Update: Growing coffee from green beans

Four months ago i harvested some fruit from my old coffee trees in Brisbane. I germinated the beans on top of my router, in some tupperware (since it was winter here in Melbourne). This gives them the warm and stable environment they need, but they still take 2 or 3 months to sprout!  The experiment was a mixed success. The first coffee tree to germinate ended up dying because i gave it too much sun early on.

Lesson learned, the next one to pop up I placed into my shaded area on the balcony where i keep other shade loving plants like orchids and mint.

Here’s the progress, four months on:

It’s looking healthy, and really starting to take off. An hour or two of direct sun per day is all they need to start with. Bright indirect light is best the rest of the day. Important to keep the plant moist… give it water pretty much every day. Coffee trees don’t tend to care too much about over watering, but the leaves will go brown on the tips if you don’t give enough water.

Care tips for growing coffee trees:

  • 2 – 3 months to germinate a bean at about 27 degrees
  • Give plenty of water. Water once per day or every second day in summer if the soil is drying out, less in winter.
  • Use organic, nutrient rich soil. Don’t skimp on cheap nasty potting mixes.
  • Coffee trees grow slowly. Expect it to take a couple months from germination until you have the first true leaves.
  • Don’t give too much sun! Only 1 hour or so direct sun per day maximum. Filtered sunlight the rest of the day. Coffee will quite happily grow in the shade as long as there is plenty of indirect sunlight.

Written by Richard Manley

Richard Manley lives in Melbourne, Australia. He is a Senior Digital Producer, having worked for businesses in a wide variety of industries including financial services, health insurance and telecommunications. You can find him on and Twitter.

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