Island Gardener Growing Coffee Trees

Island Gardener Growing Coffee Trees
Who knew you could grow coffee trees on St. Joseph Island? Well, it’s a fact. Avid gardener Ruth Stevens has one inside her home on the Mountain, and another spending the summer out on the porch.

Coffee cherries with the beans growing inside.
Coffee cherries with the beans growing inside.
Ruth welcomed the challenge of trying to grow her own coffee several years ago, when Heather Hoffman of the St. Joseph Island Coffee Roasters offered her a couple of tiny trees.

A friend gifted Heather 5 trees, which her husband had come across at an expo in Toronto. Heather admits “I hadn’t been having great luck with houseplants since we moved to the island, so I thought maybe Ruth with her green-thumb would like to take two of them.”

Those two tiny plants have grown slow and steady under Ruth’s care. She has repotted them once and says, “It’s almost time to move them up to a bigger pot again.”  

Outdoor tree getting some wind and rain today.
Outdoor tree getting some wind and rain today.

The largest tree is at least 5 feet tall, with dark green, shiny leaves that look almost fake. It finally came into bloom this spring, with dainty white flowers. Ruth hand pollinated the blossoms, with a 100% success rate. Soon little bunches of coffee cherries (as Heather calls them) started to develop.

Ruth’s husband Edwin has done a bit of research online and says, “The fruit start out green and eventually turn red when they’re ripe, but with the trees living indoors, we have no idea how long this could take.”

When the time comes, Ruth plans on processing and roasting the beans to enjoy a well-deserved pot of coffee.