Harvest Series #7: Great Coffee Must Settle

Cafe Solar coffee harvest & processin
Most of the steps in the Cafe Solar coffee harvest & processing take place in rapid succession; ripe coffee cherries are picked daily, de-pulped the same day, taken to Cooperativa COMISUYL the next day, quickly logged in the books and then dried in the solar-powered processor.

Up to this point, prompt action is an important factor in success.

But once the dried green beans emerge from the dryer, continued success depends on a solid month of inaction. “For one month, the beans are left to settle. They are acclimatizing,” explains Derek Zavislake of Merchants of Green Coffee. “This allows their moisture levels to even out, and achieve the optimum level of 12%.”

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A natural process it may be, but co-op staff take care to provide the conditions needed for the process to work well. “They manage the environment very carefully,” says Derek. This means that they:

Leave the parchment (the final thin “skin”) in place on the bean
Store the beans in 154lb burlap bags, which allow the coffee to breathe
Store the bags in a clean, dry warehouse
One month later, out they come. The parchment is removed (and mixed with local jatropha oil to form biomass pellets for the green-energy dryer), and the green beans move on to their final grading and are packed for shipment.

Then, however long it may take them to reach your coffee cup, those moisture-balanced beans can travel and be stored without risk of mould, and will perform beautifully when roasted.

  • Keep checking this page: we will be writing more, step by step, about the process that brings Cafe Solar from the mountains of Honduras to your coffee cup.
  • Next Week: Coffee Shipping Time
  • And mark your calendar: the 2014-15 harvest will be available within the next 2 weeks!