Coffee Tree Flowering and Pollination

How long does it take a coffee tree to progress from flowering to producing?
Coffee plant

Martín Ventura Viana

Third-generation coffee grower

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Coffee plants are self-pollinating as their flowers are hermaphrodites. They don’t require another coffee plant to produce their fruit. This single fact might account for there not being an exact register of the role and importance of cross-pollination in this crop. Some degree of cross-pollination does exist, as coffee bushes do have a flower that produces nectar and pollen. Insects, gravity, and wind must certainly play a role in pollination.

It’s also important to bear in mind that the flowering anthesis period is quite short, lasting about three days. It is said that the flowers’ fresh aroma is only attractive to bees on the first day.

Flower bud development
1.Induction period: lasts approximately one whole day (13.5 h)
2.Growth and development of flower buds (about 45 days): slowly they grow until they reach a 5mm length.
3.Latency: they stop growing and go into a rest period.
4.Pre-anthesis: A change in temperature breaks the latency and the flowers start to mature. This might take between 20 to 30 days.
5.Anthesis: flowers open. This lasts only 3 days.

*It is said that 10 mm of rain or watering is enough to start the flower bud development.

Coffee Tree Flowering and Pollination

Induction period flower buds

Growth and development of flower buds

The latency period of flower buds

Pre-anthesis (Latency breakup)

Anthesis (flowering)

ANACAFE Guatemala states that in Coffea Arabica[1] the effectiveness of self-fertilization ranges from 91 to 96%. So, it is important to figure out if the remaining 4 to 9% accredited to cross-pollination makes some kind of difference. The few studies and observations that have been done about cross-pollination, have shown that this type of fertilization improves the number of berries, as well as the size of the coffee beans which in addition register a superior concentration of sugars which later will translate into a better cup flavor.  As we promote the practice of agroforestry, farmers will play a key role in observing how biodiversity helps in the development of their plantations.


Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Institute, Ecological Benefits of Shade-Grown Coffee.

All About Coffee by William H. Ukers, 1935, Chapter XV: The botany of the Coffee Plant. P. 122-145

Polinización del Café por Apis Mellifera L. y Otros Insectos en Costa Rica, F. Bobadilla, W. Ramírez B., 1991, Turrialba Vol. 41, No. 3, P.285-288

La Apicultura y el Café, una Combinación para Reducir los Efectos del Cambio Climático en la Región, Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura IICA, Costa Rica.

Guía Técnica de Caficultura, ANCAFÉ 2018, P.21.

Coffee plant History and general Information

Coffee Plant Information – Morphology

Coffee Genetics and Variety Selection

How to Select, and Treat Coffee Seeds

Germination of Coffee Seeds and Creation of Seedbeds for Planting

Coffee Trees Planting and Plant Spacing

How to Prune your Coffee Trees in an Agroforestry System

Shade-Grown Coffee in an Agroforestry System

Coffee Tree Flowering and Pollination

From Rainwater Harvesting to Irrigation of Coffee Trees

Coffee Tree Fertilization Requirements

Weed Management in a Coffee Plantation

Coffee Major Pest and Diseases and Control Measures

Coffee tree Harvesting – Coffee Berries Picking


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