How long does it take to grow coffee beans?

In this text, we are going to answer the question: “How long does it take to grow coffee beans?”. In addition, we are going to discuss the growing conditions for the coffee plant.

How long does it take to grow coffee beans?

The coffee trees take approximately five years to have their first crop, and they will be productive for about fifteen years. The fertilization process is completed within 24-48 hours after pollination and germination occurs in about 45 days. The fruit normally reaches maturity in 7-9 months.

What are the growing conditions for coffee?

The coffee plantation has climatic requirements for the culture to have the best development. The agro-climatic zoning of arabica coffee considers the average annual temperature (Tma) between 18°C ​​and 23°C and the annual water deficit (DHA) of less than 150 mm as suitable areas for coffee cultivation.

Another factor to be taken into account is the altitude of the area, as it directly influences the temperature. Every 100m more, minus 1°C in average temperature.

Topography concerns the relief of a given area; the topoclimate, on the other hand, refers to climatic factors conditioned by the relief, generally related to the configuration of the terrain and exposure to the sun.

Thinking about the topoclimate, the relief regulates the exposure to sunlight. This interferes with two practical aspects: exposure to the setting sun and the accumulation of cold air.

The correction and fertilization recommendations for coffee are all based on the layer 0 to 20 cm of the soil. In some cases, 20 to 40 cm.

Is coffee a fruit?

The fruit of the coffee tree, known as berry or cherry, consists of a smooth and resistant outer skin (pericarp – bark) green in fruit immature and violet-red or dark red when ripe (yellow or orange in particular genotypes). 

The pericarp covers the yellowish and fibrous fraction, known as the external pulp or mesocarp. The next layer is the mucilage, a thin, translucent, colorless, viscous and highly hydrated layer of pectin.

So, there is a thin yellowish endocarp, also called the parchment. Finally, there is a silvery film that covers each hemisphere of the coffee beans.

How is the coffee bean processed after growing and harvesting?

Coffee bean processing can be done in three different ways: dry, semi-wet and wet. In the wet process, the pulp of the fruit that covers the coffee seeds is removed by a pulper before they are dry. 

Then there is the fermentation step in order to release the parchment mucilage, which takes about 24 to 72 hours, depending on the concentration of pectinolytic enzymes, ambient temperature and species of grain. The ideal temperature for fermentation is 30-35 °C and the coffee masses should be shaken 2 or 3 times. 

After fermentation, washing is carried out to complete removal of mucilage. After washing, the seed is immersed in water cleans for 12 hours, which results in improved visual appearance and grain quality through the removal of diterpenes and polyphenolic substances.

The washed beans are drained and destined for the drying stage. These are distributed in layers with thicknesses of 5 cm and shaken frequently to ensure uniform drying. Strong solar radiations are avoided on the 3rd and 4th day of drying during midday. Drying ends when the beans reach moisture of approximately 10%.

In the semi-moist method, the fruits are pulped and the mucilage is also withdrawn. However, the mucilage is removed by a mechanical method and not by fermentation and then the beans are destined for drying, not going through the washing step. 

In the dry method, the harvested fruits are spread evenly to a thickness of about 8 cm on a clean terrace. They are shaken once every hour. Cherries are considered dry when a handful of coffee produces a rattling sound when shaken. Coffee beans are normally completely dry in 12-15 days in good weather conditions. 

Dried beans are not exposed to the washing step to prevent mold formation, which can negatively affect the quality of the coffee. drying suitable contributes to a good quality coffee in relation to color, shape and aromatic constituents.

Is there any residue left after processing the coffee beans?

Considering that more than 50% of the coffee fruit is discarded, the coffee production leads to a high amount of residues such as coffee husks, of which only a small percentage is reused. 

The utilization of agricultural waste is attractive as it is abundant and of low economic value, in addition to its use to avoid direct and indirect competition with human and animal food.

The coffee husk and pulp, comprising about 45% of the fruit, are the main by-products of agro-industrial coffee and can be material valuable for various purposes including caffeine and polyphenols.


In this text, we answered the question: “How long does it take to grow coffee beans?”. In addition, we discussed the growing conditions for the coffee plant.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.