Fruit Trees

Growing Your Own Coffee

Growing Your Own CoffeeIs it just me or have Australians suddenly gone coffee crazy? Most fanatics like myself consider ourselves the budding barista able to detect which beans make the perfect coffee. What most Australians probably don't realise is that Queensland and NSW with our tropical warm climates have almost Coffee Plantperfect conditions for:

Growing your Own Coffee Plant
Growing between 1 to 2 meters with fragrant white flowers in Summer. Then between June and August plenty of bright red berries each containing 2 coffee beans are ready for picking.

Coffee Plants Indoors
With a bit of sunlight you can grow coffee indoors they are extremely ornamental. Have you grown coffee plants?

Learn More
Coffee Plants for Australia
Eureka Coffee in Byron Bay

29 comments:

  1. I have three Arabica coffee plants with fruit ready to pick.
    From what I have been told, you pick the red fruit, soak for 24hrs in water, dehusk & then leave to dry before roasting.
    Anyone experienced in the roasting technique, eg suggested temperature & time etc?

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  2. Hi,

    We've moved to a property that has 30 coffee plants and we have started harvesting and processing them.

    We pop them out of the red outer layer within 24 hours of picking. They are then soaked in water for up to 48 hours to ferment. The slippery beans will get a grainy coating. When they feel grainy, wash them out a few times and put in the sun in a thin layer to start the drying process. After a few days (depending where you live), 5-30 days (it doesn't take long here on the Sunshine Coast) the husks will start to split - they will then come away easily and reveal the little inner bean, they expand when they are roasted. This will have a papery covering, which you don't need to remove, it will not affect the coffee.

    Leave these to dry in the sun. They are ready to be roasted when you can bite into them and don't leave a dent.

    They are then ready for roasting in your kitchen oven. 200 -230 degrees until they are all the same colour - you can vary the depth, but keep an eye on them. Could take as little as 20 minutes to roast a thin layer but will take longer if you have a thicker layer - up to an inch. Give them a stir during the roasting process to roast then evenly.

    We then grind them in a mortar and pestle. The ground coffee can be stored in the fridge, or the unroasted bean can be stored in airtight jars ready for roasting.

    The DPI have more detailed info on how to process coffee at home - it tastes great and it's nice to know you have grown it.

    Good luck,
    Sonya

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  3. Wow, This is great information Sonya.

    Have you had any luck growing the coffee plants in pots for people like myself who live in the city?

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  4. Hi,

    No I haven't tried them in pots. Ours are part of a permaculture food forest.

    I'm sure someone will know - if not, just give it a try.

    Cheers,

    Sonya

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  5. Hi Sonya,

    You say you are on the Sunshine Coast (assuming this is QLD). Do you know if they will grow around the Kenilworth area, which is in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast? Some winters we do get frosts on our property though.

    Your thoughts and comments are appreciated.

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  6. Hi anonymous at Kenilworth!, (I'm at Eudlo)

    I believe coffee plants are frost sensitive, so it may be a problem - is anyone else growing them near you?

    I know of a coffee plantation at Maleny - I don't know if they suffer from frosts - they are called Fig Tree coffee.

    At our property we don't get frosts but some of the plants suffered when our pioneer plants died and let too much sun through. The leaves turned yellow although the berries didn't suffer.

    If we could get an answer about coffee plants in pots you may be able to grow them like that.

    If you can grow them and enjoy coffee they are certainly worth it.

    Cheers,
    Sonya

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  7. Forgot to mention - IMPORTANT POINT - when you 'pop' the beans out of their red casing and put them in water to ferment, you need to discard the floating ones - they are no good.

    Cheers,
    Sonya.

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  8. Hi Sonya,

    How many kilos of beans would you get from your 30 plants?

    Im considering planting a permaculture garden and just need an idea of the volume i can expect generally.

    Thanks
    Chris

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  9. Hi Chris,

    The previous owner of our property, who set the coffee plants up, calculated 30 plants to supply two people with a morning coffee throughout the year. We haven't gone through a complete annual cycle yet to test this theory, but we do have a LOT of coffee beans, so it looks right.

    Sonya.

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  10. what are the possible health problems of coffee and caffeine?

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  11. Hi,

    I have three coffeeplants, given to me by a patient but they don't grow very well in my garden .
    Do they need alot of light/water?

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  12. Where are you from Manon. They do like a lot of Sun.

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  13. I have three cropping arabica trees, now 5yrs old growing in frost free conditions, north of Coffs Harbour, NSW north coast.
    They are growing in full sun & have done it tough during years of drought in their first 4yrs.
    They received very little help from me except mulching, but I'm sure would have enjoyed more water.
    They are about 2m tall.
    I've had no pests or problems of any kind.
    I'm currently experimenting with processing & roasting.
    Plenty of sites on Google for helpful hints, but not as easy as buying from the supermarket!

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  14. Hello

    I've had mine in pot for just over a year. It's not doing that well, losing a lot of leaves. I'm in McLaren Vale, South Australia and live on a really windy hillside - no frost but perhaps a bit drafty?

    I've had mine under a shadehouse/pergola with my tropical plants but I'm wondering whether it actually needs more sun after reading some of these comments so I might move it and see what happens.

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  15. They don't like wind but they love a lot of sun and definitely a bit of fertiliser.

    I have just taken a few cuttings from my K7 Coffee Plant using some Plant cutting powder - Take Root to make a few more coffe plants. After Sonya above telling us that you need 30 plants for 2 people I figure I better get some more coming along.

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  16. I have a coffee tree i have grown in large pot which is doing very well apart from some small white powdery type spots on one or two of the stems. Can anyone tell me what this might be?

    lillian.

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  17. Hi Sonya
    I just came across your advise on Coffee growing. I dont know much about growing the plant but I was wondering about where you purchase your plants from. We are in Mooloolah Valley and I am looking for a good fruit nursery near by. I was planing on growing a few plants but it seems like I would have to plant heaps for a bit of coffee. I thought a few trees would be plenty for presents etc.
    Any advice would be great neighbour!!

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  18. Hi,
    I have about four Arabic plants and they grow on a hillside under a Flamboyant tree (Poinciana) so they get filtered sun. They are very prolific but I think we are too hot to really get superb flavour. I think the temperature has a lot to do with your flavour. Arabica is a bit rough and we have tried to roast our own but didn't know the technique, so thanks Sonya. I have red berries right now so will try a batch. BTW I live in Trinidad, West Indies where the temp stays at around 30-34Celsius all year round. We have a six month rainy season so our biggest problems are fungus and mildew when we are drying the beans. I also grwo pretty good cocoa. Trinidad is supposed to grow some of the best in the world but once again I am at a bit of a loss how to process it.
    Sharon

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  19. Hi, I have some 2 year old coffee trees that are currently fruiting.

    The problem I have is that step 1 is to remove the skins and put the beans into water, remove any that float. The problem with that is, of the first batch I did only 80-100 beans sank, all the rest ( about 1000) floated. I had already sorted them to get rid of any over or underripe ones prior to peeling.
    Just wondering if anyone knows why are 90% of mine floaters?
    Also, does anyone know of an easier way to remove the seeds from the skins than squeezing them individually.

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  20. Hi PaulKlerkx

    I am not sure what the answer is but would like to know more about how you went about the water process?

    If you had any pictures of your beans or would like to share more did you want to add them to our forum topic on coffee found here:

    Coffee Forum

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  21. Hi fellow coffee growers
    found your site quite helpfull. Yes coffee plants do fine in pots in side, i am in south island NZ and plant is 2 meters tall and i get around 1 kg of beans a year. Still learning to process them,
    lots of fun and a good brew,
    john

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  22. Does anyone have any instructions/advice for growing coffee plants from cuttings?

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  23. hi there,

    I live in Sydney in the western suburbs and have two new small coffee plants.

    One of them got very badly burnt after a massive dust storm we had (not common so it shouldnt happen again) so i replaced it. However now both of them appear to still be getting burnt, and leaves are gettign a little brown. Is this common for them to get liek that? Does it sound more fungal related? I thought coffee were normally gorwn in HOT AND HUMID climates that i thought would be prone to sun damage?..why do my plants look so unhealthy :cry:

    I have drip irrigation on them and i put it on them for about 2 hours once a week at 3L/hour i think. The system is set up for all my production plants (figs, nuts, mangos, etc) and they all seem to be fine with the amount i give them. I havnt given them much nutrients as they only small and dont wanan give them fertilizer burn. That said whenever i plant i always give them a nice big handful of an organic complete such as Dynamic lifter.

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  24. Hi James, I have a coffee tree also in Sydney west suburbs. Your tree isn't getting burnt. Its whats called "rust leave". I had the same happen to mine and the solution is a white oil based spray. I sprayed it and all was well afterwards. It doesn't cure the affected leave, but it does stop the spread of rust leaf.

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  25. TBH marc i was thinking it could be rust as my Figs get that on the odd occasion but it just doesnt have the same appearance as your typical fungal infection.

    I might have some white oil somewhere around the shed, ill give them a spray and see how it goes as cant hurt to at least try right.

    Thansk for the help mate.

    Off topic a little. How well does your coffee grow in this area? We have VERY clay like soils so we added in alot of ANL's soil conditioner so help with drainage (had a very strong coffee smell to the soil so im guessing its just compost from the local tip) My parents doubt my ability to grow them so im very determined to give them the best chance they can get ;)

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  26. HI James,
    I live in Five Dock in the Inner West of Sydney and have a solitary Arabica plant (I think it's Arabica, anyway).
    It grows quite well, in soil that I prepare for vegetables (they grow next to the coffee quite happily).
    The same rules seem to apply for the coffee as for the veges, nice eavenly draining soil with plenty of organic matter. I use worms as my barometer of the "health" of the soil. If I dig up a spade full of soil and see a few worms then I'm pretty happy. (Now that is the roughest of rough guides!). I keep some compost and apply it between crops of veges, trying to dig a bit in around the coffee plant.
    We get a good crop of beans, but not enough to really keep me supplied. Good luck with the soil - I have heard that dolomite will help with clay soil drainage.

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  27. Thanks Peter,

    It appears to be just sunburn as i replaced one of them (it was cactus) and its been growing wonderfully. As for the soil i too have spent ALOT of time into soil prep (its essential really) and turned in a good deal of compost (from the local ANL as my compost isnt ready yet). This has made the soil very well draining and gives it a nice dark colour (i tend to gauge soil quality on its colour, but like your worm idea its a VERY rough guage).

    This heat is knocking all my fruit trees around a little but with the drip irrigation on them every week and an occasional dose of dynamic lifter (that stuff is worth investing in) has proven to give me about 50cm of nice new green growth on all my plants. The coffee was planted later than the rest however and has only got about 10cm of new seasonal growth.

    Either way ive learnt:
    1) soil prep is vital
    2) a nice watering system makes life easy
    3) organic ferts are the way to go as its harder to over do it, dynamic lifter and homemade compost seems to work best. (easy to kill plants with kindness if its not organic)
    4) LIGHTLY stake your coffee as they grow to help strengthen them but still offer support.
    5) Leaves seem to be very delicate so make sure you dont splash any water on them during the peak of the day of they get sun burnt.

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  28. Hi, I have a coffee plant in a pot that needs repotting into a larger pot.
    Can anyone advise of a suitable soil/potting mix I could use?

    Unfortunately planting it into the garden isn't an option, yet.

    Thanks very much!

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  29. I was given a coffee tree for a birthday present 2 years ago. I put liquid lime around the base of it the first year. Have been slack this year and didn't. BUT I just harvested my first small crop. YAY. Have popped them and am now soaking them. Will be getting some more trees though.

    I live in Churchable, QLD and we got one good frost this year and it didn't appear to affect the tree. It is planted in the ground, gets full sun and what ever rain falls from the sky. I occasionally give it fruit tree fertilizer when I remember to.

    Looking forward to my cup of coffee.

    Thanks for all the info as I was clueless as to what to do now I had picked them. Cheers Sonya.


    Sandie

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