For propagation of Arabica coffee, ripe red cherries are collected, pulped, and the mucilage is removed by fermentation. The freshly picked coffee beans can either be planted immediately or dried for later use. Coffee drying takes place on wire mesh trays in the shade. Correctly storing coffee beans is essential for a longer seed life. Dried coffee seeds can be used up to a year or more if properly stored.

There are two basic methods for the germination of seeds.

Coffee bean germination

  1. Coffee seeds are pre-germinated by spreading them out on a sand bed and covering them with moist burlap bag sacks or straw. The seeds are watched closely and removed as soon as radicals emerge.
  2. Mixing coffee seeds with moist vermiculite or expanded polystyrene are kept in a polythene bag. Coffee seedlings are then grown in nursery beds or polybags and are planted in the coffee fields when they reach 8-16 inches.

Growing coffee seeds in nursery beds

Once germinated, the coffee seedlings are planted in nursery beds containing soil consisting of manure and fertilizer. Nursery beds are usually around 40 inches wide and 20 inches deep and seedlings are spaced between 4-6 inches apart or double that depending on the plant species height. The nursery beds are 50% shaded for the first couple of months. Shading is reduced slowly and completely removed the last two months before planting coffee seedlings.