Two harvesting systems are used most widely in coffee growing:
- Picking: coffee picking is a totally manual process in which the ripe cherries are selected and picked one by one, requiring pickers to rotate through the crop several times. This yields a more uniform high-quality crop.
- Stripping: coffee stripping is a process that may be manual or mechanised in which all the fruit is removed in one go when it is of average ripeness. It often requires a further check to eliminate impurities and under-ripe or already fermented cherries.
The next step is to extract the bean from the fruit, using a wet or dry processing method:
- wet processing is used for fruit harvested by picking and produces a coffee classified as washed or mild, of the most highly prized quality and with a uniform appearance with no defects. This processing method requires the use of cherries with uniform maturation and consistency. A machine removes the skin from the beans which are then placed in water to ferment, so as to eliminate the mucilage (pulp).