Coffee - Coffea arabica - $12.00
30cm high current size
Mature Height: 800cm
The first coffee plant of economic importance was Coffea Arabica. It grows to the height of 7-8 meters but the cultivated plants are cut to the height of 2-4 meters to get more width.
The white coffee flower has five petals and the fragrant flowers smell like jasmine. The coffee berries are cherry-sized and green at first, turning dark red later on. They are edible and sweet, but the coffee producing part is the beans inside. The ripening takes eight months. The coffee tree starts flowering at 2-4 years old and it can simultaneously have flowers and berries in all stages of development.
• Harvest the berries when they are quite ripe - a reddy-purple colour.
• Throw your cherries into an ordinary clean plastic bucket. Then start mashing the cherries to get the pulp off. This should expose each cherry's two beans inside a silvery casing. Sometimes you might need to manually squash some of the cherries to pop the beans out (or set these aside and soak for an hour and retry).
• Add a little water to cover them and a bit of sugar, then put the bucket in a shady spot and leave to ferment for a few days.
• Sift the fermented mixture, isolating the encased beans. The first skin around the bean is usually very slippery after sitting in water fermenting. A good way to remove this skin is by rubbing it with an abrasive washing up pad. Or dry for a few hours and peel off with fingers. After you've completed this process for all beans wash them and dry in the shade for 1-2 weeks.
• Break off the second casing in whatever way you get success (this is usually the longest step and hulling machines can be purchased). You can physically peel off the second silvery skin with fingernails or by bending the bean. Or rub the bean pod against particle board. Letting the beans really dry out should make it easier to remove the skin.
• Roast the beans in a medium oven for around 5-6 minutes until you hear the first crack, then reduce the heat for another 5 or 6 minutes until you hear the second crack, then remove the roasted beans from the oven and cool quickly (e.g. throw into the freezer). Or keep checking on their colour until it is golden brown for a light roast or dark for a strong brew (always roast slightly less than you want as they continue to cook outside the oven until cooled). You can then store the beans in a cool dark place before grinding.
Please pick every berry, or net the plant, as birds may spread the coffee plant into the bush via the berries. Self pollinating = only need one plant to fruit.
Limited stock: only 3 plants per customer please
It is happy with part shade such as that provided by a bush of some sort planted alongside, but can grow in full sun. Protect from frost. There is a viable coffee plantation at Berry in NSW, 100km south of Sydney, but this is as far south as its grown commercially. Try planting a little deeper than originally (with just sand in the top layer) to encourage more root growth.