Harvesting coffee is an interesting job. Coffee is grown on trees that produce coffee cherries, which contain the beans we know and love. These beans are then roasted to bring out that characteristic flavor and aroma. So, what does harvesting coffee entail? Let's take a look at this:
When are the coffee cherries ready?
Good coffee starts when the coffee cherries are ready. Coffee trees take somewhere from 3 to 4 years to bear their fruit - coffee cherries. It's easy to spot when the cherries are ready - like typical cherries, they’ll be bright red. However, when the cherries aren’t ready to harvest yet, they’ll still be green, turning black if they’re past harvest time.
When is the coffee harvested?
Coffee is typically gathered once a year. Depending on the country, though, it’ll be harvested during different periods. In Brazil, coffee is generally harvested during the rainy July. Then, as the farmers walk around with their umbrellas, the coffee cherries are usually dried using an industrial machine at a low temperature before being exported. In comparison, the coffee trees bear two harvests in Kenya - the main crop and the fly crop. Of course, the fly crop is smaller, but it means more coffee overall!
How are the cherries harvested?
On smaller plantations, coffee is stripped. This process is where coffee pickers slide their hands along each branch, stripping the trees of both the ripe and the unripe cherries. These cherries fall onto a tarpaulin underneath the tree. These cherries are then sorted, whether by a machine or by hand.