Coffee Growing Systems: find out how to grow coffee


Both the quantity and the quality of the coffee produced on a farm depend on coffee growing systems. But, how coffee grows? Did you know that the best coffees in the world grow under the shade of trees, in a cold climate? If you love coffee and want to know it grows, here we are going to explain the main coffee growing systems. There are many cultivation arrangements and these arrangements depend on variables such as,

  • The total area to be used for growing coffee,
  • The climate and soil conditions existing in the coffee farm,
  • The specific objectives of the coffee grower,
  • The degree of technology that the grower wants to apply.

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Types of coffee farms

The mini-farms are farms of less than one hectare and the small plantations range between 1 and 5 hectares. It is the grower who carries out all the cultivation tasks. 25 years ago a grower could live comfortably on the produce of a 4 hectare coffee farm. Today it is no longer possible with current coffee prices. Most of the coffee farms in countries such as Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Jamaica, Central America and African countries are smallholdings.

Medium farms are those with an area planted in coffee between 7 and 20 hectares. The Large coffee farms can have hundreds of hectares cultivated in coffee. It is necessary to hire employees to carry out all the work of the crop.

According to the variety grown

Both the variety and the coffee harvesting system are determining aspects of the way in which it is decided to establish a coffee crop. Robusta coffee plants are large in size and produce larger cherries than Arabica varieties. In this cultivation system, sowing, tree pruning, fertilization, spraying, and harvesting are carried out with machinery.

In traditional system for growing of Arabic coffees, coffee plantations are planted in a mountain landscape. And all the cultivation tasks are done by hand because in sloping topography it is not possible to do mechanized agriculture. Traditional coffee growing systems are established under the shade of leguminous trees. In these cultivation systems the plants are planted at a greater distance from each other.

Intensive coffee farming systems

The coffee-growing countries began to see that the world market demanded more and more coffee production. The way to meet customers was to achieve a highly productive intensive coffee growing. With new varieties resistant to rust and more productive, the traditional system of growing coffee under shade was disappearing. Intensive coffee farming promoted planting densities of between 7,000 and up to 11,000 plants per hectare. And depending on the weather and management conditions, more than 5,000 kilos of dry parchment coffee can be obtained per hectare per year.


If you are thinking that coffee producers should return to traditional farming systems, you are correct. Today the coffee growers are returning to the tradition of their grandparents, to obtain a smaller quantity of coffee per unit of area but of better quality and with a lower demand in terms of chemical fertilizers. Now that you know how coffee grows, do you know of any other coffee growing system that is carried out successfully? Check out to know in detail about it.

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