How Many Coffee Trees Should You Plant to Get Your Daily Java Fix?

Whether you live so far off the grid, you could win awards for your composting skills and solar panel savvy or you’re just an unabashed coffee snob whose appetite for an excellent cup goes beyond the ordinary, figuring out how many coffee plants you would need to take care of your daily fix is serious business.

We can help make you an expert on the subject – whether or not you intend to share the wealth once harvest time arrives at your plantation and neighbors get a whiff of the aroma emanating from your abode.

How many coffee plants will you need to cover your daily use?
Just between friends, how many cups of coffee do you drink each day? If you’re like most Americans, you drink 3 cups, so allow us to do the math for you: Our estimate is that you can anticipate a pound of roasted coffee beans per plant, per annum. Factor in roasting (beans lose up to 17.5-percent of weight) and yield around 13.2 ounces of roasted beans from a pound of green coffee beans.

Bottom line is that if you’re like the rest of us, you consume about 24 ounces per day. Multiply that by 365 and you wind up consuming 8,760 ounces a year or 730 cups. Some growers say it takes 33 mature plants to satisfy their daily craving while others say 18 will do the job nicely. Aim for 18. You can always add more.

Worldwide consumption – where do you rank?
Having already hit you with enough numbers to send you running to your percolator, it’s fun to know where the entire planet stands in terms of coffee consumption. The biggest coffee hounds live in Scandinavia. Finns consume 26.5 pounds annually, Norwegians devour 22 pounds, Icelanders drink nearly 20 pounds and Danes guzzle about 19 pounds.

In the Netherlands and Sweden, between 18 and 18.5 pounds are needed to satisfy each nation’s need for java while the Swiss and Belgians consume between 17 and 14 pounds. Folks in Luxembourg and Canada round out our top 10 list, devouring between 13 and 14 pounds annually. In the U.S., we should probably be calmer since we drink nearly three times less than those Finns: Just 10.3 pounds annually!

How many pounds of coffee does each tree produce?
A healthy, mature coffee plant is capable of producing an annual yield of between 1 and 2 pounds of roasted coffee. In order to wind up with this amount, every tree will be required to output around 2,000 cherries. Follow this logic and you are likely to agree that the annual output from your 18 coffee trees should do the job once they are all in full production mode.

Is coffee yield impacted by indoor, outdoor or greenhouse gardening?
There are so many variables involved with determining whether yield is likely to be higher indoors, outdoors or in a greenhouse that declaring just one of the three to be most productive is a fool’s errand. External temperatures can’t be controlled as well as interior temperatures in either a house or a greenhouse.

Because lighting systems rigged in either of the last two are capable of pushing plants to maturity faster, it’s important to factor all environmental factors into the equation. Even if you live in a tropical zone, there are no guarantees that changing global weather patterns won’t interfere with the amount of your yield.

Can you grow coffee in your yard? How labor-intensive is the process?
You can do anything you set your mind to, but coffee growing success literally depends upon where your back yard happens to be located. Do you live in a tropical weather zone? If so, the answer is yes. If you live in Alaska, you’ll need a greenhouse to do the job – but assuming your passion for coffee, no effort is too extreme.

That stated, if you’re creative, your back yard is out and a greenhouse isn’t feasible either, you can still cultivate coffee indoors if you’re willing to devote space in your home to your garden. Rig up an artificial plant lighting system and your coffee plants can thrive with plenty of TLC.

How often should you water coffee plants?
If you’re growing inside your home, regular watering is essential, and you can count on your coffee trees to let you know that they’re thirsty because they will droop. Keep soil moist but avoid allowing the roots to get waterlogged by draining excess water. Enlist the services of a humidifier so your indoor plants thrive.

If you’re growing your coffee plants outside in a temperate zone, experts recommend watering plants twice a week using a full watering/half watering schedule. On the day you do your full watering, don’t drown plants but do water thoroughly. On the alternate day, a half-watering should keep the soil moist and well drained.

Growing coffee plants in a greenhouse gives you the ultimate control over how much water plants receive. Keep the soil moist but not soggy and if you are up for installing a misting system capable of delivering the equivalent of natural rainfall, your coffee plants would send you thank you notes if they could write.

How long will it take for your coffee plant to grow
This journey is not an ideal undertaking for impatient people because even if you indulge your coffee plants with all of the love you have to offer – temperature control, watering, re-potting, fertilizing and anything else required to keep plants on their grow path — this isn’t your ordinary gardening challenge.

Need a ballpark? It should take between 3 and 5 years to see the results of your effort. That stated, healthy coffee plants can grow to be 6-feet tall, so while you wait, you have the pleasure of watching your plant grow tall while you wait for that first cup of home-grown coffee.