All About Coffee

How Coffee is Grown and Harvested

Coffee is really a fruit. Coffee branches form delicate white, jasmine-like blossoms that last for a little more than a day. These blossoms give way to coffee "cherries" that are red and round and very much resemble our own native cherries. It takes 3 to 5 years for the plants to begin producing and that is possible only with the proper combination of climate, rain, sunshine and shade.

Arabica coffee plants do best in rich, volcanic mountain soil. The higher elevations cause the coffee bean to grow more slowly, which in turn leads to a more aromatic and flavorful coffee.

Coffee being harvested
Harvesting is done either by handpicking or by machine stripping. When done by hand, cherries are picked off the tree or from the ground. Since only the ripe coffee cherries are picked, each tree can be picked numerous times during a season. The stripping method strips the tree of all its cherries at once and is done when most of its cherries are ripe. Most coffee is still picked by hand.

But the cherries are not what the coffee farmers are seeking. Rather, the prize is the twin coffee beans inside the coffee cherry.