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Can you grow coffee in the UK?


Everyone loves coffee! There are so many varieties and styles of coffee you can get: lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, frappuccinos, and much more. Therefore, you might be interested in growing your own coffee for a change instead of getting it from the shop, or in coffee shops like Costa, Starbucks, or Caffe Nero. The question is: can you grow coffee in the UK? In this article, we will answer this question and what possible options there are for brewing it without having to go to a barrister.

Growing Coffee in the UK

Although it would be easy to say no here, the alternative is not so simple. Coffee beans like to be grown in warm conditions, and unfortunately, for two-thirds of the year, the UK does not have warm weather. Whilst it is better to enjoy your own foods that have been freshly grown and not swimming in pesticides and preservations like most shop ingredients are, growing coffee still requires a lot of time and effort. Even under the right growing environments like polytunnels and greenhouses, coffee can be difficult to grow in these conditions due to not being able to get access to rainforest-like conditions.

Since coffee beans stem from coffee plants, these will be your best bet for growing coffee in the UK. Coffee plants bring other luxuries too, including small white flowers when the plant blossoms, alongside cherry-like fruits.

How to grow coffee plants

Polytunnels can be affected by freezing temperatures, and therefore, will have an impact on the plants growing inside. Keep the temperature inside your polytunnel ranging between 16-24°C throughout the year. This will help the growth of coffee plants, especially since they need loam-based compost to grow.

Regularly watering the plant and using fertiliser on it each month will sustain growth. Coffee plants also need bright but indirect sunlight and plenty of humidity. Conservatories or bathrooms are also a good spot to grow a coffee plant in as well.

coffea arabica plant for how to grow coffee in the UK

Where to grow a coffee plant?

Coffea arabica plants like humid temperatures whereupon they can get plenty of bright but indirect sunlight. Too much sunlight can lead to the plant’s leaves getting scorched. Draughts should also be avoided too. Be wary of frost when growing coffee plants in the colder months of the year since this can damage the plant.

You can buy coffee plants from numerous online retailers, too, including:

How to Dry Coffee Plants

With plenty of considered time and effort, soon your coffee beans should be ready to be dried out. When you have harvested them, they will not yet be their usual brown colour, but rather, green. Disregard the fruit of damaged cherries. Soak the crop which will remove the pulp from the plant.

Make sure that you use appropriate drying equipment that is not commercial. Spread the coffee beans in sunlight to get them to dry. This will take about 14 days to do, so you will need a long, fortnight spell of warm, sunny weather in the UK for this to happen. Too much humidity will turn the beans moldy.

How to Prune Coffee Plants

In their natural habitat, coffee plants can grow up to 8m across 5-10 years. However, when grown indoors, they can be pruned to a sensible size. Cut the stems during the spring, at a 45° angle located just above the leaf joint.

scattered coffee beans for growing them in the UK

Problems with coffee plants

Whilst growing coffee plants in the UK is a great challenge, it does have its additional problems: being prone to pests and diseases. Effective methods can be used to get rid of these problems, but it might affect the overall condition of the plant.

Red spider mites

red spider mites on coffee plants

The most common pest to coffee plants is the glasshouse red spider mite, which can often be found feeding on the plant’s sap. Signs of the presence of a spider mite are if leaves have started dropping off or mottled.

Since coffee arabica needs warm conditions to grow, so do spider mites. Watch out for their eggs and webbing that can be found close to the plant. They are not easy to get rid of. Use biological equipment to help get rid of them without damaging the coffee plant.

Xylella fastidiosa

A common disease for coffee plants is Xylella fastidiosa (Xylella) which can destroy the plant. This can be caused from if the plant was grown in different countries, so make sure to check that the coffee plant that you have purchased was grown in the UK, since UK grown plants are less prone to contract the disease. 

How to Roast Coffee Beans

Lastly, you need to know how to roast your coffee beans now that they have survived this challenging process of growing coffee in the UK. Fortunately, this is the simplest process to do for coffee beans and can be done using as little equipment as a frying pan.

Of course, if you have a home roasting machine, this will be preferable and will provide better results. Simply warm up the coffee beans at a steady temperature of 100°C and wait for them to turn into their glorious, and recognisable, brown colour.

If you have your own coffee machine, you can add the coffee beans into it as they are, or alternatively, you can crush them into a grounded powder so that they can be used in more traditional places, and will also be easier to carry around too.

After all, you do not want this arduous process to end in disaster just to make your own coffee. It is a shame that coffee cannot be grown commercially in the UK but that is what happens when there is unpredictable weather.

Sometimes sticking to commercial blends that have been collected from all over the world is the way to go. Remember, with whatever coffee beans you have left over, you can collect them and add them for composting.

Have you tried adding these beautiful climbing plants to garden archways?

The Growing Coffee Challenge Exclusive to the UK

So, there you have it; there is the essential information that you need to know about growing coffee in the UK using a Coffea arabica plant. this process is easier said than done, and many gardeners do agree that it is a difficult process to get right, and is purely something one should do as a different exercise rather than for consistent growing like usual fruits and vegetables.

If you are fortunate enough to grow coffee in the UK at the right time of year, you may well notice a distinct difference of flavoring within your own coffee blend compared to shop-bought ones. Only time will tell.


  • Can you grow coffee in the UK greenhouse?

Whilst growing coffee in a UK greenhouse would give it the right amount of temperature, it also needs contact with rain in order to survive. Coffee beans grown in a greenhouse would only bring disappointing results.

  • How many years does it take to grow coffee?

Growing coffee beans in the UK can take up to nine years in total. This is because most coffee plants will only begin to bear fruits once they are six years old. In order to get consistent growth and crops from the plant, it will need three more years to produce the right quality of coffee fruits.

  • Where is UK coffee grown?

Cornwall is the likeliest place that coffee will be grown and harvested in the UK. The Eden Project, which is located in Cornwall, hosts Arabica plants in the rainforest biome which brings the perfect conditions for the coffee beans to be grown.


Suttons. (n.d.). Houseplant Seeds Barista®. [Accessed 17.03.23]. Available at: https://www.suttons.co.uk/flower-seeds/house-plant-seeds/houseplant-seeds-barista_mh-63926?utm_source=AWIN&utm_medium=affiliates&awc=25121_1678436112_c916d0226ebab22cb7f13fe06e107e9c

Thompson & Morgan. (n.d.). Arabian Coffee Plant House Plant Seeds.[Accessed 17.03.23]. Available at: https://www.thompson-morgan.com/p/arabian-coffee-plant-house-plant-seeds/wkb5909TM

Anna Sharples

Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches - a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.

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