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Methods and Seasons of Green Coffee Harvesting

by Ryan Edwards 02 Aug 2023 0 Comments

Our previous article discussed the types of coffees, Arabica and Robusta. This week I would like to provide a brief overview of how the cherries are harvested and the seasons at which this may occur throughout the coffee growing regions.

Green coffee harvesting involves the careful collection of ripe coffee cherries from coffee trees. The exact process and timing can vary depending on the region and coffee-growing practices. Here’s a general overview:

Harvesting Process

Selective Picking: This is the most common and labor-intensive method. Skilled workers selectively handpick only the ripe cherries, leaving unripe or overripe ones on the tree. This ensures higher quality beans but requires multiple passes through the coffee farms as cherries ripen at different times.

Strip Picking: In some cases, especially for lower-grade or commodity coffees, strip picking is employed. Workers strip all the cherries from the tree, regardless of their ripeness. This method is faster but can result in mixed-quality beans.

Harvesting Seasons

Central and South America: In countries like Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, coffee harvesting typically occurs between April and September. However, some regions may have multiple harvest periods throughout the year due to varying altitudes and microclimates.

Africa: Coffee-producing countries in East Africa, such as Ethiopia, Kenya, and Rwanda, often have two primary harvest seasons. The main harvest can occur from October to December, with a smaller harvest known as the “fly crop” taking place between June and August.

Asia-Pacific: In countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, and parts of India, coffee harvesting can vary depending on the region and coffee species. Generally, the harvest periods can range from October to March, with some variations due to local climate conditions.

It’s important to note that these timeframes are approximate and can be influenced by factors such as elevation, weather patterns, and specific coffee varieties grown in each region. Additionally, some coffee-producing countries near the equator, such as Colombia and Ethiopia, may have overlapping harvest periods throughout the year due to their diverse microclimates.

Coffee farmers and producers closely monitor the ripeness of cherries to ensure optimal flavor development. Once harvested, the cherries undergo further processing to remove the fruit and obtain the green coffee beans, which are then prepared for export and subsequent roasting.


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