We’re rapidly transitioning to the new harvest season, and what a ride it’s been! We’re beyond excited for the results of the last harvest and grateful to all our partners, new and old, for joining our Odyssey of Coffee.
Let’s recap the harvesting journey in honor of all the coffees that have now shipped all across the world!
The season’s flight crop took place around October 2021. In the days leading up to the main harvest, we cleansed all premature cherries, both green and overly ripe, in preparation for the main harvest season. This allowed us to homogenize quality and set the scene for our collaborators to begin harvesting only the ripest cherries.
A few days later, all six of our core farms were ready for picking. Things normally start off slow and core harvest activities take place a couple months into the season, but the end of the year is always an exciting time as we get a glimpse behind the quality and our mills start grinding – and they won’t stop until the harvest is over.
Come the new year, our farm’s harvest was at its peak. Seas of ripe cherries were visible both at our farms and at our mills. It was really quite the view!
Getting to this point, though, is a long process! Read on to see what the day-to-day looks like!
Insights Into The Farm
Harvest duties start at the break of dawn. Our collaborators make their way up the steep farm slopes, baskets in hand and ready to kick off the day. Throughout the morning they’ll be selectively picking only the ripest cherries, filling up their bags, and repeating the process.
By the early afternoon, they head down to the collection centers where they’ll do an additional selection process to pick out the most homogenously ripe cherries to send over to the mill. Hundred of pounds of coffee are laid out on the ground as people group up to get this task underway and soon call it a day!
From there, each coffee bag is weighed and packed into a truck; which will be heading down to the mill in brief moments to get processing started for the evening.
Arriving at the Mill
While all this was happening, our mill staff made sure everything runs smoothly before, during, and after the coffees arrive.
Since early in the morning, coffees are laid out either on our patios or our raised beds. Designated collaborators are in charge of turning coffees every thirty minutes from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to make sure these dry evenly. Any unwanted moisture can cause damage later on in the process, so it’s key for us to ensure coffee parchment reaches an internal moisture content of around 10-12%.
However, in many cases, we opt to pre-dry coffees in our patios for around two days, and then we transfer them to mechanical driers. Contrary to popular belief, mechanical driers actually allow us to better monitor and control airflow, temperature, and time. Our drivers in particular are optimized to preserve resources and reduce waste by burning coffee beans’ ‘cascarilla’ to generate indirect heat to dry the coffee.
A Night at the Mill
Around 4:00 p.m. the coffees that were previously sorted and pre-selected start arriving at our mill. Regardless of the process, we have in mind, all coffees will be dropped at our wet mill, and depending on whether they’ll be natural, washed, or semi-washed, we’ll give them different treatments.
- Semi-Washed: Coffee cherries are washed and de-pulped, and transported to a machine that uses high water pressure to wash off the mucilage from the parchment layer of the coffee bean.
- Pulp Natural: These coffees are washed and de-pulped. However, unlike semi-washed coffees, the coffee is left with a layer of sugary mucilage surrounding the seeds.
- Fully Washed: Coffee cherries are washed and de-pulped. The parchment coffee is submerged in water for 16-24 hours until the mucilage layer is broken down and washed off the bean.
Once coffees are processed, they are laid down on our patios to begin the drying process. We do this for every single one of the coffees we picked throughout the day, as well as those coffees our providers send us; so these tasks take place until the early hours of the morning.
Samples and Upcoming Coffees
Once the coffee has dried to perfection we take it to the dry mill for our team to process it and prepare it for physical analysis of the bean, which allows us to identify any defects and sort coffee depending on density, size, and color.
Once this process is complete, we proceed to roast a 150-gram sample from every lot. From there, we wait up to 24 hours and cup every single coffee that comes out from our mills.
It is at this point that we select the finest coffees we offer our clients throughout the year.
We’re beyond excited with the results from last harvest season and we can’t wait to share the new coffees for this year! We’ll be sharing more about this process in the upcoming months, so stay tuned and we’re looking forward to sharing these coffees with you all!