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Field Preparation for Coffee

India in the year 2021-2022 alone produced 3.69 lakh tonnes of coffee. The world’s largest coffee producers are Brazil, Vietnam, Columbia, Indonesia and Ethiopia. India ranks as the world’s seventh-largest coffee producer. In India, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are the largest producers of coffee. Indian coffee is regarded as one of the strongest blends. Indian coffee, however, is extensively exported by almost 80% of the total coffee produced. India exports to Italy,  Germany, Russia, Spain, Belgium, Slovenia, United States and the United Kingdom. There are two kinds of coffee that are cultivated: Arabica and Robusta. 

Difficulty Level: Hard

Selection of Seeds

There are two major types, arabica and robusta. The popular hybrids from those two types are  Kent, S-795, Cauvery, and Selection 9. 

Coffee Seed Treatment

Coffee seeds are usually bought from credible retailers as producing coffee seeds from coffee beans is very hard. Coffee seeds are treated with Azospirillum and phosphobacteria. Coffee seeds are not treated with too many chemicals as the seeds are sensitive to different chemicals and can affect the germination process. The coffee seed’s coat must be removed carefully. The seeds are then washed in a 1% solution of sodium hypochlorite. The seeds are then immediately washed in demineralized water to remove any chemical residue. The seeds are then soaked for 48 hours. 

Nursery Bed Preparation for Coffee

Coffee saplings are usually bought and planted, as getting coffee saplings from seed is very hard, time-consuming and delicate. Coffee saplings in nurseries are usually raised in polythene bags. The bag is mixed with a thin layer of fine soil, vermiculite and humus. The seeds are then individually sown and kept in shade. The germination takes 2.5 months. The coffee seeds are very sensitive, therefore too much water or too little can kill the seeds.

Land Preparation for Coffee

 The field must be weed free. The field must be cleaned without any debris. The field must be on a sloppy surface for better water management. The field must be soil tested before any nutrient or manure application. Based on soil test results, apply lime accordingly. Adding bulky organic manures like FYM or compost at 5 tonnes/ha is a thumb rule. The saplings are usually planted in a shaded condition, usually with an accompanying agroforestry crop. 

Soil Type Requirements for Coffee

Coffee is usually planted on a well drained soil with high humus content and with pH of 5 to 6. The soil has to be acidic, and this has to be maintained. The soil must be tested every 2 years to find out the fertility level. 


Coffee is a very hard crop to cultivate and is extremely sensitive. Coffee, however, if cultivated properly will fetch the farmer high return on investment. 


  1. What are the popular varieties and hybrids of coffee?

Variety – Arabica and Robusta 

Hybrid – Kent, S – 795, Cauvery, and Selection 9 

  1. How to do seed treatment for coffee seeds?

Treat the coffee beans/seeds with 10 ml of Azospirillium (SUN BIO AZOS) or Phosphobacteria (SUN BIO PHOSI) mixed with cold jaggery solution. Dry the treated seeds in shade before sowing and use it on the same day. 

  1. What is the germination period for the seeds?

It is 2.5 months. 

  1. Is there any specific growth condition for coffee?

The saplings are usually planted in a shaded condition, usually with an accompanying agroforestry crop. 

  1. What are the major plantation trees grown to provide shade to coffee?

Coffee grows in a 3 – tier shade system.  The lower shade tier is usually a nitrogen fixing species like Erythrina or Glyricidia. The secondary tier is of trees like silver oak, white or red cedar which provides effective shade during monsoon by shedding leaves. The tertiary tier is of hardwood trees.  

  1. What type of soilis ideal for coffee cultivation?

Well-drained loamy soil is ideal for coffee cultivation. 

  1. How is irrigation done for coffee?

Over-head irrigation by sprinkler system is adopted to a greater advantage during Nov – Jan to keep the soil moisture level and Feb – April to ensure blossom as well as backing, if necessary. 

  1. What is the fertilizer recommendation for coffee?

The general dose of fertilizer recommendation and its commercial quantity for young bushes up to 4th year is given in the table below. 

Year  NPK dose (gram/plant/year)  Fertilizers (gram/plant/year) 
Urea  Rock Phosphate  MOP 
1 year  20:10:20  43  33  33 
2 year  20:10:20  43  33  33 
3 year  25:15:25  54  50  42 
4 year  25:15:25  54  50  42 
1 year  38:28:38  83  92  63 
2 year  38:28:38  83  92  63 
3 year  38:28:38  83  92  63 
4 year  40:30:40  87  99  67 

Fertilizer requirement and commercial quantity for mature yielding coffee is given in the table below. 

Bearing bush   NPK dose (kg/acre)  Fertilizer (kg/acre) 
Urea  Rock Phosphate  MOP 
Yield level (kg/acre) 
1000  120:90:120  260  297  200 
500  70:50:70  152  165  117 
1000  120:90:130  260  297  217 
500  70:50:80  152  165  134 


Note: The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Nothing herein shall be construed to be financial or legal advice. Pesticides are a considerable risk of loss in crops and viewers are advised to do their own research before making any decisions.

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