How Does Coffee Grow? – Close Looking From Farm To Cup

* This post may contain affiliate links. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission. *

How does coffee grow?” – Maybe this is the question that regularly appears in your mind whenever you sip a cup of coffee. This plant has experienced a long journey from plant to harvest to become the most current favorite drink.

If you want to know which kind of coffee you enjoy every day comes from which land, keep following our sharing to understand more!

How Does Coffee Grow? – The Long Journey Of Coffee Plant

Different types of coffee developing in distinct terrains also bring different coffee flavors. Let’s see how the quality changes to each region in this section!

Where Does Coffee Grow?

Coffee plants can grow very strongly in warm-climate conditions and high-altitude places. So, we easily find them in regions nearing the Equator belt. The experts often call it the “coffee bean belt”- where many of the world’s leading coffee-producing countries are concentrated. Some of them we can mention are Vietnam, Brazil, Columbia, etc.

Which Elements Impact On Coffee Growth?

There are three main factors influencing coffee growth, including temperatures, altitude, and rainfall.

If coffee is cultivated in the rainy season, farmers’ digging will be easier because the ample rainfall makes the ground wetter. At this time of the year, the temperature is not too hot, which allows its photosynthesis to happen smoothly. All of them are the most convenient conditions for coffee roots and leaves to grow and spread quickly.

Not only that, the altitude impacts much on its maturation. With the 1800-3600 feet altitude, coffee still sprouts toughly even in the coldest days of the autumn.

Even being up to 3600-6300 feet, we can farm 2 harvests in a year as long as there is frequent rainfall.

How Long Does Coffee Take To Grow Up?

The coffee tree is a perennial plant, meaning it will take from 3 to 4 years to mature and harvest. So, it requires farmers to be patient to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

At this time, this plant height can reach 20 feet. But, to facilitate their harvesting, they often prune it down to 5-7 feet.

Do Different Coffees Grow In Different Ways?

Nowadays, the types of coffee we consume every day mainly come from the two most popular plants (Arabica and Robusta). Because they suit different environments, the two species differ in size, form, color, flavor, and caring methods.

Arabica rises well in subtropical from 16 to 24-degree latitudes and equatorial areas within 10-degree latitudes. Especially in volcano regions, this kind will have a strong flavor when they grow at a higher elevation.

That’s the reason why it’s hard to raise and harvest this type. Despite that, it still has taken up a large amount of the world’s coffee supply (up to 70%).

Meanwhile, planting Robusta takes less time and hard work. It develops strongly in regions close to sea level, yet its flavor is quite sour and bitter. So, it is not very commonly used for brewing espresso. But for regular coffee and instant coffee, this vegetation is the best option.

How To Plant And Harvest The Coffee Tree?

So, how is coffee grown? – We will reveal the secret in two small sections below.

Planting Phase

Any growing process starts with a seed nursery. Planting coffee is not an exception. People can choose fresh or dried beans to cultivate but make sure that these being chosen are of good quality.

After that is to create the best environment for these to develop, the sand layers covered with moist canvas or straw will be ideal. Or, if there is no sand, farmers can take them in poly bags adding more covers that are manure, topsoil, gravel, coffee seed, and finally nitrogen fertilizer.  

The next step is to bed out and takes care of the seedlings. Once the radicals grow, planters will move them to the nursery beds and put more cow manure and phosphate fertilizer. Note that the distance between each tree should be at 4-8 inches for their best growth.

Initially, they will shade half of the coffee bed and then slowly remove these covers for trees to have time to adapt to the sunshine. This stage happens for about two months.

When coffee grows up to 8-16 inches, it’s time to take them into the field. In this final phase, to ensure enough space to grow, the distance should be 16 inches. It is also when coffee trees need a huge amount of nutrition from fertilizers such as potassium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, etc. 

After the coffee tree gradually grows stable, they will put down fertilizer periodically depending on the development of the plant.

Harvest Phase

Coffee belongs to fruit tree lines. When growing up around 3-4 years old, they will bloom white blossoms, which shed about more one day after.

This is the time to form beautiful coffee cherries. They are green before unripened. Once they turn to red color and get more glossy, it’s time to harvest.

We can do it two ways (by hand or utilizing a machine). Yet, coffee beans do not ripen at the same time. Hence, harvesting by hand normally is highly recommended to ensure production for the whole season.

How Does Technology Influence On the Coffee Growing Process Today?

The era of coffee farming with manual labor-working and depending completely on natural elements has ended. Thanks to advanced technology and human knowledge, coffee planting has covered itself with a completely different appearance.

Instead of facing the risk of crop failure like before, farmers now have to apply high-standard modern equipment to protect seeds and seedlings at the beginning of growth. They multiply coffee seeds and bring them up in glasshouses or laboratories to provide them with the perfect living environment. 

This way, the coffee will avoid the attack from climate, rainfalls, temperature, or insects. 

They also use the measuring device for coffee cherries’ moisture in the drying phase to estimate transportation time, aiming at chemical abusing state in producing.

With the benefits mentioned above, you now understand why they gradually leave hands-on farming and change to use the technology throughout the growing and harvest stage optimally.

Conclusion

Read this far; obviously, you have the answer for the question “how does coffee grow?” – It is the long process that takes the sweat and pains of farmers to bring the best aromatic coffee quality to consumers’ hands.

So, whether you’re a coffeeholic or a newcomer, if you have a chance to take a glance at our post, we hope that you will understand more about this fragrant drink!

Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California, Berkeley. And then, I finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). ugvermont.com is a website that I dedicate my whole heart to sharing all knowledge related to coffee. Read more