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Canopy for Coffee

Coffee arabica was discovered in the Ethiopian highlands. And now it has been cultivated in cool to warm tropical climates across the globe. Small-scale farmers produce about 70 percent of the world’s coffee.

Coffee arabica at Forest Hut farm

We’re coffee lovers & knowing that IUCN 3.1 had put it in Endangered (EN) category, we had to try growing coffee here.

We’ve been experimenting with growing Coffee arabica in shade of native canopy from last 3 years. The results are very promising. Our Coffee arabica plants have been fruiting from last 2 years.

What is even more encouraging is to see tens of seedlings coming up below these coffee plants on its own. It confirms that our valley has a conducive macro & microclimate for Coffee arabica.

Young Coffee arabica saplings at Forest Hut farm in December 2022
Young Coffee arabica saplings at Forest Hut farm in December 2022

We believe that these volunteer saplings will be more resilient & well adapted to Velvandi Valley climate. We cannot wait to transplant these young ones in coming monsoon & watch them grow. 

Optimal Coffee arabica Growing Conditions

Optimal coffee-growing conditions include cool to warm tropical climates and rich soils. The optimal temperature range is 18oC – 21oC. It can tolerate mean annual temperatures up to roughly 24oC. Above those moderate temperatures fruit development and ripening accelerate. Faster ripening might not sound bad, but it actually degrades coffee bean quality.

Importance of Native tree shade for Coffee arabica growth

Due to climate change, shaded coffee plantations are being proposed as a solution to a rising temperatures & increasing pests. Shaded native trees buffer coffee from microclimate extremes and provide abundant habitat for animals likely to feed on bugs like the berry borer.

Additionally, the roots of different vegetations, trees, and spices intermingle beneath the earth and provide intense depth and flavor to the coffee bean including a rich, complex bouquet. Shade grown coffee has several advantages; The slow growth and maturation process makes for lower acidity, and a more complex flavor profile.

I wouldn’t be lying if I say that coffee is one of the reasons why we have been working on creating a native canopy at Forest Hut farm.

Here are more reasons to have a native canopy;

4 responses to “Canopy for Coffee”

  1. Raksha Avatar

    Wow! All of us in Florida and North Carolina are excited to know about Coffee Arabica at Forest Hut farm!

    1. Maulik Dave Avatar

      It is exciting prospect, indeed.

      Before continental drift, it was all one land – Africa & Indian subcontinent. No wonder folks at Velvandi valley have been growing Niger seeds for generations unknown – again, Niger is said to be native to Ethiopia.

  2. Jayant Kotadia Avatar
    Jayant Kotadia

    Excellent study on coffee plantation in new area. It should inspire many in taking up coffee cultivation. Keep it up!!

    1. Maulik Dave Avatar

      Thank you, Kaka.

      Indeed. It seems that shaded tree coffee plantation has an ability to
      1. Support sustainable economic activities
      2. Regenerate & preserve biodiversity

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