What does it take to produce good coffee beans and eventually drink a great cup of coffee?
This were the questions I had as a hard-core coffee drinker (that’s what Yasuko thinks I am). So we decided to join Linda’s organic coffee farm tour at Finca Christina. Heck is it hard to produce coffee. “First, to have good coffee trees”, Linda says, “one needs to create a good environment, letting Mother Earth take control”. Then you need to plant sturdy shade trees among relatively short coffee trees. Those shade trees play an important role and need to be taken care of in several ways. If the tree is too tall, the coffee tree will not get enough sun. If it is too short, it will burn the leaves. Therefore, the trees need to be pruned every other month.
The pruned branches and leaves are left on the ground and create vital biomass for coffee trees.
Linda also plants banana trees and other plants, let bromides and air plants live on the trees, in order to have maximum biodiversity. Of course, an organic farm (no chemicals) means that weeds grow rapidly and the biggest part of their farm’s job is to do the weeding regularly… That’s just the start.
Ripe beans harvested between November to February. Harvesters walk the ground up to 15 times to get all the fruits. They carefully choose the ones which are ripe each time. At the end, no fruit may remain on the trees as this would attract bugs.
Then machines take control. The shell of the fruit needs to be removed. Then we see the slimy two shells inside. Apparently these slimy juice is harmful so here their two pigs come into play: they mix these removed slimy part with pigs’ poo and turn them into biomass. Conventional farmers used to just dump these toxic elements into river…
Then the beans are sun-dried and sorted out based on their quality. That’s Linda’s husband job. Then the beans go back to Linda to be roasted. This takes about 20 minutes at 200+ Celsius depending on how dark the coffee should be.
For one cup of coffee, it takes a multitude of steps and hard work. If you put this in relation to the short time it takes to drink an espresso, it is almost unreal. I will certainly cherish my next cup of coffee with more humbleness.