It has been a while since my last post. But there is a reason for this gap: MBA classes. This second semester has been the most challenging so far, and I am really happy it is over…
Now that I have a couple of weeks of vacation before I start one of my summer classes, I would like to give you some updates about the harvesting coffee season in Peru.
Harvesting coffee season has arrived in the rural villages of Jaen, Peru. The harvesting season starts in April in lower areas and ends around October in higher areas. Every coffee farmer has been waiting for this season with a lot of excitement. This season means a lot of work, but it also means money in the pockets of thousands of families. The harvesting is like and artwork and should be done manually. Families with large number of members can help each other during this time, but small families have to look for helpers in order to harvest the coffee berries on time. It is crucial to harvest on time because by doing this, the quality of the final product would be valuable. For example, depending on the variety of coffee, a ready coffee cherry can be red or yellow.
After, the harvesting, a farmer should select one of the two types of processes in order to have dried coffee beans ready to export. The faster method is the wet method, which requires the removing of the pulp of the coffee berries by using traditional machines called coffee pulpers or “despulpadoras”, then the coffee beans require a day or less for fermentation, after that, the coffee beans are washed to remove the slippery mucilage. Finally, the washed beans are exposed to the sun to dry naturally for an average of three days. On the other hand, the dry method is a slower method that takes in average a couple of weeks. This method requires less work because after the berries are harvested, they are immediately exposed to the sun and the pulp of the coffee berries are not removed at the beginning but at the end of the process by using a different machine called coffee machine peeler or “piladora de café”. When selecting a method of processing the harvested coffee, there are trade-offs that a famer should make: a faster method that involves more work would mean a faster way to have money in the pockets, or a slower method with few work but delayed cash in the pockets.
One of the crucial factors during the harvesting season is the weather. Farmers would really appreciate good weather. By saying that, I mean weather without rain because it benefits the harvesting and the drying of the coffee beans. As I mentioned in the lines above, the traditional method for drying coffee beans is by using natural solar heat. Coffee farmers cannot picture a harvesting season with a lot of rain. It would be devastating for them. I remember during my childhood that there was a time where it was raining consistently during the harvesting season and my parents and neighbors were really concerned about it. However, most of the time the weather has been friendly during this season.
As you can see, the harvesting season is a blessing for coffee farmers in Peru. It brings more hard work, but it also brings happiness and income among the families. During this time, families help each other, and the magnificent sun plays a crucial role during this time.