Journey into the World of Coffee: How is coffee harvested?
Harvesting Coffee: Techniques & Approaches
The harvesting of coffee – a beverage adored by many across the globe – isn't a simple task. It requires utmost care, precision, and finely honed techniques. There are three primary methods used in the realm of coffee harvesting: Picking, Stripping, and Machine harvesting. Allow us to dive deeper into these methods and highlight their critical differences.
Picking: A Labour-intensive Route to Exceptional Quality
Picking, an incredibly labour-intensive method, is at the heart of harvesting the best and most flavorful coffee. This meticulous method involves individual hand-picking of the coffee cherries from the branches of coffee plants.
Why this intense labour, you wonder? Because coffee plants are nature's jigsaw puzzle – they bear simultaneous clusters of blossoms, ripe, and unripe fruits. In the Picking method, only mature, ripe cherries are delicately picked, leaving behind the immature ones to continue their ripening process on the branches.
The beauty of the Picking method lies in the preservation of optimum quality. It ensures that only cherries of the same degree of ripeness are processed together, leading to a consistent, superior brew. It's a slow process, yielding harvest for up to 60 litres of coffee per hour. Yet, the result - a sublime cup of coffee - makes every effort worthwhile.
Stripping: A Speedy Harvest Without Compromise
The Stripping method contrasts with Picking by focusing on speed. Here, all coffee cherries, regardless of ripeness, are swiftly stripped off the coffee plants by hand before being gathered in outspread sheets.
Although the Stripping method is more cost-efficient, it entails post-harvest sorting to separate unripe cherries. For instance, in Brazil, about 75% of all cherries ripen simultaneously at a certain time, but the remaining 25% require sorting. Despite this extra step, the Stripping method remains a viable option as it allows for a faster harvest.
Machine Harvesting: The Intersection of Modernity and Efficiency
The third method, Machine Harvesting, mirrors the Stripping method. It removes all fruits without considering their ripeness from the coffee plants. However, the distinguishing factor lies in the use of harvesting machines that comb the branches causing the coffee cherries to fall to the ground.
Machine Harvesting can yield harvest for approximately 4,000 to 5,000 litres of coffee per hour - a significant increase from the Picking method. However, this method is predominantly used in Brazil, as the machines necessitate a flat surface to function properly.
Discover More About the World of Coffee
Imbued with tradition, technicality, and a dash of modern innovation, the journey of coffee from plant to cup is a fascinating one. We invite you to continue exploring these facets of the coffee universe - it's a journey of discovery that enhances every sip of your favourite brew.