The harvest

But how do we harvest coffee?

Coffea’s blossoming depends on the rains, so flowers, ripe and unripe berries can be found on any one plant at the same time. ù

The best method of harvesting but also the most labor-intensive and time-consuming, selective picking requires workers to pass from plant to plant, handpicking only the ripe, bright red cherries, one by one. It is an expensive method, but the green coffee quality is very good.

With stripping, tree branches are “stripped” by hand from the stem outward and the fruits fall to the ground where they are caught by sheets.  Stripping is normally carried out when three-quarters of the crop is ripe, with green and over-ripe fruits being separated and discarded. 

Mechanical harvesting
is used mainly in Brazil. Harvesting is carried out using various mechanical systems, all of which have the effect of vibrating the coffee tree branches to cause the fruit to fall.  As with the stripping method, ripe, green and overripe cherries are picked together and must be separated in a later stage.