Texas has a hot and dry climate with very little rain, making it challenging to cultivate coffee beans. Still, growing coffee in Texas with extra time and attention is possible.
In this article, we will break down exactly what that looks like. If you want to grow coffee in Texas, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to succeed.
Table of Contents:
- Where Does Coffee Grow Best?
- How You Can Grow Coffee in Texas
- Why You Shouldn’t Grow Coffee in Texas
Where Does Coffee Grow Best?
Coffee plants are native to the cool and warm temperatures of tropical climates. The world coffee belt is made up of those regions that are ideal for growing coffee.
Much of the world’s best coffee comes from places around the equator. This includes Western Africa, Central America, and South America.
Coffee plants prefer climates of warm summers and mild winters.
These plants are suitable for growing in higher altitudes, including on the slopes of volcanoes—a smaller percentage of coffee farms in low-lying areas or areas closer to sea level.
Texas would count as a low-lying area.
Volcanoes are perfect for growing coffee as the plants get a healthy balance of rain and sunlight.
They produce rain shadows which help to make almost year-round cloud cover. A healthy coffee plant needs adequate sunlight and water to grow, but it also needs shade.
In recent years, coffee farmers have been pushing the boundaries of where coffee can grow.
As the earth’s climate changes, areas outside of tropical regions are getting warmer year-round. Although a warmer planet isn’t favorable, it does help extend the places where coffee can grow.
In other words, tropical regions are your best bet to grow excellent coffee quickly.
How You Can Grow Coffee in Texas
If you live in Texas and want to grow coffee, let’s consider a few things first.
Coffee plants aren’t native to Texas and will not grow sustainably in most states. Scientists have found that coffee can only be grown effectively in the southern region of Texas.
The Lower Rio Grande Valley has growing conditions similar to the tropics. Although Texas is technically a subtropical region, coffee can grow in the Lower Rio Grande with extra care.
Nevertheless, growing coffee anywhere in Texas will always be challenging, even for experienced coffee farmers.
The one coffee farm in Southern Texas grows coffee plants as an experiment to see what soils, tools, and conditions in the state work best.
If you’re hoping to raise coffee in Texas, following similar procedures, and planting coffee in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, is your safest bet.
It would be best to consider building or purchasing a greenhouse to grow your plants.
The plants will need warm temperatures of 65F to 80F during the year. The soil must be rich and of a similar quality to the tropics.
Your greenhouse should produce high humidity and counter the cold winters of Texas.
Since coffee doesn’t need direct sunlight around the clock, you must also ensure that your plants are frequently shaded. Again, shade is crucial for coffee plants.
Coffee plants need plenty of water annually. If you have a greenhouse, you’ll need to rig up a watering system that can match accurate rainfall measurements.
Properly managed, a conservatory can replicate many natural growing conditions of a coffee plant.
Altitude is the only characteristic that will be nearly impossible to mimic when planting coffee in Texas.
Coffee plantations prefer higher altitudes, closer to mountains and volcanoes. Texas is almost entirely a flat state. In this case, your coffee plants must adapt to a lower altitude.
You might have success at growing coffee in Texas if you can control and manage all these coffee specifications.
Why You Shouldn’t Grow Coffee in Texas
The truth is that coffee shouldn’t be grown in Texas as it isn’t the ideal environment. Yes, you can make it happen in the southernmost tip of the state, but it won’t be a walk in the park.
Coffee production takes hard work and commitment. Every coffee plant requires specific growing conditions and will have difficulty adapting to foreign environments.
If the plants’ growing conditions aren’t favorable, you might be in over your head.
Below are people’s most frequently asked questions about growing coffee in Texas.
Is it legal to grow coffee in the US?
The short answer: is yes. But if you want to have a coffee farm in the US, you’ll need a commercial license to grow it legally, and you’ll have to do it in one of only three regions.
Most coffee farms are located in the states of Hawaii, California, and the territory of Puerto Rico.
It is illegal to grow coffee commercially outside of these US areas.
Can I grow coffee in my backyard?
You can grow coffee in your backyard if it is located near the subtropical region or the coffee belt.
It is possible to grow coffee plants either inside or outside. A coffee plant can increase with a greenhouse on your property.
Remember that plants need intermittent sunlight and frequent water sources to grow in a backyard successfully.
How long does it take to grow coffee in Texas?
Most coffee plants will take 3 to 4 years to produce coffee beans. It all depends on the growing conditions of the environment.
Your plants might take longer to grow if you don’t take care of their plants carefully during each step of the growing process.
Are there coffee plantations in Texas?
Private farmers own the majority of coffee plants growing in Texas. There is one coffee plantation making positive results today.
Weslaco coffee farm in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas successfully grows plants and produces healthy coffee beans.
Bottom Line on Growing Coffee in Texas
Remember, Texas isn’t the most suitable environment for coffee harvesting. If you want to grow there, try to replicate the conditions of coffee plantations in the tropics.
Texas is just north of the tropical “coffee belt” but closer than other regions in the United States.
If you’re willing to put in a lot of extra time and attention, and if you live in the southern part of the state, you’ll be able to grow your coffee in Texas.