Posted Sun Apr 3, 2005, 5:44am Subject: Re: Growing Coffee in Florida
By way of clarification, she states, " Yes 30-40 pounds of fresh fruit in the 3rd year. That equals about 5-6 pounds of green."
That's almost a 7:1 ratio. Who said coffee processing isn't hard work? Then you have spread and dry the beans. In some of the countries of origin, green coffee sells for around $1.00 per pound which is a yield of about $5 per tree. Knowing this certainly adds to my appreciation of what it takes to produce the world's favorite brew!
You are correct. This whole Florida coffee thing is fraught wth issues. Yes, coffee can not tolerate frost---period.
And don't get me started on the "real coffee" idea. Gads.
I am usually a pessimist but somehow this scientist sees coffee carts in his future when he has only studied and grown coffee for 2 years. Theplants are hardly producing at 2 years. According to a source of mine, FL wanted to coem up with an alternate crop that could handle frost because the citrus could not.
Oops sorry this is an old post that I am replying to.
I'm skeptical - usually coffee plants won't produce anything worth harvesting until they are mature - 5 years or older. Second, altitude has EVERYTHING to do with it - so I would imagine what he is producing would be an inferior grade bean comparable to a poor Robusta at best.
Sure, the plants can grow - I live in Georgia and have a half dozen myself. They are very young sprouts, but looking good. I have no intention of even trying to harvest - I'm growing them as an office decoration.
My mom lives in Delray Beach, less than an hour from Davie, so I might head down to his shop/bar and taste for myself (granted, the current stuff carefully tended under controlled home conditions will probably show far better in the cup than will his eventual crop). I can personally attest to the fact that southeast Fla. DOES get the occasional frost--twice in the past three years I've visited in Feb. and awakened to frost--not just condensation--that I've had to scrape off my car windows. But I'm sure he's prepared for that, with smudge pots, insulating sprayers (ice-encased plants can't get colder than 32 degrees F) and nighttime tarps and burlap covers. It's gonna be so labor-intensive that he may have to set his prices too high to be competitive--and also bear in mind that minimum-wage and benefits laws Stateside will make him pay his pickers and tenders far more than his foreign competitors (probably a major factor in Kona's relatively high price as well).
As to the altitude question, although it is true that the best Arabicas are high-grown, it is also interesting to note that a lowland coffee--grown in the decidedly low-altitude Brazilian state of Bahia--has been chosen by Intelligentsia as one of its "Cup of Excellence" offerings.
Sandy www.sandyandina.com ------------------- Life's too short to drink lousy coffee, play crummy guitars and write with ballpoint pens.
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