Arabica Coffee Trees grow beautiful small trees that reach heights of just 6 feet with dark green glossy leaves, bright white flowers, and red berries. The rich Coffee we drink is made from the roasted seed of the Coffee Tree’s fruit, called a Coffee Cherry. Coffee Trees are easy to grow, naturally resistant to pests and diseases, and each tree can produce hundreds of Coffee Beans per year. The Arabica variety of Coffee Tree produces the finest quality beans, which are prized for their smooth flavor.
Coffee Trees can be grown in the ground in USDA Zones 9 to 11, or in a container in Zones 4 to 11. Since the trees are small, they are perfectly suited to growing in a pot. They are self-fertile so they will grow Coffee Cherries with no pollinator. However, for those who wish to harvest and roast their own Coffee at home, the more Coffee plants the better. Since the trees are small, you can easily grow three or four in the space normally occupied by a large fruit tree.
Coffee Tree Care
Arabica Coffee Trees do best in a location that gets bright light but with a break from direct sunlight at the hottest parts of the day. An ideal location would be a spot that receives morning and/or afternoon sun, but is shaded by taller trees in the mid-day. High shade and filtered light will provide the energy the Coffee Tree needs to bloom and grow fruit, while protecting the Coffee Cherries from being damaged from prolonged periods of direct sunlight.
To grow a Coffee Tree in a pot, use a container that is about twice the size of the existing pot with holes for drainage. If growing indoors, keep the area humid with a saucer filled with gravel, to allow water to drain from the pot. You can also spray the leaves with a water bottle once per day. Water your Coffee Trees once per week, or when soil is dry to two inches below the surface.
Fruit & Harvesting
Coffee Trees will bloom and produce Coffee Cherries throughout the year. They may bloom more in the spring, and rest for a time after a heavy crop, but they do not adhere to a strict blooming schedule. As such, each Coffee Tree will continually grow flowers and produce fruit. The Coffee Tree Cherries ripen at various times and are ready to pick when they are bright red. Pick the ripe red berries by hand while leaving the still maturing green, yellow, and orange cherries to keep growing.
To process the Coffee Cherries into Coffee, squeeze each picked ripe berry to remove the Coffee Beans inside. Most Coffee Cherries will contain two seeds that are oval, and have a flat side. Inside the Coffee Cherry, the flat sides of the seeds face each other. A very small percentage of Coffee Cherries will contain a single seed that is fused together. These single beans are called Pea Berries, and are separated by hand as a delicacy commercially. Once removed allow the beans to air dry in a cool dark place for several days. You can then roast the beans in the oven, or on the stove top, before grinding and using the roasted coffee.
Coffee Tree blooms last for about a month before the white flowers turn brown and fall away. The fruit that follows will be pea-sized, green, and hard. The Coffee Cherries take about 5 months to begin ripening. The berries will go from green, to yellow, then orange. When they turn red they can be harvested. While the fruit is maturing, be sure to keep the tree’s soil moist but not saturated.
Coffee Trees are evergreen, so they do not shed their leaves. Because of this, they make great house or patio plants. The caffeine that the Coffee Tree produces acts as a natural defense against many pests. You can prune your potted Coffee Tree to maintain it in a pleasing shape, but the trees remain small and are well suited to container gardening. Trim away lower leaves that turn yellow, and always remove dead or dying limbs.
Can you grow your own Coffee at home?
Yes you can grow and roast your own coffee at home and many people do. Coffee Trees in the home garden are mainly prized as an ornamental species, a conversation topic, and the occasional cup made from homegrown beans.
How much Coffee will a Coffee Tree produce?
A mature Coffee Tree thriving in its native habitat grows enough Coffee Cherries to produce about one pound of dried and roasted coffee per year.
Where can you grow a Coffee Tree?
You can grow a Coffee Tree in the ground in USDA Growing Zones 9 to 11, or in a pot in colder spots such as Zones 4-9.
Does a Coffee Tree need a pollinator?
Coffee Trees are self-fertile so they do not need a second Coffee Plant to grow beans. However, the more Coffee Trees you have, the more ripe and ready to roast beans you will be able to harvest.