Coffee – Growing In Atlanta?

Q: I heard you talking about coffee beans on the radio but I didn’t hear if we can grow them in Georgia.

A: There are dozens of species of coffee plants, several of which yield beans from which coffee can be brewed. The plant I saw on my recent garden trip to Costa Rica was Coffea arabica. There, I viewed hundreds upon hundreds of acres of six-foot-tall evergreen shrubs having branches lined with small red and green fruit. The red “cherries” could be squeezed to yield a sweet pulp and one or two seeds (beans). Coffee plants do not tolerate freezing temperatures, so you won’t get your morning java from a backyard shrub. I’ve seen ads for coffee plants to grow as houseplants but they yield too few beans to make them worthwhile for your daily brew.