Wake up and smell the coffee
Coffee is easy to grow in our climate, and if you are serious about your brew you should certainly try growing your own. You won’t believe how delicious your own fresh coffee, from beans roasted and ground to order, can be. Be warned, though – growing coffee is easy, but processing it is rather tedious! There isn’t space to go into it here, so I’ll write about it another time.
Coffee bushes will tolerate poor soils and deep shade, and require little supplementary water once established. If given even a modicum of care they will rapidly reach about 2.5m in height, but they never grow very wide. Excessively tall coffee bushes can be cut right down to the ground and will re-shoot into a multiple-stemmed shrub.
They are very decorative in all seasons, with glossy foliage, pretty white flowers along all the branches in spring followed by masses of red berries, the coffee ‘cherries’.
They are one of those fruiting plants that can easily fit in anornamental garden or shrubbery, as you don’t have to give them a lot of feeding or attention. Try to put them somewhere they will get afternoon shade, as the leaves can burn a bit in sudden spells of hot weather as we had this week. They like to grow among other shrubs or under a protective tree canopy where they are sheltered from frost.
Coffee aficionados will only want to grow Coffea arabica, the most aromatic species. Look for potted seedlings at farmers’ markets, but if you strike out there you will be able to buy online. If you have a friend with a coffee bush, snaffle a few ripe cherries in a couple of months and squish them to extract the seeds. Plant them while they’re fresh and they should germinate easily.