You can grow coffee beans easily at home, although it will take a few years before you’re able to enjoy a cup of coffee from your homegrown plants. Start by purchasing a green coffee bean that is as fresh as possible and from the most recent crop. If you have a coffee grower in your area, you can purchase a freshly picked coffee “cherry,” the fruit that contains the seed referred to as a coffee bean, from a healthy, disease-free tree. You should start seeing flowers and coffee cherries about three to four years after planting the bean.
Pregerminate the green coffee bean by soaking it in water for 24 hours. Insert the bean into a small plastic bag filled with wet vermiculite or damp sand. Leave the bag open and water the bean once every day.
Remove the coffee seed from the bag after it begins to germinate. Fill a 4-inch pot or seed tray with a light, porous potting soil. Make sure the planting container has drainage holes in the bottom.
Plant the coffee bean flat side down about ½ inch deep into the soil. Cover the seed with some loose potting soil, but don’t tamp or press it down.
Keep the potting soil moist at all times as the coffee seed germinates. After the bean sprouts, replant it into a 6-inch pot filled with a porous potting soil mixed with a handful of coarse sand.
Place the coffee plant in bright, indirect sunlight next to a window or beneath artificial plant lights.
Water the coffee plant twice each week, once with a “half watering,” meaning you add water and allow it to drain, and once with a “full watering.” A full watering is when you water the plant, wait until it drains, and then water it again with fertilizer.
Feed your coffee plant a water-soluble or liquid fertilizer made for orchids that has higher nitrogen and potassium content, along with calcium, magnesium and trace minerals. Apply the fertilizer according to the dosage instructions on the label. Feed the plant once per week with the full watering.
Reduce your watering to only once or twice per month in December or January. Then, in March or April, water the plant generously again to induce flowering.
Harvest the coffee beans by picking the cherries when they’re glossy, firm and bright red.
Things You Will Need
- Small plastic bag
- Sand or vermiculite
- Pots, 4 inch and 6 inch diameter
- Seed tray (optional)
- Potting soil
- Coarse sand
- Water-soluble or liquid orchid fertilizer
- If you're starting with a freshly picked coffee cherry, wash the cherry with water and soak it until the pulp begins to fall off. Then, rub off the pulp and wash the bean before drying it slightly in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Discard any coffee bean that floats to the water's surface.
- Don't overwater or underwater your coffee bean, especially when the seed is germinating. Water the plant daily, but ensure that the potting soil is draining freely and not becoming waterlogged.