Jack and I are not big coffee drinkers, but we're coffee admirers. We enjoy coffee like we do wine...occasionally.
The other day, Jack returned home from a rash of errand-tending stops, and mentioned he had picked up another plant...on sale, of course...because it had looked so lonely and besides, you KNOW we can grow it here....
Heehee...we're pretty awful at sticking to any moratorium on collecting more useful plants.
It turns out he found a 4 1/2 foot coffee tree for $12, which is an unusually affordable price in our location here, especially for that size tree. By the time the end of the week came along, we'd bought the remaining 3 coffee trees they still had, still at the low sales price. I really hope we can make a go of these, because they are really healthy, good specimens...and one already had berries!
Our mango has gotten sunburned and stressed in the extreme temps, and about half of each leaf has turned brown. We brought it onto the lanai, out of the direct sun. That's where the 4 coffee trees now reside, because they're supposed to be shade-loving but are supposed to be hardy in our zone and in even hotter zones. I'm holding my breath that we can keep them healthy. They can't get below 68 degrees in the winter, supposedly, so we'll always need to keep them sheltered in the winter. I hope we know what we're doing!
Here's a pic of the first of the coffee arabica berries. Each berry, when ripe, should yield 2 coffee beans apiece.
Here you can see the one of the coffees snuggled up against the crispy brown (recovering) mango...
Jack's mother is from Cuba and once a year she used to go to a friend's country plot, where he raised fruits and vegetables...and had coffee trees. A single picking of a single coffee tree would net her a brown grocery sack full to the top with the ripe berries, which she would take home. This was during a time in which luxury items, such as coffee, were quite scarce there. It would take some days, or perhaps weeks, for her to process the coffee all the way to the roasting of the beans. Then she would divide up the precious commodity into small parcels and use it as barter power on the active (underground?) trading that went on privately, despite the communist restrictions. She kept aside enough for her family for one year, and still had enough left to barter.
If you've had any experience growing coffee trees yourself, I'd love any tips and advice you might have. I hope these trees can survive our learning curve :)