Can You Grow Coffee in a Greenhouse? [When, How & Care Tips]

Nothing can be so flavorful and tasty than a cup of coffee in the morning. You will get a whole day’s energy after having it. Ever wondered can you grow coffee in a greenhouse?

Happily, the answer is YES. Though most commercial coffee beans in the USA are grown and harvested overseas. Coffee plants need a warm and humid place to grow. In this case, a greenhouse is the best thing that can mimic these conditions effectively. It is not too easy but not impossible to grow this plant in a greenhouse. You have to go through many processes like planting, maintaining, roasting, etc.

In this content, I’m going to share what is the best season for planting and how to take care of the plant during the growth process. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

What Are the Challenges of Growing Coffee in a Greenhouse?

Challenges of Growing Coffee

After hearing “Growing Coffee in a Greenhouse is possible” you might be happy and relieved.

But, before you get too excited, it’s important to remember that there can be some challenges.

Let’s see what they are:

1) Ideal Soil: The first and most important challenge is to find the ideal soil for the plants. Generally, the coffee plant needs well-drained, rich in organic matter, and slightly acidic soil to thrive. If you are not sure about the quality of your soil, then it is always better to get it tested from a professional.

So, what soil is best? Sandy loam soil with a pH of 6.0-6.8 is considered ideal. North America & the Caribbean have some of the best coffee-growing soils in the world.

2) Required Water: Water is the most important factor for any plant. It is one of the most challenging things to manage in an orangery. Too much or too little water can damage your plants. So, you need to be very careful about it.

Coffee plants need at least 1 inch of water per week. If you live in an area with high humidity, then your plants will need more water. On the other hand, if you live in a dry climate, then your plants will need less water.

It is very important to check the soil moisture before watering your plants. The best way to do it is, stick your finger 2”-3” into the soil. Do you feel dry? Water your plants if the answer is YES.

Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes made by the growers. If you overwater your plants, then the roots will start to rot. As a result, your plants will eventually die. So, you have to keep your focus on it.

3) Right Light:  Coffee plants need a lot of sunlight to grow. They need at least 4-5 hours of direct sunlight every day but not always. If you live in an area with less sunlight, then you can use artificial lights to supplement the natural light.

Also, the plants need full sun to partial shade. So, if you are growing coffee in an orangery, make sure that it gets enough light. Now, how much sunlight do the plants need? Bright light but not direct sunlight. Generally, 4-5 hours of bright light is enough.

4) Pruning: The next challenge is pruning. Pruning is very important for the growth of the plant. It helps to increase air circulation and also allows more sunlight to reach the leaves.

Pruning also helps to promote the growth of new leaves and branches. So, you need to prune your plants every year. Generally, pruning is done in the spring season. But, you can also prune your plants in the fall season.

So, what is single stem pruning in coffee? The process of removing all the side shoots and branches from the main stem is called single stem pruning. It is done to encourage the growth of new leaves and branches.

5) Humidity: The next challenge is high humidity. Coffee plants need a humid environment to grow. If the humidity is too low, then the plants will not be able to absorb water and nutrients from the soil. The constant watering will eventually kill your plants.

The ideal humidity is 60-70%. If the humidity is too high, then it can lead to fungal diseases. So, you must be aware of it.

There are many ways to increase humidity. You can use a humidifier, mist your plants with water, or put them on a pebble tray. You can use Elechomes 6.5-Liter Top-Fill Humidifier for your plants.

6) Temperature: The last challenge is temperature. Coffee plants need a warm environment to grow. The ideal temperature is 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. If the climate is too chilly, the roots will not be able to absorb nutrients from the soil. Repeated watering will eventually harm your plants.

Happily, the plants can survive in a wide range of temperatures. They can even tolerate frost. But, if the temperature is too high, then it can lead to leaf scorch. So, you must be aware of it.

So, here are the six challenges that you will face while growing coffee plants. But, don’t worry. These challenges can be overcome with proper care and attention.

Can You Grow Coffee in a Greenhouse?

coffee beans

What should you do if you’re a novice and just starting out? If you want to grow coffee after building a greenhouse, then you have to set up your greenhouse first. It should be big enough to grow and produce beans.

To grow coffee, you have to go through several processes like Planting, maintaining, Harvesting, picking, Drying, Roasting, etc. In this section, I’ll describe each process in detail.

1. Planting

The first and foremost thing is to choose the right type of tree for your plantation. You should also decide the place where you want to plant it.

So, what type of coffee tree should you choose? Arabica or Robusta? Well, it depends on your preference. If you want a higher quality coffee then go for Arabica. But, if you want a coffee with more caffeine than Robusta is the better option. So, here are the several steps for planting coffee in a nursery.

Step 01: Select the right type of tree

First, you have to pick the right tree. As I said earlier, there are two types of trees- Arabica and Robusta. You can select according to your own choice. From our perspective, if you’re a novice, then I would recommend Arabica.

Step 02: Decide the plantation place

The next step is to find a suitable place for planting. The soil should be well drained and rich in organic matter. You can use coconut husk as mulch. This will help to keep the soil moist.

Step 03: Make sure the greenhouse is big enough

Your nursery should be big enough so that the tree can grow and produce beans. Space is important because a coffee tree needs room to spread its roots.

Step 04: Planting

Now, you can plant the tree in the greenhouse. Make sure to water it regularly. 

Step 05: Maintaining

Once you’ve planted the tree, you have to take care of it. This includes watering, fertilizing, and pruning. To get better results you have to focus more on these three things. Maintaining is a very important step if you want to grow coffee in an orangery. If you avoid this then you may not get the desired result. Let’s take a look at each of these things in detail.

(i) Watering: You have to water the tree regularly. During the spring and summer season, water it daily. But, during the winter season, watering every alternate day is the best option. Overwatering the tree is harmful as the root may rot.

(ii) Fertilizing: Fertilizing will help the tree to grow faster and produce more beans. The best time to fertilize is during the spring season. In spring, you can use any organic fertilizer for this purpose. You will get the best result if you use manure or compost. “Rose and citrus fertilizers are the best for coffee trees. You can use them once a month.”

(iii) Pruning: Pruning is also an important step in maintaining the tree. You have to prune the tree regularly to promote growth. The best time to prune is during the summer season.

So, Should you prune the trees? The answer is YES! Pruning trees has several benefits. It helps in the growth of the tree, increases yield, and improves the quality of beans.

2. Harvesting

After taking care of the tree, it’s time to harvest the beans. The best time to harvest is from September to early November. You can either handpick the beans or use a machine for this purpose.

So, what part of coffee is harvested?  The answer is the fruit (or cherry). The fruit contains two seeds (or beans) which are surrounded by a sweet pulp. Here are the methods of harvesting coffee beans.

Method 01: Handpicking

This is the most common method of harvesting. In this method, farmers pick only ripe fruits from the tree.

Method 02: Stripping

In this method, all the fruits (ripe and unripe) are stripped from the tree. This is a fast method but it has some disadvantages. The main disadvantage is that some unripe fruits are also picked which affects the quality of coffee.

Method 03: Machinery

Nowadays, machines are also used for harvesting. This is the fastest method but it has some disadvantages. The bad part is that unripe fruits are also consumed, which has an impact on the quality.

3. Processing

After harvesting, the next step is processing. This is done to remove the pulp from the beans. The two most common methods of processing are wet and dry methods.

(i) Wet Method: In this method, the fruits are soaked in water for 12-24 hours. This makes it easy to remove the pulp from the beans. The disadvantage of this method is that it takes a lot of time and energy.

(ii) Dry Method: The fruits are sun-dried for 2-3 weeks in this approach. The pulp may be simply removed from the beans using this technique. This method has two major flaws:

a) It produces lower-quality coffee.

b) There is a risk of over-drying which can damage the beans.

We recommend using the wet method as it produces higher quality coffee.

4. Roasting

After processing, the next step is roasting. This is done to improve the flavor of coffee. Roasting also makes the beans more brittle so that they can be ground easily. Here are the two benefits of roasting the beans.

(i) Improved Flavor: Roasting brings out the natural flavor. It also removes the grassy taste of unroasted beans.

(ii) Better Aroma: Roasting also helps to develop the aroma. The fragrance of roasted beans is more intense than that of unroasted beans.

So, how do you roast the beans at home?

Step 01: You can either use a pan or an oven for roasting.

Step 02: Place the beans in a pan and heat them on medium heat.

Step 03: Keep stirring the beans so that they don’t burn. When the beans turn brown, remove them from the pan and let them cool down.

Step 04:  Once the beans are cooled, store them in an airtight container.

You can roast the beans according to your preference. If you like lightly roasted coffee, then roast the beans for a shorter period of time. For dark roasted, roast the beans for a longer period of time.

5. Grinding

After roasting, the next step is grinding the beans. This is done to make it easier to brew coffee. There are two types of grinds:

(i) Coarse Grind: This grind is used for brewing French press coffee. The beans are ground to a coarse consistency in this case.

(ii) Fine Grind: This is a coarser grind for making espresso. The quality beans are ground to medium fineness.

You can use a coffee grinder to grind the beans at home. Make sure to set the grinder to the correct setting according to your brewing method.

6. Brewing

This is the final step in making coffee. In this step, water is added to the ground beans and they are brewed according to your preferred method. There are many ways of brewing. Some of the most popular methods are:

(i) French Press: French press is a coffee brewing method in which the grounds are mixed with hot water. Then left to steep for a few minutes before being pressed down to the bottom of the container with a plunger. The result is a strong, flavorful drink.

(ii) Drip Method: This is one of the most popular ways to make coffee. To prepare it, you only need ground coffee, water, and a filter. Just pour the water over the grounds. Then, let it drip through the filter into your cup. Depending on how strong you like your coffee, adjust the number of grounds that you use.

(iii) Espresso: Coffee and ground beans are combined in an espresso machine. The mixture is then steeped for 1-2 minutes before being brewed.

The brewing time may vary depending on the method you use. Make sure to brew the coffee for the correct time so that it doesn’t become too strong or too weak.

FAQs

How much does a coffee greenhouse cost?

A coffee greenhouse costs between $2,000 and $5,000. Actually, it depends on the size and type of orangery you choose.  In addition, construction costs for a typical home-sized greenhouse can range between $5,000 and $10,000. The per square foot cost of a typical glass orangery can run as high as $25 to $35.

Can I grow coffee in a greenhouse in any state?

You can grow coffee in an orangery anywhere that it can be grown outdoors. However, you will need to take into account the average temperature and sunlight in your area when determining what type of greenhouse to construct. For example, if you live in an area with very cold winters, you will need to choose a greenhouse that is specifically designed to withstand low temperatures.

What does it do in the winter?

Since coffee is a tropical plant, it does not do well in cold weather. If you live in a cold-winter climate, you’ll need to select a greenhouse that is suitable to withstand low temperatures. You have to take all the precautions that you should take for this plant.

Final Words

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Many people enjoy growing their own coffee. In this regard, Greenhouses provide the perfect environment to do so. If you are following the right tactics, you can get a rich yield of coffee beans from your orangery. You have to properly do the planting, watering, and soil maintenance to achieve this though.

Additionally, it is important to select a good plant variety that is suited for greenhouse conditions. With all of these things in mind, you can successfully grow coffee in a greenhouse.

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