Stages of coffee cultivation


Coffee is one of the most popular natural beverage in the world. Containing more caffeine content than the likes of tea and cocoa, it also happens to be the most potent naturally produced beverage to reinvigorate our energies instantly.

So, today, in this article, we discuss the different stages of coffee cultivation before green coffee is taken to the market.

Planting the Seeds

Coffee beans, before processing, are seeds that can be planted without any processing to grow into coffee trees. However, different species of coffees such as Arabica and Robusta grow in different kind of lands and climatic conditions.

The new seeds are usually planted in shaded beds. The seedlings need to be kept shaded for a few days and regularly watered before planting them permanently. Usually, permanent plantations are done during the rainy season, when the soils are moist enough for coffee trees to establish their roots.

Harvesting the Cherries

It takes 3-4 years for a coffee tree to bear fruit, known as cherries. When The cherries turn red from green, it’s time for harvesting. Usually, harvesting is done once or twice a year.

Both Arabica and Robusta beans can be picked using hands or machines, depending on the fields. Irrespective of the picking methods, however, coffee beans are harvested by following either of the two methods below:

  • Strip Picking: This is the method where the entire strip of cherries is stripped off of the plants.
  • Selective Picking: In this method, only the red cherries are picked, with the green cherries left to ripe properly.

Processing the Cherries

Based on the resources available as well as the location, the cherries are processed in the following ways:

  • The Dry Method: The most classic method of coffee processing, where the freshly picked fruits are spread under the sunlight to dry. It continues for several days to weeks until the moisture content of cherries drops to 11%.
  • The Wet Method: The wet method uses pulping machines to peel off the skins and pulps from the beans. Then, the beans are transported through water channels and rotating drums to separate them based on weight and size. After that, they are fermented in water-filled tanks. Once fermented, the beans are then needed to be dried properly.

Milling the Beans

Before going to the market, both Arabica and Robusta beans need to be processed further. It involves hulling, which means removing the dried husks from parchment coffee. Some farmers also perform polishing, where any silver skins left from hulling are removed. The beans are then reviewed for flaws, before sorting and grading them based on weight and size, and packaging them to export.

That's it! Green coffee beans are now ready to be roasted.

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