Harvesting exceptional coffee is an arduous joband carried out in a difficult working environment.
The finest Arabicacoffees are grown on perilouslysteep mountain slopes at high altitudes. Simply climbing the mountain side farm is guaranteed to leavethe average city-dweller winded. Coffee farmers on the other hand, climb theslopes repeatedly and haul sacks of coffee berries on their backs or on theirheads as the women do it in some parts of the world.
At some Coffee Heritage Project’s origin, each ripe coffee berry is picked by hand. Handpicking is necessary since the steep mountain side makes it virtually impossible to mechanize coffee harvesting.
To complicate things even further, coffee berries do not ripen at the same time. On the same branch, there will be berries of allcolors from the unripe green to a ripened, deep reddish color – and unlikeother fruits, unripe coffee berries donot ripen after being plucked. For this reason, coffee pickers have to becareful and pick out only the red berries from the tree. Pickers also need to come back to the trees every sooften to harvest other berries that have already ripened. This is why handpickingcoffee beans is so crucial in producing quality-focused coffee. Comparatively, coffee harvesting is 10 times the handlabor of competing products such as beer, wine, cigars, etc.
There is no better way to truly understand“handpicked” coffee than taking the opportunity to handpick coffee with coffeegrowers at the farm. For some coffee enthusiasts, the trip can be a lifealtering experience. And at the very least, the experience is guaranteed to giveanyone a greater appreciation for coffee (which makes everything else in coffeeeven more important) and a deeper respect for what it took to bring exceptionalhandcrafted beans to your cup.