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How To Harvest & Sow Coffee Seeds [Handy Guide]

The flavorful hot cup of relaxing Coffee comes after the tedious task of extracting, processing and germinating Coffee seeds.

Harvest ripe Coffee fruits and squeeze the greenish-white seeds. For germinating Coffee seeds, soak them in water for 24-48 hours before sowing them 1-1.25 centimeters deep in well-draining, nutrient-rich, acidic soil maintained at 80-85°F.

Hence, reading the article from top to bottom will teach you about picking and germinating Coffee seeds easily!

What Do Coffee Seeds Look Like?

Coffee seeds are rather famous as Coffee beans.

However, Coffee beans are not true beans, at least botanically, and only look like one.

Freshly harvested Coffee seeds are greenish-white, encased inside a green skin when unripe.
Image represents the Coffee cherries
Coffee beans come from the berries of the Coffee plant, which grows in tropical regions of the world.

But, the skin changes to yellow, bright red, orange, or even pink, depending on the variety when mature.

To learn more, let’s look at the overview of the seeds from the table below.

MorphologyShape: Elliptical or Spherical

Color: Greenish-White

Size: 3-9 mm wide and 7-18 mm long

Weight: 0.12-0.17 g
Harvesting SeasonOctober to December or April to June
Germination to Fruiting TimeAbout 3-4 years
Germination Time6-8 weeks
Germination RequirementsTemperature: 80-85°F

Light: Moderate

Soil: Well-Draining and Slightly Acidic (5-7)

Sowing Depth: 1-2.5 cm

Sowing Season: Early to Mid-Winter
Germination InitiatorWater

How to Harvest Coffee Seeds?

Coffee plants are moderately fast-growing but take almost 3-4 years to flower and produce fruits when starting from germination.

Once the unripe green Coffee cherries or fruits turn bright red, yellow, orange, or pink, the seeds are ready to harvest from October to December (mid-fall to early winter).
Image represents the methods of harvesting Coffee seeds for germination
Coffee beans are ready for harvesting once the outer skin color of Coffee cherries turns bright red from green.

However, some Coffee varieties are ready to harvest from April to June (mid-spring to early summer).

But it also depends on the season, topography, and region where the Coffee plants are growing.

Once the Coffee fruits become ripe (as revealed by their color change), the seeds are ready for harvesting and further processing. 

So, follow these steps for processing Coffee seeds before planting.

Preparing Coffee Seeds from Fruits

  • Gently peel the skin from the seeds, and wash with clean water.
  • But you can also use a mortar and pestle to gently grind the ripe cherries and separate the skin.
  • Or ferment the berries in a container with water for 18 hours so the skin and remaining inner layers (pulp) fall off.

Dry Processing is a method in which the cherries are basked in the sun until their skin turns reddish-brown, which you can easily remove.

  • To discard the pulpy mucilage, steep the seeds until they become smooth.
  • Rewash them with clean water and discard those seeds that float as they are unviable for germination.
  • Lay the seeds on the mesh screen and let them dry until 20% moisture remains, but do not use direct sunlight.
Image represents the method of processing Coffee seeds
Sun-drying the Coffee beans helps to remove the outer slimy pulp and increase the shelf-life of the beans post-harvest.

You can plant the fresh seeds in the soil after separating them from the skin and pulp.

The freshly harvested seeds can stay viable under optimal conditions for almost six months.

But Coffee seeds with a pulpy covering remain viable for nearly a year.

However, after 4 months, the germination rate can go downhill.

If you are not planning to sow the seeds immediately, store them in a cool, dry place.

Coffee Seeds for Sale

You can buy the viable Coffee seeds from any links below if you cannot access a Coffee tree.

Shop/ SitesExpected Shipping Periods
Eden BrothersWithin 2-5 days after placing an order
EtsyWithin 1-3 days after placing an order
Frozen SeedsWithin 2-3 days after placing an order

How to Germinate Coffee Seeds?

Immerse the processed seeds in room temperature water for 24-48 hours before sowing. To proceed, follow the steps below.

germinating beans indoors
You can start the Coffee beans indoors in starter trays and transplant the seedlings in larger planters after they grow 6-8 inches tall.
  • Avoid pressing the soil on top of the seeds and allow the daylight to fall on the seeds.
  • Cover the seeds with a humidity dome and maintain a temperature between 80-85°F by keeping the tray on a heating mat.
  • Maintain the soil pH between 5 and 7 by adding manure and keep the tray in at least 4 hours of indirect sunlight.
  • Water to keep the soil moist and open the top of the humidity dome if moisture accumulates inside the dome.
  • Within 6-8 weeks, you can see well-developed Coffee sprouts.

If your Coffee seeds are 4 months or older, they may germinate in 4-6 months.

But fresh Coffee seeds can germinate much faster within 2-2.5 months. 

Following germination, remove the humidity dome and get ready to care for Coffee seedlings.

Care for Coffee Seedlings After Germination 

You can transplant the seedlings after they reach the 2-leafed stage.

Until then, keep the germinated seeds under the following care.

  • Ensure your Coffee seedlings get at least 4 hours of bright indirect light daily.
  • Since Coffee plants are short-day plants, they need 12+ hours of darkness. So, provide them with at least 8 hours of artificial light to compensate for the loss of sunlight.
  • Water the seedlings every 1-2 weeks to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
  • Sustain temperatures between 64-78°F and humidity levels of around 50%.
seedlings in germination tray
Coffee plants need well-draining and acidic soil to germinate.
  • Give your seedlings terracotta pots with basal drainage holes for optimal watering.
  • Transplant the seedlings to 4 inches wider and deeper planter after the seedlings reach 6-8 inches tall. 
  • Fertilize your seedling with a liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks after diluting the concentrate as instructed per pack in spring and summer.
  • Stop fertilizing the plant in fall and winter during dormancy.
  • Prune your Coffee plants about 1/4th inch above the point where the leaf attaches the main stem every spring to maintain a bushier and healthier growth.

Different varieties of Coffee plants need different germination temperatures.

Typically, Arabica Coffee seeds require a temperature between 64°F and 70°F to grow.

Likewise, Robusta Coffee seeds need surrounding temperatures of around 65-80°F to flourish.

Coffee Seeds Benefits

Whether it’s green Coffee seeds or used-up Coffee grounds, they never fall short of bestowing these mind-blowing benefits.

  • Coffee seeds keep your liver healthy by reducing the chances of liver diseases.
  • A cup of Coffee from freshly roasted beans shields your heart by reducing the chances of heart attacks.
  • According to research, the daily consumption of Coffee lowers the risk of Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases.
  • Coffee improves pancreas functionality, which regulates blood sugar levels.
  • Drinking Coffee keeps brain health intact and lowers the risk of anxiety and depression.

From Editorial Team

Don’t Over Soak Seeds!

Drench the Coffee beans to wake them up for faster germination, but ensure meticulous care to avoid rotting.

Also, before sowing, wrap them with paper towels for a few minutes to make them moisture-free.

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