Sunshine Sipping: California’s Coffee Crop Cultivation

Roasted coffee beans pouring into a large container to cool.


Coffee. It might be your morning “go juice” or an afternoon pick-me-up. Maybe it’s your go to when you need something warm to soothe a sore throat or a broken heart. It might stir up fond memories of your grandparents home, where the aroma of coffee filled the house in the morning as you sat down for breakfast. What you might not know about coffee is the exciting trend of farmers in California growing coffee and the journey of some of these smaller bean coffees.

A person gently examining and picking coffee beans from their tree.


Growing coffee is typically associated with places like Ethiopia, South America, and Hawaii, but California growers are starting to get in on the action. Growers have sprung up in many different regions of California. A University of California Cooperative Extension advisor was looking for a crop to replace the declining production of aging avocado trees and came up with the idea after noticing people growing coffee in California gardens.

A small scoop of freshly roasted coffee beans.
A coffee roaster cooling and mixing a batch of freshly roasted coffee beans.


The Cooperative Extension agent contacted an exotic fruit grower, Good Land Organics, and it turned out that coffee, which is also a type of fruit, grows well when planted in the shade of avocado trees. The shade and climate allow the fruit of the coffee plant to mature gradually so that it develops a unique flavor. The unique flavor makes it the kind of premium coffee proud to serve to friends alongside a tray of fresh-baked pastries.


"The name Frinj was picked in honor of growing coffee on the edge."


Good Land Organics started growing coffee in 2012 and changed its name in 2018, becoming Frinj Coffee, INC. The name Frinj was picked in honor of growing coffee on the edge, or fringe, of regions that are traditional areas for growing products. In addition to growing coffee, Frinj helps other growers get started by selling healthy, high-yielding varietals, offering consulting services to others who are getting started, and then buying the yields from their growers and taking the beans to market.

A young woman pouring a small bag of coffee beans into a KitchenAid® Burr Grinder.
A person making espresso with a KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series Espresso Maker.


California-grown coffee is still in its early stage as far as becoming an industry goes, so production hasn’t peaked. That means it’s still a bit scarce in addition to being a premium product, so the prices can be high.


It can be hard to find this type of premium coffee in the marketplace. Frinj, the company that helped to start the entire industry in California, also buys beans from the farmers who purchase their plants in addition to what they grow. The Frinj team then roasts the beans, and while Bird Rock Coffee previously picked up their entire crop, Frinj makes some blends available on its website. But don’t be surprised to find the product sold out. Hopefully, this will increase the support for local California coffee growers.