How Big Does a Coffee Plant Get?

Coffee is a widely consumed product that most consumers don’t know much about. Many people eventually become curious to learn about coffee bean production. One commonly asked question is about how tall coffee plants grow.

This article sheds some light on coffee plant height, how it varies and why.

How big does a coffee plant get?

A typical commercial coffee plant will grow up to 16 feet (5 meters) in height. Many producers trim their coffee trees down to about 6 feet (2 meters) to promote a higher concentration of coffee fruit growth and to make them easier to harvest.

If left untouched, wild coffee plants can grow taller than 30 feet after many years of maturation. Tall coffee trees are more difficult to harvest from, so smaller-sized plants are preferred for commercial cultivars.

Do all coffee plants have the same height?

Coffee plants vary greatly in height depending on what species they are, how long they’ve been planted for, and whether or not they’re being used for commercial coffee bean production.

There are a few genuses of coffee plants, each with dozens of species. Each of the more than 100 coffee plant species vary slightly in height and produce different tasting coffee beans.

Coffee plants grow at a variety of altitudes and in varying temperatures, which affects the height, yield and taste of the coffee plant.

What is the best coffee plant height?

Coffee producers prefer trimming their coffee plants to around 6 feet (2 meters) so they are easier to harvest coffee fruit from. Also, shorter plants tend to yield a higher concentration of coffee fruit. Shorter coffee plants are preferred because they can be harvested more easily by hand and without additional harvesting equipment.

Does coffee plant height affect bean size?

Studies have shown that the size of coffee beans is not affected by coffee tree height[1]. However, each coffee genus and species will produce slightly different bean sizes from one another.

Notably, the arabica and robusta coffee genuses are commonly known to produce very different bean sizes. Robusta beans tend to be shorter and rounder, whereas arabic beans tend to be more elongated.

What affects coffee plant height?

Coffee plant height is largely dependant on rainfall, altitude and temperature of its growing environment. And optimal climate is between 50-80 inches of rainfall, 18-21°C (64-70°F), and and altitude of between 1,300-1,500m (4,265-4,921 feet).

However, many coffees are grown above and below this altitude range and in varying temperatures. These differing climates cause coffee plants to grow to different heights and produce substantially different tasting coffee.

How long does it take a coffee plant to reach its full height?

Coffee plants take between 5-7 years to start consistently yielding coffee fruit. However, new cultivars can take as long as 25 years to fully mature[1].

How big do indoor coffee plants get?

Indoor coffee plants can realistically grow to between 6-8 feet (1.8-2.4m). This is about the size that commercial coffee plants are trimmed down to. Indoor coffee plant growth is limited to the potting size and environmental constraints of being inside.

References

  1. Ruiz, G. M. (2004). Obtención de variedades de café con resistencia durable a enfermedades, usando la diversidad genética como estrategia de mejoramiento. Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Fisicas y Naturales, 28(107), 187-201.

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