Exploring the Possibility of Florida-Grown Coffee

ripe grapefruit

Researchers are exploring the potential of coffee growth in areas currently suitable for citrus growth.

For centuries, coffee has been grown between two somewhat arbitrary lines above and below the equator. The stretch between roughly the 23.43°S and 23.43°N parallels — also known as tropics of Capricorn and Cancer, respectively — is also often referred to as the “coffee belt.”

Countries with large swaths of land within this boundary — Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia and Vietnam, and dozens more — have historically dominated the production of coffee that then travels to points farther north or south for consumption.

Yet what happens when we consider the artificial nature of these boundaries? Is it possible to grow coffee outside of these latitudinal restraints?

The short answer is yes. With reasonable conditions, a coffee plant could grow inside a home anywhere in the world. In one extreme example of how coffee growth in controlled conditions is feasible, South Korea’s Paldang Coffee Farm has maintained some 800 coffee plants for more than a decade within greenhouses at roughly the 37°N parallel.

Yet commercial coffee production continues to take place almost exclusively within the coffee belt, where consistently better conditions for temperature, light and rainfall promote proper development of fruitful coffee plants.

coffee plants

Coffee growing in Brazil. Photo by Jonas Ferraresso.

Thus, it may not be advisable to grow coffee in the potato fields of England. But what if we step outside these lines just a little bit? An increasing number of groups have been exploring this question — particularly with an eye on commercial cultivation — and some answers are to beginning to emerge.

Coffee Fields in the United States

Growing coffee in the U.S. is not new. Hawaii has been harvesting berries for more than a century at roughly the 19°N parallel within the coffee belt, finding broad commercial success along the way.

A more recent example of coffee cultivation has been taking place in California over the past decade, where the private group Frinj Coffee has been leading a network network of farmers and finding encouraging results regarding quantity.

This has taken place in the hills near Santa Barbara at roughly the 34°N parallel, where there is about 17.7 inches (450 millimeters) of annual rain and periods of low temperatures from November to April. Such conditions and associated costs are likely to challenge cultivation on a large scale.

One more interesting coffee cultivation destination has recently emerged from the continental United States, at a point that’s even closer to the coffee belt at about the 28°N parallel: Florida.

Understanding the Needs of the Coffee Tree

Worldwide, the two main coffee species cultivated for commercial consumption are Coffea canephora (robusta) and Coffea arabica (arabica). With robusta preferring hot and wet climates and arabica favoring milder climates, arabica tends to be the focus when cultivation is considered outside the coffee belt — i.e. farther away from the equator.

Originating in the mountains and forests of Ethiopia, the arabica species is cultivated in dozens of countries. Over the years, hundreds of varieties of this plant have emerged through the hands of breeders, farmers or by nature itself.

Each variety has some unique characteristics such as size, productivity, resistance to drought, nutritional needs, resistance to pests and diseases, resistance to low temperatures, quality, and more. Some of the best-known varieties are Caturra, Bourbon, Gesha, etc.

Here I’d like to explore some basic components of arabica cultivation and how it might look in or alongside the citrus groves. Keep in mind, variability is to be expected here, especially given the unique conditions of the Sunshine State:

ripe oranges

ripe oranges

Sunlight: Arabica coffee grows well in shade conditions, although it likes to receive at least 6 hours of light per day, and up to 11-14 for maximum production. That would be feasible in most of Florida, where there is roughly 9 hours of sunshine in December and 15 hours in June. Technologies such as intercropping could filter light and assist farming if the sun is too intense.

Temperature: An adult coffee tree grows well at temperatures between 62.6°F (17°C) and 73.4°F (23°C); however, it can tolerate minimum temperatures of 50°F (10°C) and maximum of 93.2°F (34°C) without major damage to the plant. For short periods some varieties of arabica can tolerate 35.6°F (2°C) without major problems. In the central region of Florida where oranges are grown, the temperature range is between 48.2°F (9°C) and 91.4°F (33°C), which might be suitable for coffee growing. Microjet systems already used in Florida citrus could be adapted to provide temperature control for young coffee trees.

Rain: In places like Polk City, an important producer of citrus fruits, the rainfall average is above 47 inches (1200 millimeters), and distributed throughout the year. The coffee tree develops and produces well with annual rainfall between 1,200 millimeters and 1,800 millimeters, but with volumes of only 800 millimeters, good results can still be achieved. Irrigation could be a solution in the event of drought.

Altitude: Coffee is well known for being produced in high-altitude conditions, to which Florida cannot lay much claim. However, plant growth can succeed if other critical conditions are met, and flatter terrain could potentially facilitate the use of machinery to reduce labor costs.

Soil: This would be one of the biggest challenges, as the Florida citrus region is characterized by sandy soils, mostly Spodsols and Entisols of marine origin. These soils have good water drainage and low nutrient retention. To meet the needs of coffee plants in their different stages throughout the year — growth, flowering, granulation, maturation, etc. — new models for well-structured and fertilization and soil management systems might need to be devised.


Photo by Jonas Ferraresso.

Could the Coffee Taste Good?

This is one of the most complicated topics in modern coffee cultivation, since coffee quality is the result of a huge number of interrelated variables. Some field variations are fertilizers, management, genetics, temperature, rain, sunlight, etc. After that, variables affecting quality include post-harvest technologies such as drying method, drying speed, type of processing, type of fermentation.

The final stage in quality assessment will come through roasting and brewing, where all those previous factors will come to bear on the finished cup. We don’t yet have an idea of what Florida coffee might “taste” like, but the prospect is intriguing.

Researchers at the University of Florida/IFAS Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra are already carrying out the first tests to study the feasibility of coffee cultivation in Florida’s citrus-growing region. These may be the first steps towards making “Florida-grown coffee” a reality.

Source: Roast Magazine

What is the Best Temperature to Use for My Vape Pen?

MARIJUANA POLITICS – The News Source For an Informed Citizenry Post by Marisa Timko

Despite the advances in technology for the vaporizer market, there is still a cloud of uncertainty when it comes to the best temperature to vape your marijuana concentrates. Among the many cannabis users who vape concentrates, there seems to be a general consensus regarding the temperature range that you should be vaping at.

However, there are some things to consider including the quality of your vape pen and the consistency of your wax or oils. This is why it is crucial that you test the waters with a small dab of concentrate prior to fully vaping. For quality control, TheVape.Guide has an excellent resource that dictates the best vape pens that one can get their hands on.  

A Brief Overview of Vape Pen Functionality

Before we get into the juicy stuff, it is important to take a moment and briefly explain how most vape pens work. Unlike the traditional “roll up and light up” method which combusts your weed, vape pens operate with their own ovens that use air to heat up your concentrates – known as convection heating. The air inside the chamber is heated to temperatures ripe for extracting the THC from your wax or oils – avoiding combustion altogether.

However, many marijuana users struggle to find that sweet spot since it depends on hitting the right temperature in order to get the benefits of those cannabinoids and terpenes.

(One unit we tested here was the Dipper from Dipstick Vapes.  The removable ceramic heating element and portability made it an ideal choice for a handy multifunctional small unit – editor)

A Ballpark Figure on Temperature Range

Recent research states that the best temperature range for vaping weed is between 347 – 392°F. Setting your vape pen between this range does take longer, however, it ensures that your concentrates are evenly heated and that your wax doesn’t evaporate too fast. But, this range isn’t set in stone since this same professor also stated that 410°F is also a great temperature for extracting all the good stuff from your weed while keeping your wax at a decent consistency.

The Downside of Vaping at Low Temps

Vaping at temperatures below 356°F is perfect for getting the best of terpenes but not so many cannabinoids.

Many users stay behind the “tried and true” method of vaping at low temperatures and will do so to avoid combustion or their wax fading away. However, vaping at temperatures lower than 356°F only releases terpenes and not cannabinoids. Most people don’t know this and think that vaping at this temperature is most efficient but instead, they end up getting weaker psychoactive effects. This is usually perfect for medicinal marijuana users but for recreational vapers, not so much. At that point, cranking up the heat is your best bet.

vape temperature

How High is Too High?

Research done in 2004 attempted to show which temperatures are better for extracting cannabinoids. Their results showed that lower temperatures extracted less while higher temperatures extracted more resulting in the consensus that lower temps resulted in healthier hits while higher temps aided in getting you really high.

However, you should avoid temperatures higher than 455°F since combustion becomes inevitable and benzene becomes present in the vapor. With a vape pen, this can occur at temperatures as low as 365°F.

After reviewing such data, many weed users simply think that for more THC, crank up the heat and for CBD, bring it down a notch. But, the boiling points for both are only 50° and finding a vape pen that can precisely hit such marks can be difficult (unless you use the resource we mentioned earlier).  

Final Verdict

Taking all the above into consideration, it can be safely assumed that the best temperature to vape your concentrates would be at 410°F, as Dr. Ian Mitchell mentioned earlier. This ensures that you get the right balance of THC and CBD without sacrificing on the consistency of your concentrates and to avoid combustion.

The post What is the Best Temperature to Use for My Vape Pen? appeared first on MARIJUANA POLITICS.

Which Makes Us Happier Warm Weather Or Cold Weather?


A recent scientific study has revealed the answer to this question for us. I don’t know about you, but I am happier when it is neither hot nor cold. I have lived where it gets cold: Upstate New York and Wisconsin and where it gets hot: South Central Texas and West Tennessee. Living under those extreme conditions is one of the main reasons I fell in love with Western Oregon 23 years ago. Here we don’t see either of those extremes very often and when we do they don’t last very long.

A January 7th article from the Washington Post referenced on Wonkblog written by Christopher Ingraham pointed to the research of Patrick Baylis who is a 5th-year PhD candidate in agriculture and resource economics at the University of California at Berkeley. Baylis is also affiliated with Dr. Solomon Hsiang’s Global Policy Lab and the Electricity Markets and Policy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Patrick Baylis
Patrick Baylis | Photo by are.berkeley.edu

The article summarizes the research by quoting Baylis this way “He found that, compared with a day when the high temperature is 72.5 degrees, a day with a high temperature of 90 degrees makes the typical person experience a drop in happiness similar to the drop in happiness between Sunday and Monday.

Monday Unhappiness
Graph Showing Happiness Level (Hedonic State) Drop To Lowest For Mondays | Image by Patrick Baylis

“Temperature and Temperament: Evidence from a billion tweets” is the title of the working paper written by Patrick Baylis and released through Energy Institute at Haas (EI). If you have never heard of them, according to EI, “Working papers are circulated for discussion and comment purposes. They have not yet been peer-reviewed or been subjected to review by any editorial board.”

The question to me becomes how do you get adequate data to get these results? I remember back when I was working on my independent study project to get my degree at Memphis State University, now known as the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee, I performed a survey. Since I had never done this before I contacted the Psychology Department since they were considered the “experts” when it came to the do’s-and-don’t’s of surveys. The result was that I assembled a survey to be done over the telephone. I wanted to personally hand out the surveys but was told that statistically it would not be random enough. So I ended up making over 3,000 telephone calls to get 401 people to answer the 4 questions on my survey. That is what you might call the “old school” way.

Patrick Baylis took a completely different approach. The term social media is relatively new and Baylis decided to use it to his advantage. He used the “Twitter Universe” that was created in 2006. Something I never thought of is that tweets are considered in the public domain so no permission is needed to use the data from them. He used a Twitter client’s Streaming API account to get access to massive numbers of tweets from all over the United States. The tweets were “Geo-located” which means those who posted the tweets gave permission for their location to be revealed. The data collection took place from June 2014 through October 2015 with two breaks in between. That is a good starting point, but a way to decode the tweet needed to be devised.

4 Measures Of | Image by Patrick Baylis
Correlations of 4 Measures Of Happiness (Hedonic State) | Image by Patrick Baylis

The analytical model has four parts. The first is called Expert and uses a dictionary (AFFIN-111 dictionary) created by experts that translates the words of the tweet into expressions of positive or negative feelings of happiness in response to the current weather conditions. A total of 2,477 words comprise this dictionary. The result is a measure ranging from -5 to +5 to determine the hedonic state (state of happiness) where -5 is a strongly negatively hedonic state (negative happiness) and +5 is a strongly positive hedonic state (positive happiness).

The second part is the Crowd-sourced measure. It is similar to the Expert model, but the dictionary contains 10,000 words, used by the Mechanical Turk service. It differs from Expert due to its using words whether or not they have a subtle indication of the state of their happiness.

The third part is the Emoticon measure. It uses the emoticons that subjects added to their tweets to give additional insight into the happiness state of the tweeter. A lesser portion (about 2%) of the tweets surveyed used emoticons so a specialized formula was used to combine the emoticons and the happiness-related words to determine the person’s happiness state.

The fourth and final part of this complicated formula is the Profanity measure. Baylis assembled a list of over 300 profanities and gave a score for the presence or absence of profanity in the tweets. Profanity in tweets most often is an indicator of a lower level of happiness.

He then added the weather component to the mix. Data of mainly temperature and precipitation came from the PRISM Climate Group’s AN81D data set. He used data from 2,162 weather stations around the 48 contiguous United States including sky condition, visibility, relative humidity, barometric pressure and wind speed.

I read every word of the more than 50-page paper and I can attest that it is written in the standard academician’s language that most of us would strain to understand upon first reading without looking up many phrases and terms. So, lets sum up the results as simply as possible.

Temperature Effects Happiness
Effect Of Temperature On Happiness (Hedonic State) | Image by Patrick Baylis

In his discussion section at the end of the paper Patrick Baylis states: “I find that hedonic state is unaffected by cooler temperatures, but declines sharply above 70 degrees F.” So, in his study the participants showed more happiness with the cooler weather and much less happiness as the temperature increased. He also comments that air conditioning is so prevalent in the United States that the unhappiness levels of people in other parts of the world where they don’t have air conditioning as available could be even much greater with the increasing temperatures.

Wow! That’s a lot of work to attempt to prove that most people would rather shiver than sweat. I also noticed that there was no mention of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which can have a negative effect on happiness during the Winter months particularly here in the Pacific Northwest.

If you have an idea for a future topic let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].

El Nino Is Really Happening.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Centers for Environmental prediction (NCEP) computer models have been working overtime to determine what our Winter will look like. If you remember, I posted an article about the prediction of the El Nino event occurring this Winter. In that article “El Nino Is Growing Stronger. What Does It Mean For Us?” The computers were leaning toward an El Nino event ahead. Now the latest data proves that prediction is still valid as the title of this article suggests. Let’s take a look at the new information and see what it says.

Winter Temperature Outlook | Image by NOAA
Winter Temperature Outlook | Image by NOAA

First let’s check out the latest temperature prediction model. According to NCEP “Above-average temperatures are favored across much of the West and the northern half of the contiguous United States. Temperatures are also favored to be above average in Alaska and much of Hawaii. Below average temperatures are are most likely in the southern Plains and Southeast.”

Winter Precipitation Outlook | Image by NOAA
Winter Precipitation Outlook | Image by NOAA

NCEP says this about the precipitation for the three-month period “Wetter-than-average conditions most likely in the Southern Tier of the United States from central and southern California, across Texas, to Florida, and up the East Coast to southern New England. Above-average precipitation is also favored in southeastern Alaska.” Now the dry side of this forecast: “Drier-than-average most likely for Hawaii, parts of the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies, and for areas near the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.” Take a look at the map  above and you will see that we are in an area that has even chances (50/50) of having a wetter than normal or drier than normal Winter. We are very near the slightly drier-than-normal line so it could go either way. That could, and I emphasize could, mean we could see a Winter with more normal amounts of precipitation than we did last winter. The big problem will be whether it is going to get cold enough to produce a better snowfall in the mountains.

Winter Season Drought Outlook | Image by
Winter Season Drought Outlook | Image by NCEP Prediction Center

We had been hoping that the National Drought Outlook would give some indication that the drought conditions in the West would improve, but that is not what the computer models are predicting. According to this model the drought for the Pacific Northwest will stay the same or intensify over the period lasting through January. Central and Southern California will see some improvement in drought conditions with an increase in rainfall expected, but it won’t be enough to remove the official drought designation. The state of Texas should see drought relief, but the recent heavy rainfall in Texas from the remnants of Hurricane Patricia won’t really help much. The ground there was very dry and compacted so heavy rainfall would not soak in, but instead would cause flooding and continue moving until blocked by some impediment.

I really do hope, along with the people of the Willamette Valley and all of Oregon, that these predictions are proven to be less-than-accurate. I’ll keep you updated as our Winter season gets underway. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].