Coffee Beans – From Picking To Roasting

Harvesting Coffee Cherries

The seeds from cherry-like fruits are what we call coffee beans. When the cherries on coffee trees are ripe and ready to pick, they start out yellow, then turn orange, and finally turn bright red. Checkout San Francisco Coffee for more info.

Coffee cherries grow in clusters along tree branches. The exocarp is the bitter and thick skin of the cherry. The fruit underneath, the mesocarp, is extremely sweet and has a texture similar to that of a grape. Then there’s the Parenchyma, a sticky, honey-like coating that covers the beans inside the coffee cherry. The endocarp, a protective parchment-like envelope for green coffee beans that also has a final membrane called the spermoderm or silver skin, protects the beans.

On average, one coffee harvest occurs per year, the timing of which is determined by the geographic zone of cultivation. South of the Equator, coffee is harvested in April and May, while north of the Equator, coffee is harvested later in the year, from September onwards.

Coffee is usually selected by hand in one of two methods. Cherries can be stripped from the branch all at once or one by one using the selective picking process, which ensures that only the ripest cherries are harvested.

Processing of Coffee Cherries

They must be processed as soon as possible after being picked. Coffee pickers will pick 45 to 90 kilogrammes of cherries each day, but only about 20% of that weight is the actual coffee bean. Either of two methods can be used to process the cherries.

The Dry Method

This is the simplest and most cost-effective method, which involves laying out the harvested coffee cherries to dry in the sun. They are left in the sunshine for 7-10 days and are turned and raked on a regular basis. If the moisture content of the coffee cherries is reduced to 11%, the shells will brown and the beans will rattle around inside the cherry.