coffee growers in Chile

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Vicki and Greg Lansen
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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by Vicki and Greg Lansen » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:13 pm

Depending on the soil composition, there may be no reason coffee has not been grown in the northern or mid-wine country area of Chile. It is just that no one has really given it a try? Coffee requires certain soil, specific weather patterns and a williness to give it the old college try. Coffee is a fairly new crop in many parts of the world. I would guess that the volcanic soil is a plus in Chile. All that said, growing ranges are changing, whether due to short-term weathern patterns or global climate change. For someone adventurous, and with SAG permission, planting a half-acre or so of coffee would be an interesting project.

Can't have snow, can't have frost, can't have too high or too low elevation...can't have too much or too little rain. Butcha gotta have the right soil. Now soil can be ammended, but at what cost? Our soil here is almost perfect but lacks the appropriate constant amount of nitrogen. This is amended by chicken shit and planting beans in and around the coffee.

If I was in certain areas of Chile, I would try to get permission to import some coffee seeds and plant them as ornamentals at first. Then, depending on the outcome, branch out.

Just a thought...the areas conducive to vineards and which MAY be acceptable to growing coffee soil-wise, may not be moist enough and require extensive irrigation...a serious consideration in Chile with water rights issues.

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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by HybridAmbassador » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:01 pm

Once upon a time, I found myself high up in the dense and humid Jungle of an island nation called: Domincan Republic,
a tiny island next to Cuba, Puerto Rico, in the Caribbean Sea. Had a cousin enlisted as a Japanese Consul in Santo Domingo, the Capital of Dominican Republic.
Went to visit him years back. He had to go to a remote province in the island for some International aid type of duty there mandated by the Japanese Govnmnt,and I ended up going to join his trip. He had aseembled a Safari type crew and we took off in 2 Nissan Patrol 4wd ( Jeepesque type off all terrain vehicle ) going down was very easy but once there
we supposed to go up and up climbing on the red soiled dangerous serpentineing dirt road and finally we reached the plateau.. Coffee trees all over,! All bearing the Ruby coloured fruit called the Coffee beans. I remember when one of native Dominican Consulate attache, handed me a fistful of the red beautiful grains, the Coffee Beans to taste.?
He said to put in the mouth and chew the very thin pulp adhered into that bean and it taseted quite Sweet!!
I also seen the method as to how to dry the Coffee Beans once the skin is shaved from it and then sprayed coffee beans
on a concrete large pad to be dried naturally by the Sun's heat.. I also saw how to roast that dried Coffee bean in a large
deep pan, they said, this is the French way, put in a large amount of Brown Sugar when the beans are done roasting enough then the inclusion of the Brown Sugar while finishing roasting. The end products, the Beans were perfect..
All black and lusterously coated by the melted Brown Sugar..
They grinded the finished Coffee Beans to prepare a pot of fresh roasted Coffee, LoL, In my life, I have never tasted such aromatic and flavourfull coffee served in a tin (aluminum?) cupped utensils tasted so good and devilishly dramatic impact I received drinking that Black liquid! It was an awesome and adventuresome experience that I still cherish till this date! I wonder, which countries within the "Coffee Belt" produce the best aromaed and flavourful Coffee in the World.?
Brazil's? Colombia's, African's from the Kilimajaro's? Central American's? The Caribbeans islands? The Javas..What do you the Coffee loving expat experts think.?
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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by admin » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:50 am

Vicki and Greg Lansen wrote:Depending on the soil composition, there may be no reason coffee has not been grown in the northern or mid-wine country area of Chile. It is just that no one has really given it a try? Coffee requires certain soil, specific weather patterns and a williness to give it the old college try. Coffee is a fairly new crop in many parts of the world. I would guess that the volcanic soil is a plus in Chile. All that said, growing ranges are changing, whether due to short-term weathern patterns or global climate change. For someone adventurous, and with SAG permission, planting a half-acre or so of coffee would be an interesting project.

Can't have snow, can't have frost, can't have too high or too low elevation...can't have too much or too little rain. Butcha gotta have the right soil. Now soil can be ammended, but at what cost? Our soil here is almost perfect but lacks the appropriate constant amount of nitrogen. This is amended by chicken shit and planting beans in and around the coffee.

If I was in certain areas of Chile, I would try to get permission to import some coffee seeds and plant them as ornamentals at first. Then, depending on the outcome, branch out.

Just a thought...the areas conducive to vineards and which MAY be acceptable to growing coffee soil-wise, may not be moist enough and require extensive irrigation...a serious consideration in Chile with water rights issues.
You see that is what I am trying to figure out. What is it that parts of southern Chile are lacking, that say the mountains of Guatemala or Colombia have. The environments are almost exactly the same. Semi-marine environments close to the ocean, lots of moisture, volcanic soil, frost at certain elevations is very mild to none-existent (the mountains of Guatemala have snow in some parts where they grow coffee). I am thinking here, somewhere between the Bio - Bio river to the north, and Puerto Montt to the South. Any further south, and freezing might be an issue. Well, in particular my property near Pyuhuehue or Frutillar is my personal pick for an experimental run, but really I am thinking about the wider possibilities for those regions if it is possible.

Given the price premium on (crappy) imported coffee, much of which is just the cost of importing it, there would be a nice extra profit margin found just with the advantage of having domestically grown coffee (like 25%, before regular margins), even if it was not the best coffee (really can not get any worse than no-es-cafe). If you can get anything respectable to grow, with a good roasting, then you could really charge a premium for it.

Say, since vicky is our coffee growing expert (or the closest thing we got), as what point in the growth cycle can you tell if it is going to work at all? For example, do you get a light crop in the second year, to know that it is a waist of time to continue? or is it an all in proposition for 5 years + before you know if the plants will survive and produce?
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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by helibel » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:32 am

The rage in the US right now Green coffee bean extract, you boil raw beans for 15 minutes and drink a small amount of the liquid. Google it.It supposed to contain more more antioxidants than any other source,helps withweight management, lowers blood pressue and on and on, so even if your beans don't produce the best coffee ever, you can get healthy. We drink it daily, it doesn't taste too good but it wont make you retch.

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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by Vicki and Greg Lansen » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:33 pm

I am far from an expert. I would say I have experience, having had coffee growing the first time I lived here, and now again. Good coffee seeds are inexpensive. If you could get permission to import them and had a greenhouse to sprout them, that is the first step. The beans are sprouted and two sprouts are planted together to grow as ne plant. They take a year to be transplantable. Then, from transplant to first harvest is several years. At least three years with bigger harvests as the plant matures.

If you have a few hectares of land which is rich in nitrogen and well drained (nice, sloping land) which you are not using, the initial investment would be time and labor. You would have plenty of time to clear and prepare the land. You would. ot need to cut trees as coffee enjoys some shade and does well in filtered sunlight. In fact, we planted plantain and bananas, and have tons of orange trees as well as cedro, long-leaf pine, nispero and nasareno.

There are several planting patterns used. In rows close together, or in rows further apart. I do not know why some people use one or the other.

Our temperatures range from 50-80 degrees year round with almost a12-12 ratio of daylight and night time. While I think temperature is important, daylight might be important only as to how fast your beans mature and the amount of production. I think if you have seasons of cold or heat, this might hinder the growth and production. Hmmm.

Fertilizing with chicken shit has worked best for us. This is your nitrogen. If you can get is already mixed with rice hulls, even better. Another source is to plant beans which don't do extremely well as a crop in general, but enough to harvest and a nice by-product. We have tried to stay away from commercial chemicals for everything. Plus, they are expensive. And we (Mista) is cheap. To control weeds, we hire guys with machetes. It just occurred to me that that might be an advantage to close-together planting...weeds don't grow well with lots of shade.

Whether or not funguses that torment coffee plants will be a problem or not will depend on the health of your soil and plants. Leaf rust, and ojo de gallo are two common problems. So far as I have researched there are no organic solutions to these problems except for possibly a copper sulfate solution...an ongoing experiement on our farm. Failure to stop these funguses result in your plant dropping all its leaves and poor ripening of berries.

So, lets say you got your several hectares of producing coffee bushes. Now what?!?! Harvest time. For instance, yesterday we had six people who picked 30 latas, a lata being a five gallon bucket (filled with cherries it weighs about 30 pounds). Picking will need to be done on average every week to ten days through harvest season. Oour first run-through was October 31 and will continue through the first of the year. Each picking, the coffee must be pulped and spread out to dry, either on concrete slabs, or best yet, on large screen trays set up off the ground. These are best because they can be set out and put away after season, and covered with plastic if it rains. Concrete tends to sweat when covered and is ugly and permanent. Pulping is done either with a hand-cranked pulper(these cost about $300-400).

The coffee then has to dry to a certain percentage of its weight. The old timers know when it is dry enough just by handling the beans. I do not and defer to them. Another way is to weigh your pulped beans, say a pound, and weigh it every few days until they are at that percentage. Not done yet...the beans must then have the cascara peeled off. The coffee is then sacked and stored in a cool, dry and well-ventilated store room until roasting. Stored properly, it keeps this way for a long time...well over a year, probably longer.

All that said...you do not have to spend a lot for seeds. You do not have to buy expensive varieties like Geisha. If fact, Geisha sucks. Better to get a hearty variety. The reason? It is all in the roasting!

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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by griffin » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:54 pm

Browsing through a few coffee growth condition websites, I found a reference that says that coffee plants are killed by frost, as I expected, and injured below 3 C. Also their growth is impaired below 7 C. Their preferred temperature range is
15-25 C. So you might be able to grow them in most of coastal chile, but I suspect that productivity would be pretty low due to the lower temperatures. Here in Serena for example, the winter days range from about 4 C to about 15 C when we are having clear weather. Only in summer are temps reliably in the preferred range. Not worth it to farm commercially, given all the work Vicki is describing, plus who knows what bugs or diseases they could have trouble with in a non- optimal environment, but it could be an interesting hobby project for personal consumption.

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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by thisisreallycomplicated » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:55 am

griffin wrote:Browsing through a few coffee growth condition websites, I found a reference that says that coffee plants are killed by frost, as I expected, and injured below 3 C. Also their growth is impaired below 7 C. Their preferred temperature range is 15-25 C.
Getting injured below 3 C is what concerns me the most, since it takes 5 years to get a producing plant. It rarely freezes here, from what I understand. But all it takes is once, if they're anything like tomatoes. You can always cover them up, but that's another expense.
griffin wrote:Not worth it to farm commercially, given all the work Vicki is describing, plus who knows what bugs or diseases they could have trouble with in a non- optimal environment, but it could be an interesting hobby project for personal consumption.
That's what I'm thinking. It could be worth it to grow a few plants for personal consumption, and maybe a little extra to sell. I know I'd buy coffee, if it was grown here. Especially if it was grown "naturally", without pesticides, etc. But it seems kinda high risk to do it on a larger scale, unless you really know what you're doing. If it's something you can afford to try and fail at, and you really want to do it, then I think it's worth doing. Or if you really just know it's something you want to do, even if you don't know the first thing about it, you might as well just do it. You probably will anyway, or always wish you had.
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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by Vicki and Greg Lansen » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:05 am

Chinese Coffee? Apparrently so. Without much info on how much is currently being grown in SW China, or how much is being planted for future crops, I can't say if cheaper coffee from there might be a threat to the more traditional coffee growing areas. I can tell you that farmers here are concerned. And with coffee being almost half what it was (measured as raw cherries) I wonder what is happening with the crazy market.

Finished, fresh roasted goes for $4.20 a full pound here (unless you are batshitcrazy NEW SOLUTIONS FOUNDATION folks hawking theirs online for $25...and it is old coffee) while production costs are up cutting into farmer/producers profits.

Growing coffee might be a fun hobby for someone with a little unused land in the right temperature zone but as a large-scale enterprise, it can be a big gamble.

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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by thisisreallycomplicated » Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:26 pm

Vicki and Greg Lansen wrote:Chinese Coffee? Apparrently so. Without much info on how much is currently being grown in SW China, or how much is being planted for future crops, I can't say if cheaper coffee from there might be a threat to the more traditional coffee growing areas. I can tell you that farmers here are concerned. And with coffee being almost half what it was (measured as raw cherries) I wonder what is happening with the crazy market.

Finished, fresh roasted goes for $4.20 a full pound here (unless you are batshitcrazy NEW SOLUTIONS FOUNDATION folks hawking theirs online for $25...and it is old coffee) while production costs are up cutting into farmer/producers profits.

Growing coffee might be a fun hobby for someone with a little unused land in the right temperature zone but as a large-scale enterprise, it can be a big gamble.
You'ld also have to compete with really cheap yerba mate. I think the stuff even grows wild here. I switched to it from coffee, and it took care of my caffeine addiction. Not to mention it's supposed to be really good for you. But if I don't move somewhere too cold, I'll probably try growing a few plants. I think it would be worth the effort, if you can eat the cherries, then roast the leftover beans for personal consumption.
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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by greg~judy » Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:58 am

~
please consider this...
drink more coffee - while it's cheap...
buy and hold JO.W - while it's cheap...
:idea:

2013 Forecast - Tis The Season To Drink and Own Coffee

<in part>
Coffee prices have fallen more than 50% since 2010 which can be seen through the coffee exchange traded fund symbol: JO.

Coffee prices are still in a down trend but it looks as though the end is near and if played properly it could provide up to 100% return on your capital in 2013.
:idea:

http://www.safehaven.com/article/28222/ ... own-coffee
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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by Vicki and Greg Lansen » Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:44 am

The price for coffee paid to farmers this year was $3 less a lata than last year, and at times with certain buyers as much as $5. We could never figure out why. In fact, it was anticipated that the price was going to be higher. But anyways, I betcha you all in the US are paying a purdy penny for less than a pound, right?

I have not had the time to research the coffee market and exchange, how the prices are set, but I am thinking that's my next project. I think investing in commodities like coffee is risky, even for the well informed. I am thankful that we broke even. We had fun (well, for the most part) and were able to provide employment for a lot of people over the past year. I am thankful that the coffee on our farm was an added attraction and that we are not dependent on coffee farming for a living. We are bums, after all, and this is just something to do...anything above and beyond that is a gift. Plus we get to have coffee all year.

And it brings to mind the old story of the rich businessman on vacation in small mexican village. Sees a guy who goes fishing each day, comes back with a few fish and then spends day in hammock and plays with family. So the businessman tells him, why don't you stay out longer and fish more? What for says the fisherman. So you can sell the extra fish and make extra $. What for says the fisherman. With the extra money you can buy a second boat, and fish more and make more money and then you buy another boat etc. What for says the fisherman. After you make all this money you can retire, and fish a little, and spend the day in your hammock and have more time for your family.....

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Re: coffee growers in Chile

Post by ABIII » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:17 am

I love that story!
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