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Growing coffee in Brisbane

Updated on February 10, 2013

Brisbane Locksmith grows coffee

Brisbane has a great climate for growing your own coffee. Easy to grow Easy to process.

Why buy coffee when you can easily make it better and fresher then the shops.

This describes a simple process anyone can do in their home.

You can also buy green coffee beans if you want to skip the growing,pulping,fermenting,hulling steps (all the fun bits). and get straight to the roasting and drinking.

It makes it easy to see the difference between good and bad coffee once you have produced your own.

Fruiting coffee tree lots of coffee for Brisbane Locksmith in Morningside
Fruiting coffee tree lots of coffee for Brisbane Locksmith in Morningside

Coffee trees for planting in Brisbane

There are two main types of coffee trees you can select for planting.

They are Arabica and Robusta. They both will grow in Brisbane and are very similar.

Generally Arabica gives the better cup of coffee. It is much smoother and has less caffeine then Robusta. Arabica has a smaller fruit and you will require more arabica fruit then you would Robusta.

Coffee trees grow to a height of about 10 meters, but can easily be pruned

For small back yards and smaller spaces there are miniature coffee species available.

Coffee trees can be grown in full sunlight or in a shady position. They will grow under the shade of other trees and the miniature varieties can provide a under canopy rainforest effect in a garden.

Robusta coffee trees require other Robusta trees for polinization, so you will need at least 2 to get fruit.

Coffee trees need regular fertilizer especially nitrogen rich fertilizers.

Coffee Fruit in Brisbane
Coffee Fruit in Brisbane

Picking and Pulping.

Pick the coffee fruit when it is ripe. It is ripe when it turns red or purple. Dont pick the fruit green as you will not be able to seperate the seed from the fruit.

Pulping is simply the removal of the seed from the fruit. When the fruit is ripe the seed can easily be squeezed from the fruit. If you have a large amount of fruit there are pulping machines available as pulping a large number of fruit is rather time consuming

You can remove the seed faster using piece of flat timber to squeeze the seeds out rather then your fingers. After a bit of parctice it becomes quite fast.

Remove as much of the fruit from the seed as you can.

Wash the seeds in a bucket to remove pulp. Swirling the water, the beans will drop to the bottom and the debris can be removed from the top of the water. Floating beans should be discarded.

Pulping machine

If you find your self with too many beans to process by hand. Look for one of thes pulping machines in Brisbane

Brisbane coffee beans fermenting
Brisbane coffee beans fermenting


At this stage the beans will feel really slippery. There is a layer of slimy fruit that has to be removed. To remove it the beans are fermented for 24-36 hours. Underfermenting is better then overfermenting.

To ferment the beans place them in a food grade bucket and fill with water. Just leave them to ferment. You will start to see bubbles in the water from the fermentation process.

The beans have finished fermenting when they are no longer slimy. To check for sliminess, grab a couple of beans and wash them in some water. Give them a bit of a rub with your fingers to remove the slime.

If the slime can be removed and the beans fo not feel slimy any more then that is what you want and the beans are ready to be washed again.

Wash the beans in water. Give them a gentle rub to remove an slime. Soon you will feel that they are no longer slimy.

Wash and remove as much pulp, etc as you can.

Coffee beans dryied in Balmoral Brisbane
Coffee beans dryied in Balmoral Brisbane

Drying in the Brisbane climate

After fermenting the beans need to be dried.

The easiest way is to just place them on trays as thinly as possible. They dont have to be in a single layer, but air needs to be able to get through the beans.

Try to avoid direct sunlight on the beans. When they are wet they will split if they are dried too fast. So just keep them in the shaed outside.

Give them a regular stir and keep them out of the rain.

I have never seen anything eat the beans, but try to keep them away from possums, rats, etc,

Dry the beans for a couple of weeks.

They will go crispy. You need to dry them enough so they can be stored and not go mouldy. Not dried to the point where they have no moisture at all. Think of a pistatio.

Commercial coffee hulling machine for your Brsibane coffee to sip at St Lucia
Commercial coffee hulling machine for your Brsibane coffee to sip at St Lucia

Hulling your Brisbane grown coffee

Hulling is just a fancy name for removing the husk around the seed.

The easiest way to remove the husk is to use a food processor.

You need to blunten the blades of the food processor so as not to cut the beans. Run the food processor on low speed for a couple of minutes until all the coffee beans are free of their husk.

Use compressed air or a hair dryer to blow away the husk leaving the bean behind.

Of course there are fancy machines available for large quantities of beans. But the food processor is quite addequate. Especially if you want to Hull and roast small amounts at the same time.

Roasting the Brisbane grown coffee beans
Roasting the Brisbane grown coffee beans

Roasting your Brisbane grown coffee

For the freshest coffee it is best to roast the coffee just before using it. You can buy a purpose built coffee roaster or you can roast it in the oven.

The easies way to roast small amounts of coffee is to use a popcorn maker. Popcorn makers produce hot air and this is best for roasting. Hot air does not burn the beans like roasting in an oven can.

Using a popcorn maker you will see the coffee beans change colours and they will start to smoke. When you first smell the caramell the beans are done.

The roasting caramelises the oils in the bean and creates the coffee taste and smell.

Use the beans fresh or store them for grinding later

Hulling and Roasting your Brisbane coffee

Roast your own Brisbane grown coffee

Coffee Tree Flowering again

24 hour locksmith coffee tree flowering
24 hour locksmith coffee tree flowering

Our coffee trees are starting to flower again. It is now 20 November, almost Summer. This is the start of the 2nd crop this season.

Tell us about your coffee growing/processing/drinking experiences

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      othellos 4 years ago

      Excellent lens. Thank you for sharing all the informative details here. I had so much fun learning a few more details at least about the whole process.

    • locksmithbrisbane profile image

      John Magee 5 years ago from Brisbane

      @ohcaroline: Yeah, it is a bit of a mission. But you will be surprised how much better it tastes then bought coffee.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 5 years ago

      I had no idea there was so much involved in preparing beans for grinding. Very informative.