The evolution of coffee from a crop to a cup is very fascinating. Growing and Coffee harvesting needs to be done in ideal situations. Not every soil responds well. In order to learn right conditions and the possibility of harvesting coffee check out our website ‘coffeeclues.com’. Even different techniques serve as important factors in coffee harvesting.
Processing plays an important role in separating the green beans from the cherries. There are two kinds of processing procedures: Natural and Washed. Natural technique includes the dry technique. Washed technique is famous for Arabia coffees. Even in washed technique there are two different mechanisms that can be employed to process the coffee beans. If you want to go for a not-much-complicated technique natural processing is the best way to choose. And that is apparently the oldest method of processing coffee.
Growing and harvesting coffee
The coffee ‘tree’ is in fact a type of tropical evergreen shrub. The coffee tree does not commence to deliver its full produce until its sixth year and will maintain peak production for approximately ten years. However for a period of 60 years coffee plants may continue to live.
The tree, if left untouched will develop to a height of between 16 and 40 feet. In the majority of coffee farms the trees are maintained at a convenient six feet to obtain the most excellent yield and to make it trouble free to harvest.
- The ideal growing environment is in a temperature zone of 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Rainfall should be abundant and the weather should change between intense rainfall and sunshine to cause the berries to mature fully.
- The kind of soil is not very vital but adequate drainage is required.
Early showers ahead of the monsoon, known as the blossom showers are necessary for the coffee blossoms to develop. Sprinkler irrigation systems are employed for supplementing blossom showers. Drip irrigation systems utilizing electrically controlled motors, diesel pump sets are employed for producing coffee as well as intercrops. Power sprayers are employed for checking the growth of fungi in Arabica. Tractors are employed for moving harvested coffee, timber as well as for tilling paddy fields.
Preservation of coffee entails frequent weeding, trimming of coffee plants, fertilizer use. Coffee needs shade to mature suitably. Excessive sunlight can be damaging to the plant. The trees planted for the purpose of providing shade, in addition to supplying timber, are also utilized for cultivating black pepper. Occasionally cocoa trees are planted as well. Additional crops are inter-planted together with coffee. Intercrops that are widespread include orange, pepper and cardamom. The crop that gives the best returns is Cardamom.
- Two techniques of harvesting the coffee fruit include cautiously picking by hand or the tree is shaken and the fruits are stripped.
- The harvesting period commences in mid-November, when Arabica begins yielding.
- Harvesting of Arabica goes on till the middle of January. Robusta harvesting starts in January and goes on till March.
- Consequently, the overall harvesting period continues for 5 months from November to March.
Harvesting is totally reliant on labor. The laborers are employed on a temporary basis but come somewhat from dissimilar categories of floating populations. The entire work has to be completed by hand and is exceptionally prolonged. All the berries have to be pulled out prior to the end of the season or else they are unfit for use. Because of this, most of the plantations are willing to pay higher wages to lure the laborers. Occasionally the wages that are paid is equivalent to the price of the harvested crop.
Processing The Coffee Beans
There are two chief procedures of coffee processing namely natural and washed. The majority of the countries in the Americas utilize the washed procedure since they have abundant water. Countries for example Yemen where water is scarce, utilize the natural procedure. Both procedures, if completed properly, give coffee its distinctive traits.
- The purpose of both techniques is to eliminate the green beans from the cherries.
- The majority of coffee cherries have two dome-shaped beans, with the flat surfaces in front of each other.
- Certain cherries have simply a solitary bean, known as pea berry, which is more round-shaped.
- The washed technique of processing is the most widespread with Arabica coffees.
- There are two major mechanisms to the washed technique of processing.
- There is the “wet mill,” which eliminates the fruit from the bean, and the “dry mill,” which categorizes the coffee for export.
- When coffee is collected at the wet mill, it is weighed and dropped into an enormous tank of water by the workers.
- Every cherry that is green, rotten, or diseased will hover on the top together with any twigs as well as leaves.
- The good cherries, in contrast, will go downwards.
- These good cherries will subsequently be shifted from the tank to be pounded by machines, which factually “pop” the beans from the cherries by pressing them lightly.
- The seeds, covered with fruit or mucilage, are dispatched to a composting heap, where they turn out to be a vital component of the soil regeneration procedure.
The second tank is entrusted with the task of eliminating the intractable mucilage from the seeds, generally through fermentation. Fermentation permits the enzymes of the mucilage to break them down.
At this juncture, the beans from the fermentation tanks are poured into long canals thus they can be washed and cleaned. Again, tiny walls in the canals will permit the “floaters” to go by and the quality beans to descend.
Subsequent to rinsing, workers pour the coffee on top of huge dying patios for drying in the sun. When the beans are dried, they are covered by tough shells known as parchment. When dried suitably, the desired green beans contract within the parchment, thus finishing the wet procedure.
- The dry technique also known as the natural method is the oldest, uncomplicated and needs not much equipment.
- The method entails drying the entire cherry.
- The three fundamental steps are cleaning, drying as well as hulling.
Initially, the harvested cherries are generally sorted and cleaned, to divide the green, overripe and damaged cherries and to eliminate dirt, soil, twigs as well as leaves. This can be achieved by winnowing, which is usually completed by hand, by means of a large sieve. Any useless cherries or additional material not winnowed away can be singled out out from the top of the sieve.
The coffee cherries are dried in the sun, either on huge concrete or brick patios or on matting increased to waist level on trestles. When the cherries dry, they are raked or turned by hand to make certain that the drying takes place uniformly.
The dried cherries are stocked in bulk in specific silos until they are dispatched to the mill where hulling, categorization, and bagging occur.