Coffee, the Aromatic Beverage That Moves the World

The process begins approximately one year before the seed is planted. Men and women walk through the plantations in the heat picking small bags of red ripe fruits from the coffee bushes. Each bag is tagged with the number that identifies the bush. Thousands of these fruits are picked to be dried and later roasted. After grinding each bag of dry, roasted seeds the coffee is made. Then the experts come in, they are called “baristas” they are like wine sommelier but they specialize in coffee. Out of all the bags and lots they chose the most aromatic, strong and better looking coffees. The bushes from where these seeds came are marked and protected with nets to keep the birds away and it is time to wait.

The coffee beans on these plants are not harvested like those in the rest of the plantation; they are allowed to ripen until they fall from the bush when they reach full maturity. The next step is the nursery. A special mix of soil is put into polyethylene bags and two seeds are dropped in each one. They will be given special care under regulated shade for the next year. Usually both seed germinate but only the strongest one, the one with more leaves and thicker trunk will be left, the other will be discarded. They are watered and fertilized every two weeks. They are also inspected closely if any disease shows up on them they are also discarded.

During the year and a half it takes for them to grow enough to be planted on their permanent home men are working take branches of the trees that will protect the new plants from the sun. They dig trenches where the plants will live filling them up with rotten leaves and other organic material. The brush is uprooted and grass is planted instead of it, plastic hose irrigation systems are installed and connected to the plantation can be watered by one or two men at any time. Huge pieces of land are cleared of debris, fallen trees and bushes. From afar the land looks like a majestic stairway going up a mountain in the middle of the early morning fog.

The plants are now ready to move to their new home, there is another round of selection and only the best are transplanted into the ditches where the organic fertilizer was buried. Thousands upon thousands of little plants are tenderly transplanted until the first phase is finally complete. For the next three years they will be fed with organic materials, watered from cold, clear and clean mountain spring water and kept surrounded by a carpet of green luscious grass. Only authorized personnel are allowed into the new area and they wear clothes into which they change before entering the plantation. Disease and dangerous bugs wait to destroy it.

Near the end of the second year the plants flower for the first time, beautiful, delicate white flowers, and the sweet smell of their pollen fills the air and the bees buzz from plant to plant. These flowers are removed as soon as possible. The plants are not ready to produce coffee beans, they need to mature more, grow stronger. Another year goes by and the cycle of life repeats itself, the flowers bloom, the bees come back and this time Nature is allowed to follow its course. Three months later the bushes are filling up with green coffee beans. As the rainy season passes and the dry season starts again the green mountains start to change into shades of yellow, orange and red. Collection begins and only the red beans are hand-picked. For one more month men, women and children walk around the bushes picking the red beans. After one month the remaining green and yellow beans are picked and thrown out.

The beans are then taken to the mills where using water the skin is removed leaving behind the brown seeds. The seeds are then dried under the sun on huge cement floors where they are moved around with wooden rakes so they dry evenly. The drying areas are on the flatlands and can be as big as two or three football fields. The coffee beans are put out in the sand in the early morning and are bagged again while the sun is setting. When the majority of them have reached 40% humidity they are taken to the selection rooms where they are again classified for color and size. This is the coffee that is roasted and ground to perfection. This is the coffee that is bagged and sent all over the world so you can have that special pick-me-up every morning.

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