Posted in Kafevend Blog

I reckon it's about time for a technical article- I don't think I've done one of these for a while. Warranting a single bemused and uninterested "hmm" from you today is a look at how the cherries are harvested from coffee trees. There are two methods of gathering coffee cherries: selective harvesting and strip harvesting.

Selective harvesting is the most labour intensive method, and involves a work force moving from tree to tree picking only the ripe cherries. The harvest is staggered in this way, as the plantation is combed through over several weeks as individual cherries reach their peak. Selective harvesting involves a higher production cost, but the benefit of harvesting in this manner is that the quality of the coffee made from these cherries is higher than that made using strip harvesting.

Strip harvesting can be performed by either hand or machine. As you might have guessed, this simply involves stripping all of the cherries from the trees in one fell swoop, ripe and unripe in the same haul. This more heavy handed approach means that machines can be used, which either typically shake the tree to loosen the cherries, or utilise brushes to sweep them off the branches. Whilst it is a cheaper method than selective harvesting, the combination of ripe and unripe cherries means that the final quality of the coffee is affected, as bitter flavours which dampen as the cherry ripens remain present.

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