Coffee has never really been a big thing for me. I’d much rather a hot cup of tea than a coffee but my husband has become somewhat of a coffee snob over the past few years. Whenever we fall in love with a new item of food I always see it as a bit of a challenge to see if we can produce it ourselves, so my recent project has been growing coffee beans.
Coffee beans grow on a plant related to gardenia and as we have several gardenias in our garden I was confident I’d be able to also grow a coffee plant. While I understand you can grow coffee plants directly from seed, the process seemed very involved so I decided to cheat a little bit and purchase a coffee plant seedling.
It turns out that finding coffee plant seedlings isn’t as easy as finding most other plants. They are a bit of a specialty breed and I actually ended up sourcing one online from eBay. The plants themselves can grown quite large (up to 5m!) but they are quite attractive and produce scented flowers (in addition to beans obviously!)
The plants don’t require any special care as such (beyond the standard watering and fertilizing that any plant needs) and once established they are very hardy. Coffee beans actually come from “coffee cherries” and are harvested during the dry season. You only get a comparativley small amount of beans from the cherries (around 1/5th of their weight) but obviously if you are only harvesting them for personal use this isn’t a huge concern.
So far our plants are yet to produce any cherries but we have seen some flowers and I understand it can take about 3 months after the flowers appear for the cherries to start growing and then up to another 5 months for the cherries to be ready for harvest!
In the mean time we’ve decided to invest in a home espresso machine to save money and eliminate the waste of going out for coffee drinks. We decided on the Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine in the end and we are really happy with it. While we haven’t been able to use our own beans yet, I’m hoping it won’t be long!
If you’re keen to give coffee growing a go (or you already grow your own!) I’d love to hear about it. I’m really excited to be testing out something super unique in our homestead garden.