The harvest in this climate, at this altitude, begins in December and sometimes lasts into March. Larger coffee plantations in the area open their doors to migrant workers from other areas of the country. The community comes alive, bustling with the hustle of the harvest. People have more money in their pockets, sometimes there is more crime, and on Sundays, there are more men drinking in the streets (los bolos).
The coffee is hand picked by the townspeople, each with a straw basket tied around their waste. They take pride in the speed at which they can pick—and with good reason because they are paid accordingly. A good day of work may pay approximately $10.00 and often includes at least lunch.
Workers seek to pick only the ripest berries and only the berries, because pulling off too many stems damages the tree. This is where the coffee begins its journey to your cup…
Then the process continues as follows:
- Wet milling to depulp, ferment, wash, and sort for quality
- Drying, usually in the sun; more sorting for quality
- Small farmers then bag the pale beige coffee beans to sell in the market
- Coffee then enters a dry mill in which it is dried (often in the sun) more before husk
removal; the dehusked bean is referred to as oro or gold
- The beans can then be toasted
- The aromatic toasted beans can then be ground
- Ground coffee is brewed with hot water
- A cup can be poured and enjoyed!
A helpful webpage...