2. THE HARVEST
The next stage in our miniseries is "The Harvest". This stage can prove crucial in the cup quality of a coffee.
After the plants have matured, they will start to produce bright red coffee cherries, ready to be picked. Coffee that is harvested at peak ripeness usually tastes the best.
The harvesting of the coffee is either done by machine or by hand. Most commonly we see the hand picking method due to the ineffectiveness of machines in the mountaineous areas that great coffee is grown in.
Coffee cherries on a tree ripen at different rates, therefore hand picking is by far the preferred method to achieve quality. In most coffee producing countries, we see one major harvest per year. However in some countries like Columbia, there is a second harvest.
Sorting the beans for ripeness is also important for the quality of the coffee being sold. In countries with less money available for equipment, this is done by hand. Whereas in more developed countries, the ripeness of the coffee cherry is sorted using a flotation tank.
These are only the first two stages of the coffee that ends up in our cup. Hard work and passion is the reason we have a coffee industry!