Coffee Plant Care – Growing Coffee Plants Indoors
The following are some of the most common questions asked by our readers:
Q1: How long does it take to grow a new coffee plant?
A: You need at least 3 months to get a good yield from your first plants. After that, you will have a strong crop every year.
Q2: What kind of light do I need for my plants?
A: You need bright sunlight to keep your plants healthy. If you don’t have any light, then use fluorescent bulbs or artificial lighting.
Q3: Do I need to fertilize my coffee plants?
A: No! They are self-sufficient. However, if you want to make them grow faster, then add one teaspoon of fertilizer per gallon of water once a month (or more often). Use only organic fertilizer; avoid synthetic fertilizers like those made for pets and livestock.
Q4: Is it possible to transplant coffee plants indoors?
A: Yes, but they tend to spread out rather than grow together. Some growers prefer to transplant their coffee plants indoors because they save money and time. Others choose to do so because they want better quality beans. Whatever you decide, be sure not to overwater your transplanted plants since this could cause root rot.
Q5: Can I store my coffee seeds inside my house?
A: Yes! Just be sure to keep them in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
Q6: Is it best to collect my own coffee seeds or buy them?
A: It’s up to you. Some people prefer to plant coffee beans they’ve collected themselves because they’re more sustainable and free. Others choose only to buy seeds because they’re easier to plant and grow. Whichever you choose, be sure not to use seeds that are more than 2 years old.
Q7: How do I know when to water my plants?
A: The best way is to feel the soil with your hands. It should be slightly damp at all times. If it’s dry, then water your plants.
Q8: How often should I prune my coffee plants?
A: During the first and second year of growth, prune your plants once a month. After that, prune them every 2-3 months.
Q9: How much coffee can I get from my plants?
A: It depends on your growing environment. Most amateur gardeners grow between 1 and 5 pounds of coffee per year. However, there are cases of people growing 20 pounds or more in a single year.
Q10: How do I prevent white flies, pests, and other diseases?
A: Buy disease-resistant plants. Make sure your plants get enough sunlight and water. Pick off any unhealthy or unwanted pests.
Coffee Plant Care – Growing Coffee Plants Outdoors
The following are some of the most common questions asked by our readers about coffee plant care outdoors:
Q1: Where should I grow my coffee plants?
A: You can grow your coffee plants in your backyard or on your rooftop. They need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day, so if you live in a place without much sunlight, you might want to consider growing them in a greenhouse.
Q2: How do I prepare my soil for growing coffee plants?
A: The best type of soil to grow your plants in is called “fox farms mix”. It’s a special combination of organic matter, minerals, and other nutrients designed to retain moisture and provide the necessary nutrients for your coffee plants. As an alternative, you can use 1 part manure, 1 part hay or straw, and 1 part dirt. Just remember: good soil = good yield!
Q3: How do I prevent my soil from drying out?
A: Add a thick layer of mulch to the top of your soil. This will prevent water from evaporating. You can also create raised beds for your plants. These will keep the soil moist for a longer period of time.
Q4: How do I prune my coffee plants?
A: The first thing you should do is prune all unopened flowers and fruits on your plants. After that, prune any branches that are broken or diseased. Avoid pruning healthy branches since this will affect the yield of your coffee fruits.
Q5: What about pests? How do I get rid of them?
A: A solution of soap water will get rid of most insects. If that doesn’t work, try neem oil. For fungus, you can use a fungicide called PDB.
Q6: What type of fertilizer should I use?
A: You should use a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen since this promotes leaf and stem growth. If your soil is lacking nutrients, you can add compost or manure to the soil you’re using.
Q7: When is the best time to harvest my coffee cherries?
A: Pick your coffee cherries when the green coloring of the fruit turns to a light purple/pink. This usually happens 30-35 days after flowering.
Q8: My coffee cherries are still not ripe yet!
What should I do?
A: The ripeness of the coffee fruit depends on the temperature the coffee plants are exposed to. Warmer temperatures mean the fruit will ripen faster. You can also help the process along by placing a banana peel near the base of your plants.
Q9: Help! My favorite coffee plant has white worms crawling on it! A: Don’t worry, these are just coffee bean roasters, not the destructive coffee bean weevil! You can buy beneficial nematodes to kill off these pests.
Alternatively, you can introduce natural enemies like phorid flies and wasps that will kill off these pests.
Q10: My coffee plants have these weird yellow berries growing on them!
Should I be worried?
A: These aren’t berries, they’re actually buds that will bloom into beautiful yellow flowers if left unchecked. These are called Kapok Trees and they commonly grow near coffee plants in their natural environment. You can remove these before they bloom if you want to get rid of them.
Q11: How big will my coffee harvest be?
A: The size of your harvest depends on a variety of factors: type of soil you grow in, climate you grow in, pruning techniques, etc. If you want a big harvest, try getting a soil sample tested to find out what nutrients it’s lacking. Then you can supplement these nutrients to get the biggest yield possible!
Q12: What is the best kind of coffee maker to use?
A: That really depends on your personal preference. The type of coffee maker you use doesn’t affect the taste of your coffee, it just affects how you brew it. Choose one that’s easiest for you!
Q13: What should I do with my used coffee grounds and filters?
A: You can throw these in the garbage or compost them (if you have a composter). You can also repurpose them as well! Used coffee grounds make great fertilizer and can be added to your garden soil. Filters can be rinsed out and used to clean glass or mirrors.
You can also brew other things in your coffee maker! Try out different teas and herbal infusions, or even mix in some fruit for a different taste! Here are some suggestions:
Start Your Day with Something Other Than Coffee
Try adding a few leaves of basil or mint from your garden to your coffee maker before brewing your morning cup of coffee.
Or try brewing a pot of your favorite tea in your coffee maker. Make sure to use a tea bag (or two) that is designed for use in a coffee maker.
Try using 1/4 cup of dried strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or cranberries (or a mix) in place of the coffee grounds when brewing your morning drink.
Make iced coffee by brewing coffee as usual and refrigerating it in an airtight container. Add ice before serving.
Add a cinnamon stick to your coffee maker when brewing to give your coffee a different taste.
Experiment with different spices and flavor extracts (such as vanilla, almond, etc.) in your coffee maker to give your coffee a unique flavor.
Try putting small amounts of raw, whole milk in your coffee. Make sure the milk is at room temperature before putting it in the coffee maker and only use as much as you would normally use for the amount of coffee you are brewing.
You can also use soy, almond, rice or skim milk (or a combination of these) instead of regular milk. The cream in these milks will rise to the top so you can try leaving it out and only using the more watery part of the milk. It may work as a substitute for cream.
You can also try out other liquids to see what taste you like best. Some ideas are apple juice, fruit punch, flavored coffee drinks from fast food restaurants (canned or bottled), tea, wine and alcoholic beverages. Remember to only use a very small amount as too much liquid in your coffee maker can lead to some serious problems.
The world is full of different tastes! See what you can come up with and let us know how it goes.
Q14: I followed your advice and tried out brewing something other than coffee in my coffee maker. It came out terrible!
What did I do wrong?
A: Sadly, not all recipes are going to be winners. When trying out new recipes, keep notes so you’ll know what worked and what didn’t when it comes time to making that drink again. If you’re really curious as to why it tasted bad, try researching common mistakes that are easy to make when brewing that particular beverage and try to avoid them next time. Also, remember that a lot of recipes and ingredients won’t be interchangeable. For example, you can’t brew tea in your coffee maker and you can’t brew coffee in your tea maker.
Q15: I’m trying to brew something other than coffee in my coffee maker but it seems to be breaking down and getting all clogged.
What am I doing wrong?
A: Using a coffee maker for anything other than, well, coffee, will eventually ruin it. Most coffee makers aren’t really meant to handle non-water ingredients and the fine mesh filters are particularly susceptible to getting clogged when exposed to harder substances. Harder substances like tea leaves, fruit pieces, and other things you shouldn’t really put in a coffee maker in the first place. While it is possible to clean out coffee makers that have been used for other things, it’s not always cost or time effective to do so.
Q16: Is it safe to use my coffee maker for tea?
A: Your average run-of-the-mill cup of tea only has about 50 mg of caffeine so it’s not going to get you all that much more caffeinated than a regular cup of coffee. If you really like tea and you don’t mind the extra work, by all means go ahead. Just be sure to follow the directions in the (Tea) section and steep your tea properly.
Q17: Is it safe to use my coffee maker for lemonade?
A: This one really depends on how you’re making it. If you’re using a powdered mix then the amount of acid is probably going to slowly erode your coffee maker over time making it less and less likely to produce a good cup of coffee (or lemonade) and more likely to produce a mess. If you’re using fresh lemons and properly squeezing them then you shouldn’t have any problems as long as you follow the directions in the (Lemonade) section and keep an eye on it to make sure the filter doesn’t clog up.
Q18: How much coffee is healthful?
I’ve heard conflicting reports and don’t want to be sick! A: The answer is, it really depends on what type of coffee you’re talking about. Good, old fashioned, drip brewed coffee has trace amounts of a lot of different minerals and antioxidants. However, these aren’t really in significant quantities to do any good. In fact, coffee has been widely praised in recent years for it’s antioxidant and metal-chelating capabilities, which is why people always say “coffee is good for you”. The truth is though, that while it isn’t bad for you, it isn’t exactly great either. Decaf, instant or just bad tasting coffee doesn’t have these benefits at all.
Q19: I’ve heard that I shouldn’t drink coffee after 2:00 PM because it keeps me awake at night.
Is this true?
A: Yes, and no. Caffeine is definitely out to get you. It has been proven to disrupt your normal sleep cycle and can keep you awake at night even when you’re dead tired (and let’s face it, we’re all dead tired at some point during the day.) However, if you time your coffee consumption correctly then you can outsmart your body’s natural tendency to let you rest when it should.
Most people are like rabbits, in that they’re at their most active in the dawn and dusk. If you want to sleep better at night, then drink your last cup between 2:00 and 4:00 PM. If you want to stay awake longer during the day, then drink your last cup between 2 and 4 AM. Of course, don’t forget to adjust the time based on when sunrise and sunset are during the season.
Q20: What is the best way to reheat coffee?
A: There are several schools of thought on this one. Some people say to just leave the pot on the burner until it gets hot. I personally don’t like this method because I’m lazy and therefore I don’t like to stand next to the pot waiting for it to reheat. Others say that you should just put the pot in the microwave if you’re going to reheat it anyway, but I’ve found that this leads to a burnt taste in the coffee even if you only zap it for 20 seconds.
After much experimentation I have found that the best way to reheat coffee is to put the desired amount of grounds into an old style paper cup, add just a little bit of water (maybe a teaspoon or less), screw the lid on tight, and zap it in the microwave for about 45 seconds. The key thing here is to not overfill the cup with grounds.
This is a trick I learned in the army. If you make the coffee in the paper cups then you can just throw away the cup when you’re done and not worry about cleaning out the pot (and I think it tastes better too!) The one thing that you have to be careful about is getting too many cups mixed up with the proper lid and the proper cup…
it’s very easy to do.
Q21: Which is better, French Press or Automatic Drip?
A: Well, that’s like asking whether your mom or your dad loves you more. They’re both great for their own reasons and you can’t really pick a winner, but I’ll do it anyway because that’s what lists are for.
First the Automatic Drip. This method is good for those busy people who don’t have time to brew a pot of coffee just for themselves in the morning.
Sources & references used in this article:
Coffea arabica L., a new host plant for Acetobacter diazotrophicus, and isolation of other nitrogen-fixing acetobacteria. by T Jimenez-Salgado, LE Fuentes-Ramirez… – Applied and …, 1997 – Am Soc Microbiol
Burkholderia, a genus rich in plant-associated nitrogen fixers with wide environmental and geographic distribution by P Estrada-De Los Santos… – Applied and …, 2001 – Am Soc Microbiol
Penicillium species endophytic in coffee plants and ochratoxin A production by FE Vega, F Posada, SW Peterson, TJ Gianfagna… – Mycologia, 2006 – Taylor & Francis
The complexity of coffee by E Illy – Scientific American, 2002 – JSTOR
Coffee: botany, cultivation, and utilization by FL Wellman – 1961 – digitalcollections.qut.edu.au
Coffee production, timber, and firewood in traditional and Inga-shaded plantations in Southern Mexico by LYK Peeters, L Soto-Pinto, H Perales… – Agriculture, ecosystems …, 2003 – Elsevier
Biodiversity conservation in traditional coffee systems of Mexico by P Moguel, VM Toledo – Conservation biology, 1999 – Wiley Online Library
Field‐testing ecological and economic benefits of coffee certification programs by SM Philpott, P Bichier, R Rice… – Conservation …, 2007 – Wiley Online Library