Learning About a Coffee Plant
When you imagine a coffee plant, do you think of Africa? South America? Hawaii? Interestingly enough, these are only a few of the locations that people can easily and successfully grow one of these plants.
Did you know that a regular person could have their own plants and grow their own coffee? If you live in the right area, pick the right type of plant, and provide the optimal conditions you could realistically see your plant live for more than 60 years.
How do they grow?
This plant is actually a few different varieties of tropical, evergreen shrubs. When left “wild” they’ll grow to remarkable heights, but coffee plantation owners keep their trees groomed to workable heights of roughly six or seven feet at the most.
If you purchased a plant today, it would be roughly four years before you would get beans to harvest. You would need to fertilize and water on a regularly scheduled basis and you would also need to learn how to pinch back the leaves and buds for optimal bean production. This is exactly the same approach used by commercial growers, only they cultivate hundreds or thousands of plants in a single area.
While a majority of commercial foods are picked prior to reaching a ripe stage, coffee beans cannot be removed from the plant until they are fully ripened. To make commercial growing even more complicated, the plant will set bright white flowers at the same time that it is offering both ripened and un-ripened beans or “berries”. Clearly this means that maintaining the plants and ensuring harvests is a full-time, year round business.
Once the beans are harvested from the plant they must be roasted soon after. Though some coffees actually taste better if the beans develop a slight mildew flavor, the majority must head into the roasters right away.
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