coffee growers in Chile

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coffee growers in Chile

Post by admin » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:10 pm

I have one for the forum.

Is anyone aware of anyone growing coffee in Chile?

Big growers, small growers, crappy coffee, not important. Just simply any coffee growers anywhere in the country?
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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by thisisreallycomplicated » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:10 pm

I searched before, and couldn't find any. And I researched where coffee is grown in general, and never saw any reference to Chile. But then I had the same problem with cinnamon, and then one day I just happened to see that it's grown not too far from where I live. So ya never know when it might turn up. And if it does I'll definitely want some.
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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by Vicki and Greg Lansen » Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:03 pm

Interesting question! I don't see why not, especially in area around volcanic soil where it is temperate? Here in Panama we grow coffee from slightly warm climates up to cool mountainous regions (where it grows best). The soil here is nitrogen deficient so we put lots of chicken shit on the ground. I don't see why it couldn't be done in specific areas. From transplanting baby coffee plants to the first harvest is four years. If you can import a nice variety of coffee beans (raw, ready to sprout form), it would be a relatively cheap and easy endeavor to try. I know where someone could get some good starter seeds!

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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by thisisreallycomplicated » Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:01 pm

I'm planning to grow as wide a variety of stuff as I can, once I finally get some farmland. And would love to have some homegrown coffee. And it would probably sell well too, if I didn't screw it up. Does it take up a lot of space?
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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by Vicki and Greg Lansen » Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:37 pm

ReallyNOTcomplicated...there are several planting methods...mine are planted in rows with the plants about 4 1/2 feet apart and the rows the same distance. Some growers here do a more compact planting. If you can legally import some seed coffee, it is certainly worth a go if you have even a small parcel you can dedicate. I know a guy who has a half acre in coffee (he's able to really pay attention and baby it) and he gets a large amount of coffee from it. After you plant your coffee, and as it flourishes, you have time in between to figure out how to process it. Coffee must be picked, the cherries pulped, dried, then the paper shells peeled off. In the dry form it can be stored in the right circumstances for a year, waiting to be roasted. Roasters are expensive, but if you are starting out small, you can find inexpensive ones for personal use, or pick up an old electric pop corn popper and experiment. My first time I did the campesino method...culled coffee wood fire, large, large pot, big wooden stirrer and lots of patience!

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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by admin » Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:17 pm

yea, looking at the increase of demand for real coffee in Chile, and the complete lack of any in the country, relative to what I pay for crap coffee, I think it might be viable just to cover my own spending on crappy coffee. Hell, I could probably unload a couple hundred pounds of real coffee on this forum without a whole lot of effort. Just think of how much coffee you all drink while reading?

I am seriously considering planting my two hectares near entre lagos with it. I seen where they grow in the mountains in Central America, and the environment is very comparable, it is on a slope, lots of rain, volcanic soil, and their is water on the property for those few months in the summer where the rain might disappear completely (pretty rare given the slopes and air flow, even just with morning dew). Hell, they grow it in Guatamala where it snows.

My big criteria is I need something pretty low maintenance (at least initially), and also something the neighbours will not have a clue what it is or what to do about it (stop people from helping themselves, like they might with commonly seen fruits in Chile). I am sure the neighbours will never make the connection between their can of "no es cafe" and the strange trees the gringo is growing next door.

The trick is the import of the seeds. Need to do some research on the SAG criteria for bringing in new plants. Typically they have to go through a certified lab / seed bank.

I was looking, and they are getting plant densities commonly around 4,000 plants per hectare. Let's say I get something like 2,000-4,000 plants comfortably, without needing to really clear anything or mess with the existing trees on the property. From what I see about 1 pound per tree is a common conservative yield. That is 2,000 pounds of coffee, assuming I am a complete moron and have no idea how to grow coffee or process it (my learning curve let's call it).


Here is an interesting calculation:
Calculate area needed for seedbed - for example: To plant 1 hectare of coffee at a spacing of 2 x 1.5 m

Number of plants:


3333 plants/h (10,000 m2 ÷ 2 x 1.5 m)

Germination:


Assume 3000 seeds/kg with 75% germination

Therefore, you need:


(100 x 3000) - 75 = 4,444 seeds

Sow seeds in beds 1 m wide with 2 cm between seeds and 10 cm between rows. Plant 50 seeds per 1 m of row.

Therefore, you need:


4,444 seeds ÷ 50 seeds/row of 1 m = 90 rows

Rows are 100 mm apart. Therefore, you need 90 rows x 100 mm apart or 9 m of nursery bed.
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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by thisisreallycomplicated » Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:47 pm

Vicki and Greg Lansen wrote:ReallyNOTcomplicated...there are several planting methods...mine are planted in rows with the plants about 4 1/2 feet apart and the rows the same distance. Some growers here do a more compact planting.
I usually like to pack a lot into a small space.
Vicki and Greg Lansen wrote:If you can legally import some seed coffee, it is certainly worth a go if you have even a small parcel you can dedicate.
I'm already working on importing some other seeds (just need to find time to get a list of botanical names together). So I can add that to my list.
Vicki and Greg Lansen wrote:I know a guy who has a half acre in coffee (he's able to really pay attention and baby it) and he gets a large amount of coffee from it.
I'll probably start smaller, because it wouldn't be one of my main crops. But considering all the coffee discussions on this forum, I may change my mind.
Vicki and Greg Lansen wrote:After you plant your coffee, and as it flourishes, you have time in between to figure out how to process it. Coffee must be picked, the cherries pulped, dried, then the paper shells peeled off. In the dry form it can be stored in the right circumstances for a year, waiting to be roasted.
I'll probably be drying some other stuff too, so at least that part shouldn't (I hope) require a lot of extra work. I have no idea what pulping cherries is though.
Vicki and Greg Lansen wrote:Roasters are expensive, but if you are starting out small, you can find inexpensive ones for personal use, or pick up an old electric pop corn popper and experiment. My first time I did the campesino method...culled coffee wood fire, large, large pot, big wooden stirrer and lots of patience!
I read up on this a year or 2 ago, and was thinking about roasting my own. But I haven't tried it yet.

Thanks for the info. Now I just need to decide where I'm going to live, so I can get serious about finding some land. Is there any way to get plants to start producing in less than 4 years? Quicker varieties maybe? Start with more mature plants? I'm really looking forward to planting stuff again. I've got stinging nettles popping up in all the pots outside, and it's supposed to make some of the best (and smelliest) plant food if you let it sit in a bucket of water for a couple weeks. I've never tried it though, because I couldn't find any where I used to live.
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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by thisisreallycomplicated » Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:59 pm

admin wrote:The trick is the import of the seeds. Need to do some research on the SAG criteria for bringing in new plants. Typically they have to go through a certified lab / seed bank.
I have a list of botanical names I'm putting together for Zandra, and I'll add coffee to it. I just need to find some time (like maybe now) to finish it up, so I can get it to her. Does anyone happen to know what the botanical name is that SAG requires? I'm guessing that one name would cover most varieties, but I really don't know anything about coffee trees/bushes.
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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by coffeehound » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:31 am

A subject very dear to my heart!! Make sure you have a very large water supply - the grey water side of it you can reuse but water is the key in washing the beans. I'm looking at doing what Charles is doing when I eventually get there with another product as well (plan b) (+ plan c graphics, etc, food security issues and ohs done). (and will eventually contact admin to handle it all:) You've got importers there to buy from, and the SAG regs are a nightmare to work out for me (crap spanish but am learning) as they have specific names for each bean family and pest, viruses, etc, that is involved with each. Might be interesting to see who is supplying to the powers to be and where there getting there good coffee from. Just a thought:) Any tours of the local chocolate places, keep an eye out for there coco products especially any packets with info on it. Am emailing nat. geographic for my background research on coffee and other things in chile. Will post it up when I get it.

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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by PCSM » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:45 am

Seems to me that before one even considers the growing process and viability of growing coffee in Chile one should consider the cost of picking said crop. In much of the world coffee pickers earn a dollar a day (obviously not the case in Kona), and it is much more labor intensive than growing say stone fruits I would think. Plus without an experienced pool of coffee pickers I could see it being slow going/expensive in Chile. Anybody know what a farm laborer/fruit picker earns in Chile per day? Have always been curious.

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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by nwdiver » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:09 am

admin wrote:yea, looking at the increase of demand for real coffee in Chile, and the complete lack of any in the country, relative to what I pay for crap coffee, I think it might be viable just to cover my own spending on crappy coffee. Hell, I could probably unload a couple hundred pounds of real coffee on this forum without a whole lot of effort. Just think of how much coffee you all drink while reading?

I am seriously considering planting my two hectares near entre lagos with it. I seen where they grow in the mountains in Central America, and the environment is very comparable, it is on a slope, lots of rain, volcanic soil, and their is water on the property for those few months in the summer where the rain might disappear completely (pretty rare given the slopes and air flow, even just with morning dew). Hell, they grow it in Guatamala where it snows.

My big criteria is I need something pretty low maintenance (at least initially), and also something the neighbours will not have a clue what it is or what to do about it (stop people from helping themselves, like they might with commonly seen fruits in Chile). I am sure the neighbours will never make the connection between their can of "no es cafe" and the strange trees the gringo is growing next door.

The trick is the import of the seeds. Need to do some research on the SAG criteria for bringing in new plants. Typically they have to go through a certified lab / seed bank.

I was looking, and they are getting plant densities commonly around 4,000 plants per hectare. Let's say I get something like 2,000-4,000 plants comfortably, without needing to really clear anything or mess with the existing trees on the property. From what I see about 1 pound per tree is a common conservative yield. That is 2,000 pounds of coffee, assuming I am a complete moron and have no idea how to grow coffee or process it (my learning curve let's call it).


Here is an interesting calculation:
Calculate area needed for seedbed - for example: To plant 1 hectare of coffee at a spacing of 2 x 1.5 m

Number of plants:


3333 plants/h (10,000 m2 ÷ 2 x 1.5 m)

Germination:


Assume 3000 seeds/kg with 75% germination

Therefore, you need:


(100 x 3000) - 75 = 4,444 seeds

Sow seeds in beds 1 m wide with 2 cm between seeds and 10 cm between rows. Plant 50 seeds per 1 m of row.

Therefore, you need:


4,444 seeds ÷ 50 seeds/row of 1 m = 90 rows

Rows are 100 mm apart. Therefore, you need 90 rows x 100 mm apart or 9 m of nursery bed.



Put in a couple of acres of hops, thats a crop that's easy to sell ;)
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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by thisisreallycomplicated » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:33 am

PCSM wrote:Seems to me that before one even considers the growing process and viability of growing coffee in Chile one should consider the cost of picking said crop. In much of the world coffee pickers earn a dollar a day (obviously not the case in Kona), and it is much more labor intensive than growing say stone fruits I would think. Plus without an experienced pool of coffee pickers I could see it being slow going/expensive in Chile. Anybody know what a farm laborer/fruit picker earns in Chile per day? Have always been curious.
Exactly the reason why I'll be starting very small:) I could see myself intensively planting 100 square meters, preferably after I learn on a few test plants. But the 4 year wait for a producing plant, could change that a bit. I experimented a couple years ago (while I had time between jobs) to see how much I could plant and harvest by myself. And that was in a rainy climate, where I only watered once after stuff was growing well. And even that time wasn't necessary. So I know about how much I can handle by myself (without the need for irrigation), and some things I can do to make things more efficient. My goal for coffee would be to produce enough for myself (except now I drink yerba mate, so my needs are lower), and enough extra to learn a bit about the process of growing and selling on a small scale. I have another project I'm working on, where I'll use what I learn from this. And other growers (of whatever) may find that project useful, once I finally get it done.
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