If you have ever been curious about growing your own coffee plants, you have probably wondered can you grow coffee from roasted beans?
Quite simply, no. Coffee beans are unable to germinate after the beans have been roasted. They have natural moisture and oils that are contained within the fresh coffee bean. Roasting the coffee beans removes all the moisture and kills the germination cycle.
These are crucial to the early development of the roots of the plant. Until the roots have grown, a seedling cannot absorb moisture from the medium in which it is growing.
During roasting, the internal temperature of the beans rises. As the moisture inside boils, it expands into steam. This expansion of the moisture exerts pressure on the bean from the inside until it cracks open, releasing that amazing aroma.
Once the seed is cracked open, it is no longer viable to grow. Even just heating the seed too much may sterilize it. Coffee seeds remain viable to grow for up to three months. Seeds can be stored for more extended periods but must be kept at low temperatures and high humidity.
Can You Grow Coffee from Roasted Beans: Re-roasting Coffee
Before answering the question “Can you grow coffee from roasted beans?” let’s learn a little more about roasting coffee. Once a coffee bean is roasted, that is it. Beans cannot be roasted further. During the roasting process, maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the bean is essential. Once roasted, the moisture has been removed. Thus any attempt to re-roast beans heats the exterior faster than the inside. This means that reheating coffee beans will result in beans being roasted unevenly as the outer layer begins to burn prematurely.
Author Note: Beans that have been roasted unevenly provide an uneven flavor. Rather than a pleasant taste combination of medium and dark roast flavors, it’ll taste like two weak cups of coffee mixed together.
Growing Coffee Plants
For most plant species, it is recommended to keep any seeds that you plan to grow at low temperatures. In fact, many seeds require a cold spell before they will germinate successfully. For example, if you live in a warmer climate, it is suggested that strawberry seeds should be kept in the freezer for a few months before planting. This simulates a winter.
Coffee tends to grow best at altitudes of 1000 – 2000ft in tropical and subtropical locations. If you are lucky enough to live in a climate where coffee trees flower and fruit naturally, you will find that some of the beans that fall to the ground will quickly germinate into seedlings without any help.
It would be best if you planted coffee trees approximately 10-15ft apart to allow space for the mature trees to grow. In the northern hemisphere, southeast facing hillsides are great for coffee. As if some lingering connection to a forgotten culture makes them appreciate the rising sun.
Coffee trees grow to a maximum of 15ft. In their natural habitat, they grow happily in the dappled shade beneath a higher canopy. This makes coffee a great addition to a structured food forest that takes advantage of different canopy layers. Coffee trees are still versatile enough to flourish in full sun, but irrigation may be necessary.
Seedlings in warmer areas should have slight shade while they are young to prevent them from drying out. As the trees grow larger and get more established, the main taproots should seek deeper, more reliable water sources. This makes them less susceptible to drought.
Growing Coffee Indoors
You can also germinate coffee seeds in pots. The soil must be quick draining and kept moist, but not too wet. The glossy, dark green leaves and the contrast of the bright red ‘cherries’ make coffee a pretty house plant that doesn’t require too much attention. To produce an indoor crop is a lot more work. Only undertake this if you have some experience.
A team working together who has both experience growing indoors and others with experience growing coffee should hope to grow a harvestable crop from seed within five years.
If you do want your coffee tree to produce fruit, you will need to ensure that there is quite high humidity. Temperatures should be between 25 and 30 degrees. The soil should be nitrogen-rich and slightly acidic, with a Ph level between 5.5 & 6.5.
Coffee can be cultivated in the right conditions in tunnels, \even at home. Don’t expect to grow enough to provide for your own needs in your lounge, though. A fully grown coffee tree will only produce about 1-2lb of roasted beans per harvest. They usually only provide a single annual crop. Coffee trees will start to produce beans when they are mature, at 3-4 years of age.
Varieties of Coffee
There are over 70 varieties of coffee. However, only 2 or 3 are commonly cultivated for consumer use. The three main types of coffee are from the genus Rubiaceae and subspecies Arabica, Canephora, and Liberica. Arabica makes up 75% of the consumer crop, with less than 1% attributed to Liberica.
Coffee is indigenous to Ethiopia, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Vietnam, Nepal, and central and southern America, including Brazil, Mexico, and Guatemala. Due to the specific habitat that coffee requires to grow successfully, studies suggest that regions that produce coffee are at risk of climate change. This is similar to cocoa-producing nations.
In countries such as Ethiopia, international coffee sales supply a wage to a high percentage of the population. Should changes in climate affect the viability of the coffee crop, it could cause major problems in locales. In many of these areas, even food production is already unstable.
Top Tip: Another broad-spectrum problem with coffee production, again similarly to cocoa, is that in many countries, some of the industry leaders turn a blind eye to child labor. It is heartbreaking just how common it is to see children harvesting coffee beans in developing countries.
There are initiatives to support fair wages and working conditions for farmworkers in both the coffee and cocoa industries. The only way to support these initiatives is to vote with your wallet, support companies with a moral compass that points in a similar direction to your own.
The Strongest Coffee Types
Robusta is another species of coffee that is found on the consumer market. Robusta coffee can contain varying levels of caffeine. At their strongest, Robusta coffee beans can contain as much as double the caffeine found in Arabica coffee. If you suffer from high blood pressure, be aware that many store’s own-brand coffees are made from Robusta coffee.
Coffee, Caffeine, and Health
Caffeine is the most popular and widely used recreational drug in the world. Just let that sink in for a moment.
Caffeine is an addictive, psychoactive drug with specialty outlets on almost every high street in the world. In most countries, there is little or no restriction on the amount of caffeine that can be ingested. In many places, it is even commonly sold to children.
Coffee in Pop Culture
With the popularity of energy drinks and the aggressive, successful advertising campaigns of these companies, there has been an upsurge of caffeine-related illness in recent years. Teenagers are at particularly high risk from the flashy, colorful advertising schemes. The extreme sports that these drinks often sponsor are particularly enticing to a younger crowd.
Teenagers and younger kids are often warned of the dangers of drugs while they are still in school. These demonstrations generally focus on illegal substances. Although some touch on the severity of the health conditions that can arise from the abuse of pharmaceuticals. Alcoholism is usually confronted within the education system. But the precautions of caffeine are often overlooked.
Caffeine: A Drug
While most of us know that caffeine is a drug, it has been a part of our lives for so long that it is rarely viewed as such. There is a lot less stigma attached to caffeine than almost any other drug.
Imagine if someone approached you as you exited Starbucks, sipping your fully caffeinated (coffee-flavored) coffee, and accused you of being a junkie! You’d probably think they were the one with the drug problem. The truth is they would be right. Our brains are under the influence of an addictive, psychoactive substance.
Despite the health problems attributed to excessive caffeine intake, there are positives. Coffee has antioxidant qualities, and in addition, coffee is a good source of Chromium and Magnesium. These vital metals help the body to maintain healthy blood sugar levels by supporting the proper usage of insulin.
Author Note: Coffee has actually been of great benefit to science, providing a number of useful chemicals, though most notable is the CNS stimulant caffeine.
Scientific studies have shown that CNS stimulants have a positive impact on cognitive function in humans. Improvements to mood, energy levels, and reaction times are just a few benefits that caffeine has on the brain. The use of CNS stimulants also sees an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and an increased breathing rate therefore, must be prescribed with caution.
Coffee is a natural source of Theophylline, which is used in medicine as a muscle relaxant. Theobromine is another compound found in coffee that is utilized in medicine. In addition to its capability as a muscle relaxant, it also has a diuretic effect. Therefore its use is not as common.
History and Naming of Coffee
The first credible records of coffee being prepared similarly to the current style are from Yemen. These records name Ahmed al-Ghaffar roasting and crushing coffee beans to brew an intense flavored hot drink that adds clarity to the mind.
Due to Yemen’s position on the Arabian peninsula, the location led to the naming of the Arabica species, despite arriving from the Kaffa region of Ethiopia, which gave coffee its name.
The majority of coffee drinkers are addicted to coffee. The addiction itself is to caffeine, and other forms are incapable of satisfying the need for the world’s favorite magical elixir. We hope you enjoyed this article on can you grow coffee from roasted beans.
Stay caffeinated friends!