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Growing coffee plants indoors can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience. With the right conditions, it's possible to harvest a small amount of coffee beans. Keep in mind that it may take several years for your plants to produce beans, but once they do, you can harvest the red berries when they're ripe.
To prepare the beans for roasting and brewing, you'll need to process them by removing the outer layers. We're here to guide you through the whole process, so keep reading to learn more!
How do I get my coffee plant to produce coffee beans?
First of all you need a coffee plant. You can either buy one from a store or growing it from seed. If you choose to grow from seed, it is important to use fresh seeds, as the roasted coffee beans sold in supermarkets are not viable for germination.
The process of growing a coffee plant also requires patience, as it can take several years for the plant to mature and start producing flowers and fruit. The smaller plants sold at garden centers are typically around one year old and will take at least four years before they begin to produce flowers and fruit.
To ensure that your coffee plant grows properly, it requires perfect growing conditions, including plenty of light, mostly indirect but also a few hours of direct sunlight. If you live in a climate with shorter days during the winter season, you might need to supplement its light with a grow light.
Other important factors for growing a healthy coffee plant include a slightly acidic soil mix, lime-free water, high humidity, and regular watering.
After several years of patience and gentle care, your coffee plant will have grown big and lush, and will reward you with its first flowers. Keep an eye out for tiny and delicate, white flowers.
From flowers to brewing your first cup of coffee
There are various species of coffee, but the type you typically find at your local houseplant provider is often the Coffee arabica, also known as Arabic Coffee. The good news is that these plants have self-pollinating flowers, which means you won't need to lend a helping hand in the pollination process. As the flowers start to wither away, green berry-like fruits will start to appear. Over time, the fruits will mature and change color from green to a deep red. Once they're fully ripe, it's time to get started on the process of turning those little cherries into a delicious cup of coffee.
Harvesting: You can harvest the Coffee cherries by hand when they are fully ripe. The timing of the harvest is critical, as coffee cherries that are picked too early or too late can affect the flavor of the final product.
Processing: After the coffee cherries have've been harvested, they need to have their outer layer removed. There are a couple of ways to remove the seeds from the skin of the coffee berries. One way is to squeeze each berry by hand. Another way is to use a piece of wood to tamp the berries in a bucket until all of the seeds have been separated from the skin. Once the seeds are separated, fill the bucket with water and stir the mixture to separate the seeds from the skins. Remove the skins (and any coffee beans that float) by pouring them away before they settle.
These are the two primary methods of processing coffee in the industry:
Wet processing: This involves removing the outer skin and pulp of the cherries using water, which leaves the beans with a slimy layer of mucilage that needs to be removed through fermentation and washing.
Dry processing: This involves leaving the cherries to dry in the sun, which causes the outer layers to shrink and crack, revealing the beans inside. The beans are then separated from the dried fruit using a machine.
3. Roasting: Before the beans can be used to make coffee, they need to be roasted to bring out their flavor and aroma. Roasting coffee beans is a delicate process that requires careful attention. Monitor the beans closely and adjust the heat as necessary to achieve the desired roast level. You can use the oven, stovetop or a dedicated cofferoaster.
This is how you roast them in the oven: Use a large baking dish, make sure to spread the beans out thinly and stirring them frequently. If roasting a single layer of beans, it should take about 10-15 minutes at a temperature of 450-480°F (225-250°C). However, if the beans are larger, it may take up to 30 minutes. -Alternatively, you can use a frying pan or popcorn machine to roast the beans.
As the beans roast, they will gradually turn yellowish-brown and deepen in color. They will shrivel as they cook halfway, then swell, open up, and grow. It's worth noting that light brown beans, also known as light roast, will have a milder flavor than brown or black beans, which are considered a dark roast.
4. Grinding and brewing: Once you've roasted those beans to perfection, it's time to grind and brew! After the beans are grounded there are tons of ways to make a delicious cup of Joe out of them, from drip brewing to espresso to French press - the options are endless. So find your fave brewing method and get ready to enjoy a fresh, flavorful cup of coffee!