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Thread: Growing coffee

  1. #1
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    Growing coffee

    i live in newcastle and have four coffee trees in the front yard.
    theyre 4 years old and are beginning to produce heavily - despite me knowing only the basics of coffee cultivation.
    does anyone else grow their own coffee?

    tony
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  2. #2
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Gday Tony,

    Welcome to CoffeeSnobs! :)

    You may find some info on http://www.sweetmarias.com/ but Im not exactly sure where.

    Have you had them for longer then four years? Has it been difficult to grow them? I would love to do that one day.

    Im sure there will be wiser answers soon.

    Chris
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  3. #3
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Wouldnt be too hard growing Coffee Trees in Newcastle... alot easier than Sydney as youd get next to no frost...

    My Coffee tree (I live north west of sydney - Hills district) is going great guns. Its foliage is awesome. Its about 1 year old and is approx 1.5 foot tall. I use White Oil type spray to kill off the Rust leaf and bugs.. and works great. I have just recently replanted it in a larger self watering pot and with some slow release fertiliser. Only issue I have is Ive had to insert 2 polls each side, using an old stocking to help it stay upright as heavy winds really hit the trunk hard. However a 4 year old tree would be a different story.

    4 trees producing fruit! Nice!!!
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Hiya Tony-

    Ive just planted my first tree. I think its about 6 mths old...its about 30cms tall anyway.

    I live in the Yarra Valley in Victoria, great rainfall (...well normally!), great soil, but cold in winter.

    Ive got it on our deck, under UV filtering lazerlight, which duplicates part shade conditons pretty well and will protect it from frosts. Its in a pot so I can move it around in extreme weather...

    So far, so good.

    Im gonna see how this one goes, then all going well, try to strike some new plants from it- which is apparently pretty straight-forward.

    4 trees eh? Should be a decent yield, about a kilo per tree per year I think (not positive though). Im sure a bit of time searching the net will provide some great info re-culitivation.

    Good luck and I would love to be kept up on how it goes...

    Cheers, Anthony
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  5. #5
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    Re: Growing coffee

    I have one with a stack of cherries...well enough for one cup.... on it now waiting to ripen. Do a search there was a thread a little while back with heaps of info, i think it was from Rolley.
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    Re: Growing coffee

    here it is

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1171156527/36#36
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    Re: Growing coffee

    I think you will find its about 500g per tree per year. (this is what Ive read elsewhere) I too would like to have a tree but I am shocking with plant matter. Luckily all I have to do is roast the beans when they get to me otherwise I would kill them to.
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by MarcS link=1202128835/0#2 date=1202172661
    Wouldnt be too hard growing Coffee Trees in Newcastle...
    Theyd grow heaps good! ;)

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    Re: Growing coffee

    well - im surprised ive got any replies. thanks everyone. ill look up the links suggested.

    i have been getting a crop since the first year but it has been variable. first year was about 1kg from the four trees. this year was about 1.8kg. the past two years were about 500g in total each time.

    there is info on the net, but it is geared to conditions in other countries and also to big (and often mechanised) producers.

    my biggest need is to understand pruning (because coffee is such a vigorous tree) and also to get a handle on the seasonal issues - when to water/fertilise, when to prune, when to pick, etc.

    to be honest ive found it hard to get any coherent info on these fundamental matters.

    and coffee is a strange beast. it seems to do everything at the same time. branches grow and bear at the same time. blossoms come while some cherries are ready to pick and while others are just pinheads. everything overlaps, so its hard to pick an exact time to do the necessary agricultural things.

    i once invited a refugee from burundi to my place. he used to have coffee trees on his farm and as soon as he saw mine he walked straight up to them and started tearing branches off them. he said coffee trees like air, but i couldnt pick exactly what kind of branches he was pulling off.

    after going through enormously tedious processing arrangements for three years i have developed a reasonably painless and efficient system if anyone is interested.

    whats the coffee like? well, its not the worlds greatest. but its drinkable - and its mine. beats gloria jeans, thats for sure.

    tony
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    Re: Growing coffee

    heres a picture of the cherries from my first crop - 2004. it surprised me that the trees fruited so fast.
    i think at the end of this year, going by the blossoms and green cherries now, im going to have a whopper.

    tony *

  11. #11
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    Re: Growing coffee

    ok, heres another try at the picture.

    tony

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    Re: Growing coffee

    Cool I want one or 10,000.

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    Re: Growing coffee

    awesome to hear! I think there was also another good post on the topic (in addition to the one Sarg linked in), so youll have to have a look around cuz theres some good info there! :-)

    How about the flowers? I love them - a cross between night jasmin and a frangipani.. such a shame they only last a few days. This summer when they were at their peak their fragrance could be smelt on the breeze all through the yard.. fantastic. I took some photos too cuz I was all excited!

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    Re: Growing coffee

    Tony, in the last weeks of winter or at the start of spring id give them a couple of kilos of composted chicken manure and a dose of seasol.

    Then once you see the flower buds appearing fortnightly doses of Seasol or any seaweed based product as that will boost the flowers and fruit set.

    You could also give them a monthly hit of a fish emulsion as well once new growth starts.... all organic of course ;).

    Andrew

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    Re: Growing coffee

    i only found out late last year that the beans grow separate to the cherry. you can have a tree full of lovely plump red cherries with nothing much in them. thats what happened to me this crop. those are the floaters - because theyre hollow.

    when the cherries are roughly full size, i understand, the beans start to grow to fill up the holes inside them (the integuments) and if they arent suitably watered and fertilised then, all you get is a lot of empty cherries. this year im going to make sure i pay them some attention all through winter.

    there are five stages of processing:
    1. picking and squeezing the cherries. you have to do it by hand. i squeeze out the beans while watching tv.
    2. soaking the beans for a day or three to ferment the sticky coating off them.
    3. drying them. i leave them on the back deck for a couple of weeks in shallow boxes or pans.
    4. taking off the parchment, which is a stiff coating on the beans. i used to do it all by hand - what a job! but i found this year that using a blender is great. it gets all the parchment off and doesnt seem to break the beans. I take it all outside and shake it up and down in a flat basket in front of an electric fan that blows all the chaff away. very quick.
    5. roasting - thats where this site has really helped - i didnt have a clue what i was doing before. pot luck. now i hope ill be able to do justice to the beans and see what the coffee is really like.

    tony *
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  16. #16
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    Re: Growing coffee

    hi Tony,

    You can speed up step 3 by adding a tiny spoonful of Amylase or similar enzyme(often used in bread making).

    I have had great success skipping this step, leaving the muscilage on to dry. We store the at this point, hulling just before roast. There is some interesting reading on rates of transfer of moisture through the bean in storage and its impact on the profile of the bean.

    Regards
    Cameron
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    Re: Growing coffee

    cameron,

    ill try the enzymes. what basically is the effect of leaving the beans to dry with the mucilage on?

    tony

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    Re: Growing coffee

    We have found better body and increased berry flavours in ASCA standards cupped tastings with our K7 beans. Any Bourbon varietals I have tried have improved body.

    We are looking to score in these areas(mouthfeel and sweetness) at competitions, it proved successful at the golden bean(silver for the K7), fingers crossed for the Royal show!

    Cameron

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    Re: Growing coffee

    forgive my ignorance, but my search for the meaning of ASCA turns up an encyclopedic list of organisations - none related to coffee.

    i do know K7 beans though, as I lived in east africa for a long time and it was there i had the best coffee i have tasted anywhere.

    the best was from the kenya coffee shop in nairobi, which used to prepare its coffee in a big saucepan behind the counter. its still going, but has been overtaken by trendier establishments with variations on the name java.

    maybe the sun-drying of the beans explains why i always found the coffee there so mellow and chocolatey.

    i will dry my next lot without fermenting the mucilage off and see what its like.

    tony

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    Re: Growing coffee

    www.aasca.com

    AustralAsian Specialty Coffee Association.

    Im in Newcastle and Ive got 3 coffee plants that are maybe 3 to 4 feet high. I had some white moth like creatures on one of the plants recently. They seem to have gone away... I hope.

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    Re: Growing coffee

    Mixed a few crushed cloves of garlic and a small amount of washing up liquid in a spray bottle with water(1 litre) and apply to foliage after flowering.

    This wont affect the fruit. The grubs hate it and it will "stick" until next time it rains.

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    Re: Growing coffee

    Wow Cameron,
    I respect the dedication, answering a thread almost a year old !
    So where abouts do I buy a good coffee tree? *I have space in the backyard .. Gold Coast Hinterland, elevated shaded.
    Or is it possible to germinate Green Beans?
    Mark

  23. #23
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Hi Mark

    Daleys Fruit Tree Nursery (ggogle them) have coffee plants that are reasonably advanced and can be purchased online.

    Cheers!


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    Re: Growing coffee

    Just found this info .. looks like I can germinate from Green beans :)

    "The potential for germination will continue for almost four months, but after this time the germination rate is several fold less and germination time is significantly longer. Fresh seeds should germinate in 2.5 months, but old seeds can take as long as 6 month"

    http://www.coffeeresearch.org/coffee/homegrowing.htm

  25. #25
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by 22361C2771430 link=1202128835/21#21 date=1233609468
    Wow Cameron,
    I respect the dedication, answering a thread almost a year old !
    So where abouts do I buy a good coffee tree? *I have space in the backyard .. Gold Coast Hinterland, elevated shaded.
    Or is it possible to germinate Green Beans?
    Mark
    I can drop some fresh K7 beans in once we have finished this harvest if you like.
    Send me a PM or email

  26. #26
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    Re: Growing coffee

    hi everybody,

    sorry to have been absent so long.

    i took camerons advice and didnt soak any of my beans but dried them with the mucilage on. they turned out very nice, quite mild, very full body and very chocolatey - at least thats how they taste to me. i roast them in an iroast2 roaster which seems to work very well. i dont agonise too much over roasting settings because i like the different tastes that come from variations in the ambient temperature and different volumes being roasted.

    im beginning to get a handle on the coffee year now because i kept notes all of last year

    the picking season ran from 27 july - 22 november. it seems a long time to me, i dont know if thats normal.

    the four trees gave about 18kg of cherries and about 3kg of green beans after hulling.

    also a lot of coffee tree seedlings have sprouted under the trees this year. i have put some in pots, but they seem to grow very slowly. they seem a bit delicate in their early stages.

    if framey wants to give me a call, im on 4979 5978 (work).

    tony

    [img][/img]


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  27. #27
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Beaut tree!

    You can "force" the fruit by stressing the tree, dont water it. If it gets adequate water a tree can fruit from winter almost to christmas up here.


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    Re: Growing coffee

    thanks for the advice.
    when should the water be cut down?
    if i do it while the beans are forming id get a lot of floaters wouldnt i?
    or do you cut the water during blossoming?
    i see that after the rains in recent weeks there is a bit of blossom coming out again.

    i had one lot of beans go mouldy while drying and i kept them separate. i thought there might be a kind of botrytis effect, as in wine, but there wasnt.
    i couldnt taste any difference between scarlet cherries, crimson cherries and the crimson ones that went mouldy. nor could anyone i gave them to to smell. is there an optimum colour to pick at?

    tony

  29. #29
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Great experimenting Tony.

    Ive found forcing before flowering best.

    Ordinary hydrated lime will delay ferment of picked cherry, spread on a handful if you have a delay pulping.

    Actually, Im drinking some dry processed bean right now from Koonorigan, they use this process to great effect. Very fruity, good body.

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    Re: Growing coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by 4259584F42360 link=1202128835/25#25 date=1234963159
    hi everybody,


    i took camerons advice and didnt soak any of my beans but dried them with the mucilage on. they turned out very nice, quite mild, very full body and very chocolatey - at least thats how they taste to me.

    tony


    I found a name for our method here:
    http://www.gimmecoffee.com/galleries/putting_in_the_honey_at_the_ha/

    "Honey Drying"!

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    Re: Growing coffee

    thanks cameron.
    looking at those hartmann beans, i suppose their secret method involves some variation on a quick wash so that a fair bit of the mucilage is left.

    next crop im going to try some dry processing as well as some sort of the hartmann system to compare them. ill just give the beans a swirl around in a bucket and take them straight out. that should get some of the looser mucilage off and may leave what hartmann calls the stickier, sweeter part.

    since i had blossom coming on last year before i had picked even half the crop, i would have to stop watering when the cherries were full size and ripening if i was going to stop the trees blossoming whenever they got a bit of water. would that affect the ripening?

    theres a picture on amina omaris blog of kenyan beans being processed, which leads to another page of more pictures. there is a fantastic shot of a tree in blossom. do your trees look like that?

    i used to know a girl called amina omari, but it cant be the same one.

    tony

  32. #32
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by 2338392E23570 link=1202128835/30#30 date=1236594658
    i used to know a girl called amina omari, but it cant be the same one.
    Yeah, such a common name. :-?

  33. #33
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    Re: Growing coffee

    the girl i knew died awhile ago.

  34. #34
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Read somewhere you need at least 8 trees to keep you in coffee a year.

    I have 3, 4 yr olds but am getting more to plant on my brothers block at Bellingen.

  35. #35
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by 514A4B5C51250 link=1202128835/32#32 date=1236678904
    the girl i knew died awhile ago.
    My condolences.


    Quote Originally Posted by 7160756C6B250 link=1202128835/33#33 date=1236681878
    Read somewhere you need at least 8 trees to keep you in coffee a year.
    Drats!
    I only have 2.

  36. #36
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Coffee Prince has kindly sent me some fresh picked green coffee beans K7 variety to propagate
    A big thanks mate [smiley=thumbup.gif] [smiley=dankk2.gif]

    So hopefully soon I will have some growing coffee trees from seed news
    I plan to grow them to a suitable size and transplant to the permanent position

    I should be able to fit approx 10 trees some to be planted in between palm trees

    KK


  37. #37
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by 7F6E7B62652B0 link=1202128835/33#33 date=1236681878
    Read somewhere you need at least 8 trees to keep you in coffee a year.
    8 sounds about right to me. our four trees might stretch out to nearly a year, but i have bought other coffee as well.

    and because i pruned them hard last year this seasons harvest will be down.

  38. #38
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Hi all,
    New to this site, wondering where you got your seeds / beans to grow your own coffee? Looking for K7.

    Regards,
    Ben.

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    Re: Growing coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by 486A7D6B6B77180 link=1202128835/24#24 date=1233741196
    I can drop some fresh K7 beans in once we have finished this harvest if you like.
    Send me a PM or emai
    Quote Originally Posted by 5A7D7635532F180 link=1202128835/37#37 date=1237362869
    New to this site, wondering where you got your seeds / beans to grow your own coffee? Looking for K7.

  40. #40
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by 4B6C6724423E090 link=1202128835/37#37 date=1237362869
    wondering where you got your seeds / beans to grow your own coffee? Looking for K7.
    hi ben,

    i got my trees from a local nursery - but they were no more specific than labelling them arabica. they have fruited well.

  41. #41
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Hi all,
    I am just wondering if anyone here grows their own coffee? (if so you may possibly be the greatest coffee snob-I had a laugh).
    My question is two fold, one, I am interested to hear more about the issues of growing your own coffee, and what climates it actually can handle.
    And two, I am looking to find someone to buy the coffee cherries off, once theyve been deseeded.

    Cheers!

  42. #42
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    Re: Growing coffee

    I suggest you check out the thread "growing coffee" in this section of coffee snobs for some really good discussion on people growing their own coffee, search is your friend. Cant help with two.

  43. #43
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by 183937383C291331363614500 link=1202128835/40#40 date=1238189220
    I am looking to find someone to buy the coffee cherries off, once theyve been deseeded.
    gday highlycaffd,

    what are you going to do with the squeezed cherries?
    i put mine in the compost or just straight on the garden. maybe the possums and birds eat em - they seem to disappear. ive seen a few hyperactive possums around.

    tony

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    Re: Growing coffee

    just started picking this years crop. last years start was at the beginning of july.
    i have expanded my plantation by 25% - added one more tree.

  45. #45
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Hi TonyT

    So, whats your address? ;)

    *Plans midnight cherry picking expedition*

    Cheers
    Di
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  46. #46
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by 7C5B4D5F47340 link=1202128835/44#44 date=1252725282
    So, whats your address? *

    *Plans midnight cherry picking expedition*
    whoa! you live near enough to carry it out too. *
    ive counted all the cherries!

    tony

  47. #47
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    Re: Growing coffee

    Rats...you werent meant to read where Im from in my info!

    Foiled again...

    :D :D :D


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    Re: Growing coffee

    Woohoo, great thread. Good luck with that crop Tony, I might very well be in Newcastle (weekend of 7th November) for a one day conference on the Sunday, but wouldnt mind catching up for a coffee (funny, that) and a chat on the Saturday somewhere if you can fit that in.

    Maitland, eh Di. Did you know a bloke called Greg Fean? (slightly OT, I know *8-))

    I may very well end up having 8 to 10 trees for my hedge, this has given me much thought with regard to quantities and so on....

  49. #49
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    Re: Growing coffee

    hi madp,

    i might be at a beer conference on nov 7 but give me a call 02 4979 5978 and maybe we can go to sprocket on saturday.

    tonyt


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    Re: Growing coffee

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    No worries Tony, will do so when confirmed.

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