Ever dreamed of growing your own coffee plant? Coffee lovers like to ensure a quality dose of caffeine each day with religious dedication. But having your coffees using the beans you’ve harvested in your yard is the ultimate experience.
But can you grow your coffee plants straight off your patio if you live in the U.S?
Growing coffee beans is common in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Central Africa. The U.S. may be the synonym for the mass urban coffee culture, but you can hardly call it the coffee’s birthplace.
Yet, agricultural experts have given hints that new growing practices are promising. So, brighten up, you may soon get that top cup quality brewed right from your backyard.
Today you’ll learn about different types of coffees you can grow in your home garden.
What Are the 4 Types of Coffee Beans?
As a coffeephile, you may be the champion of light or dark roast coffee or you may favor robusta over Arabica. Your sophisticated palate may distinguish the slightest tinge in each coffee blend.
But, when it comes to coffees, there’s always more to learn. Aside from the two dominant species, Arabica and Robusta, there are more than a hundred types of coffee beans.
Each bean has a distinct flavor profile and is higher or lower in caffeine levels.
The bean flavor, however, depends on the growing region and the processing practices. This is where you get all the intricate nuances with regards to aroma, acidity, body, and texture.
Coffee varietals are typically labeled according to the region they originate from. Some more popular ones are Colombian, Ethiopian, and Brazilian.
When we look at the main types, coffee beans are classified into four groups:
- Robusta (Coffea canephora)
- Arabica (Coffea arabica)
- Liberica (Coffea liberica)
- Excelsa (Coffea excelsa)
Without further ado, let’s zero in on each of these main types of coffee beans.
Robusta Coffee Bean
Of all the main types of coffees, Robusta is the most widely cultivated in the world, after Arabica. Native to sub-Saharan Africa, it accounts for 30% of the world’s production.
What sets Robusta beans apart is their resistance to environmental factors and diseases. Hence their name.
Now, let’s take a peek at some additional characteristics the Robusta coffee beans boast. They:
- Are easier to grow as they can withstand different altitudes.
- Produce greater crop yields so this cuts down on your production budget.
- Contain almost as double the caffeine amount as the Arabica bean.
- Have low acidity and a blend of bitter, chocolate-like flavors. It’s a full-bodied bean with a peanutty aftertaste.
Arabica Coffee Bean
The Arabica coffee plant is originated in Ethiopia but Brazil is also a popular growing region for this varietal. It accounts for 70% of the coffee produced worldwide.
Arabica type of coffees are milder in taste than the Robusta beans. Yet, different beans start tasting alike when exposed to an intensive roasting process. The flavors are also affected by temperature and altitude.
Arabica beans have their set of idiosyncrasies, of which we’ll name but a few.
- Arabica beans can be twice as expensive as Robusta, as they’re more difficult to grow. The plant grows at high altitudes and the crops can be wiped out by the leaf rust disease.
- Arabica beans have a light taste with a tinge of sweetness.
- Higher quality organic coffee beans are mildly acidic, have a bright body, and a superb taste.
Liberica Coffee Bean
Native to Western and Central Africa, this heirloom plant has low yields and is rare to find. The Liberica coffee accounts for 1% of the coffee’s world market share and offers an exotic experience to a true coffeeholic.
It has larger beans than the two main types of coffee and has a completely different flavor. Although hard to come by, the Liberica beans don’t go without their unique hidden qualities.
- Although tall Liberica trees present some harvesting difficulties, they bring amazing growing benefits. The tree height contributes to a stronger root system and access to water.
This allows the plant to be grown in regions with harsher climates. It can be grown in clay and peat soil, which can’t be said for other coffee varietals.
- The beans have fruity, nutty notes, and a smokey taste with a full-body texture.
- The limited supply of Liberica on the global market adds to a steeper price tag.
Excelsa Coffee Bean
Excelsa beans originate from Southeast Asia and make up a mere 7% of the world’s coffee supply. This bean variety is often used in coffee blends.
Although it’s been considered a different species, coffee connoisseurs have recently reclassified Excelsa as a Liberica variety.
Yet, the two varieties look and taste like completely different types of coffee. They both may grow large 20 to 30 feet trees and thrive in high altitudes, but they part ways when it comes to taste.
Here are more details on Excelsa beans should you decide to grow them. They:
- Grow on resistant trees that are tolerant of drought and resistant to diseases.
- Have an unusual flavor profile displaying both light and fruity, as well as dark and roasty notes.
- Are often added to Robusta and Arabica blends, since Excelsa cultivars are less bitter than that of pure Liberica type.
Can You Grow Coffee in the U.S.?
Coffee is grown in temperate, tropical, and subtropical climates inside the earth’s equatorial zone. The coffee-growing region is also known as the ‘bean belt’.
The coffee plant requires plenty of sun and water. It’s intolerant to frost but also doesn’t like too much direct sunlight.
Yes, the majority of coffee farms are concentrated at the ‘bean belt’. But the good news is there are some pioneering coffee growing efforts in the U.S.
It’s still not grown on a large-scale, but the U.S. homeowners can grow their own coffee beans. Coffee plants are commercially grown in Hawaii, Texas, and California. The latter one boasting over 30 farms that grow more than 30,000 trees.
Want to Learn More About How to Grow Your Home Garden?
It’s no coincidence people are taking to homegrown herbs, vegetables, and fruits. Nothing can beat eating (and drinking) from your home garden.
Now you know the main types of coffee you can grow at home, it’s time to start planting.
And happy coffee planting!