Coffee Grown in California

Dan Specialty Crops, This Land of Ours

california coffeeThere is a new crop in town. Cathy Isom informs us about the unique way farmers are growing coffee in California. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.



California-grown coffee? You heard that right. The Golden State is famous for its strawberries, avocados, grapes, raisins, dates, apples, citrus and so much more. But now, it seems, coffee is the next big thing and farmers have found a unique way to grow it, including using water-saving techniques. That’s because coffee doesn’t really like to grow anywhere in the continental United States.

California coffee

Coffee can benefit from the environment within an avocado orchard.
(Courtesy UCANR)

The crop generally prefers two types of environments: subtropical areas with defined seasons at moderate elevation, and tropical areas at very high elevations. The closest we get to a tropical climate is South Florida, which doesn’t have nearly enough elevation.

Now, farmers in southern California are figuring out ways to make coffee thrive by growing the coffee bush under the shade of older, taller, low-yielding avocado trees.

At the moment, the price of these beans is seriously high. It could mean paying upwards of $12 for a cup of joe. But, there is definitely a market for high-quality California coffee, which has scored very well on quality tests. And, in time, with new technology and more production, the cost per harvest is likely to go down.

For decades, the only serious coffee-growing region in the United States has been in Hawaii, which is famous for its Kona coffee.

I’m Cathy Isom….

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