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Coffee Cultivation Part 1

…coffee to make you smile

Coffee Cultivation

From Seed to Ripe Coffee Bean

The top ten coffee producing countries are all located in the belt running between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

They are in order from 1-10, Brazil (2,680,515 metric tons), Vietnam (1,542,398), Colombia (754,376), Indonesia (668,677), Honduras (475,042), Ethiopia (471,247), Peru (346,466), India (234,000), Guatemala (245,441) and Uganda (245,441).

Astonishingly, coffee is the world’s second most traded commodity, second only to Oil.

But it still takes patience to get a coffee plant from seed to fully mature can take four to five years.

Planting and growing

Coffee beans are the seeds from which the plant is grown, provided they have not been dried and roasted, of course!

Generally, the seeds are planted in large, shaded beds and once they have sprouted are then transferred to individual pots in shaded locations.  They are carefully watered until they are large and strong enough to be transferred to their final growing space, usually during the area’s rainy season to ensure that the roots can establish themselves in moist soil.

It will be three or four years before the bushes are mature enough to bear fruit and the seeds contained in the fruits cannot be harvested until the fruits, called cherries, turn from green (immature) to red (ripe).


Since the cherries ripen at different speeds, they are often hand-picked to ensure only the ripe cherries are taken, although on larger farms where the land is also flat enough they are likely to be machine harvested. The fruit picked from the middle of the season is generally held to have the best flavour.

The most respected and skilful roasters will generally buy their stocks during this mid-season period.

After harvesting, cherries are processed as soon as possible to avoid spoilage using either the natural, dry method of spreading the cherries out on a large surface and leaving them to dry in the sun for 15 to 20 days, or the more modern wet method where the cherries are then put through a pulping machine that squeezes out the pulp without damaging the beans.

The naked coffee beans are then dried in the sun for a day or two.

What happens next?

See our next blog published on the 17th April to find out what happens to the beans between harvesting and your cuppa.

…coffee to make you smile
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