Where Have You Been?: Harvesting

Welcome back you caffeinated maniacs and connoisseurs! Remember me, your trusty Roastmaster? I know it’s been awhile, but that’s ok. My aim is to entertain and occasionally educate.

Last time I wrote a bit about Selva Negra and various other musings. Well, this time I’m gonna go on about Harvesting, a spectacular time for coffee farms. We’re using Selva Negra and my trip there as an example.

So, as you know, Coffee is a crop and as such adheres to growth & harvest cycles. Each region is different. Nicaragua (Selva Negra) is typically October through March with new crop landing in US ports throughout the summer.

Before anything can happen, though, the coffee needs to be picked.

As Coffee Tree blooms give way to Coffee Cherries, that fruit will begin to ripen, changing color from green to a dark red. Specific lots (aka sections) are picked each day until the entire farm has been picked through. In Selva Negra’s case, these sections will be picked up to 7 (!!!) times until all the ripe cherries have been picked, plucked, sorted through, what have you. This can take every bit of the 5 months of harvest time on a farm this size and specialization. This is specialty coffee folks!

Working from 6am to 2pm, a good Picker can manage 6-9 baskets a day (weighing around, oh, 30-40 pounds). I, however, could have used some practice.

From there the Picker’s haul is bagged and carried to a makeshift weigh station where it is tallied. The Pickers are paid by weight, making this step very important. Remember how I said this was an intense and specific process? Hey you’re still awake!

Once the cherries are tallied, they’re loaded into the dump truck to be hauled to the Wet Mill. From there the Coffee will be depulped and, depending on the type or section, further processed. We’ll get more in depth on the Wet Mill next go around.

In case you were wondering, I did not win the picking contest.

Thanks for checking this out, stay safe!

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