The coffee bean plant, the original source of the beverage we all enjoy, is easy to cultivate. The plant grows well naturally in Asia and Africa's tropical and subtropical climates. And by creating the right climatic and soil conditions, it is easy to grow coffee at home.
All about Coffee Cultivation
From the point of planting the coffee seeds, it takes 3-4 years to get the first harvest of the coffee beans that can be processed into the beverage.
Typically from the sixth year onwards, the plant begins producing its full yield, and this continues for the next ten years or so. But the plant as such can continue to live on for as long as 60 years.
The coffee bean plant can grow as high as 40 feet left alone. However, they are pruned to a more manageable height of 6-8 feet in plantations.
The Best Conditions for Coffee Cultivation
Most of us are familiar with the story of the Ethiopian goatherd who discovered the ruby red cherries that made his goats spirited and energetic.
This indicates that the tropical climate of Africa is the most natural climatic condition which supports the growth of coffee. For the coffee bean plant to survive and thrive, it requires a combination of plentiful sunshine and moderate to heavy rainfall.
Coffee plants grow in all altitudes ranging from sea level to up to 7500 feet. But higher elevation produces the best quality of coffee. For instance, one of the most expensive coffee varieties in the world, the Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, grows at an altitude of 7500 feet.
Amongst the two most popular commercial coffee species, the Arabica and the Robusta, the more expensive Arabica grows at a higher altitude of 600-2200m, while the Robusta needs an altitude of 0-800m.
The plants do not require any particular kind of soil to grow on, but they are particular about the moisture in the soil. For best coffee bean plant growth, the soil should be moist without becoming soggy. This is achieved in soil with good drainage properties.
The right daytime temperature for the coffee plant is between 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit. And temperatures dipping down to 60-65 during the night are ideal.