June 14, 2012
-- Well coffee comes from coffee trees, which are actually more of a shrub with a straight trunk. They can live for around 50 to 70 years but don’t flower until their third year. Actual coffee production is from year five onwards though, so if you are looking to grow your own coffee tree then patience is the key.
In the meantime, you can enjoy the dark shiny green leaves and fragrant white flowers of this very unique, ornamental plant. Early 18th century botanists classified the coffee tree as a member of the Rubiaceous family. There are around sixty different species although when it comes to coffee production on a large scale there are only two that dominate world trade. One is the Coffea arabica or just known as Arabica and the other is Coffea canephora or to you and me more commonly known as Robusta.
Arabica coffee (http://www.espressocoffeeclub.co.uk/ourblends/
) is originally from Ethiopia and the beans thrive at altitudes of 3,000 to 6,500 feet, with slower growing but more refined flavour it accounts for about 75% of the world coffee production. Robusta was discovered in the Congo and is more disease resistant with a high yield of beans but a slightly harsher flavour so it is generally used for commercial blends.
If you want to grow your own coffee tree, you need to know a few important things – avoid extreme cold or heat, plant them in fast draining soil which needs to be kept moist but do not over water. It should be planted in partial shade or even within the shade of another tree, which helps keep soil humidity and protects from strong winds.
If you want to grow a tree to produce coffee (http://www.espressocoffeeclub.co.uk/sourcing/
) it may be a little hard in your back garden but it is also an attractive plant. The white flowers have 5 or 6 petals and are similar to the shape and smell of a jasmine. They also produce berries or in the coffee world these are called cherries because of the colour and are the fruit of the tree, which begin as green and develops into a dark almost black colour. Finally the coffee tree is also an evergreen so will look good all year round.
After three years it should flower and then at five years, it is ready to harvest the first crop of coffee (http://www.espressocoffeeclub.co.uk/
) - that’s where the patience comes in!