee might come with care instructions, but even in these cases, you’ll want to pay attention to how the soil feels because they’re not always right for all situations.