Our coffee farm article has been one of our popular articles. It helps people understand how coffee farm works. We noticed that many of you want to grow your own coffee farm. Well, here’s our take on what you need to know before growing your own coffee farm.
The coffee market continues to expand each day, and if contemplating growing coffee, be sure there will be a market for your yield. In fact, global coffee consumption is estimated to grow by 2% in 2018/19 to 164.64 million bags. This shows coffee farming is a profitable investment worth your time. But to grow coffee and earn from it, you must first learn how coffee farming is done.
Different types of coffee farming
Basically, coffee farming falls under three categories:
- Organic coffee farms
- High production farms
- Small family-owned farms
Organic coffee farms
In organic coffee farms, coffee is grown organically, without the use of chemicals and pesticides. This means no chemicals are used during cultivation or production processes. Organic coffee is pricier compared to standard coffee beans. To be certified organic, coffee must be:
Have been produced without chemicals or pesticides for three years
Have been grown in particular organic coffee crops. No alteration of soil movement on the farm.
The soil must have been fertilized through compost to keep it chemical-free, and pest control methods do not involve pesticides.
High production farms
Roughly 20% of the farms not owned by families are high production farms. A good example is the commercialization of coffee growing in Vietnam and Mexico.
Small family-owned farms
Small scale farmers produce about 80% of the world’s coffee. About 125 million people rely on coffee to put food on the table. 25 million are coffee farmers and are the reason you drink coffee every day.
Environmental conditions required for coffee farming
Coffee thrives well in certain conditions, and that is why countries with favorable conditions like Brazil and Vietnam lead in coffee production. For example, Brazil coffee farms rest on 1,900 feet above sea level. This elevation is suitable for growing coffee.
Sumatra and Toraja, which are highly soughed-after coffee beans, are grown in specific islands in Indonesia at an elevation of about 6, 000 feet above the sea level.
Coffee needs ample rain for growth and ripening. When there is no rain or is scarce, coffee leaves dry, resulting in fast ripening. Further, antioxidants are depleted, and caffeine content also dwindles. Eventually, coffee becomes useless.
Changes in temperatures impact coffee production significantly. I.P.C.C’s report revealed that Africa and South America would register a massive reduction in coffee production in the coming days due to changing conditions.
Coffee is harvested annually during the dry season when coffee cherries are bright red and firm. Only the ripe coffee cherries are picked.
Picking and striping
As the name suggests, picking is simply harvesting of the ripe coffee cherries by hand. Trained workers are involved in the process, and they make sure unwanted fruits, flowers, and leaves don’t mix with ripe cherries. Through this method, many people make a living. Picked coffee is pricier than mechanically harvested varieties.
Stripping technique is different from picking and involves coffee cherries been stripped off the branches by hand about two times a year. The downside of this technique is that even unripe cherries are harvest. Compared to picking, stripping, considerably cuts the harvesting cost.
How is coffee dried?
Coffee is dried in the sun to prevent rotting and spoiling. Drying helps remove the fluid in the cherries. Constant turning is done to allow uniformity in drying.
During drying, farmers place and store the berries on aerated and raised beds.
How long does it take coffee plants to mature?
Once planted, a coffee plant takes 3-4 years to bear the first fruit. After this period, you will have to wait another one year for the cherries to mature. Each coffee plant yields about one pound of roasted coffee annually.