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The harvest and initial processes are also essential for coffee quality

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). 



The beans are then washed and left to dry in the sun or in a dryer. Finally the husker eliminates the two remaining protective membranes.

  • The dry processing method produces a type of coffee with a less uniform appearance, known as natural. The fruit just harvested is spread out in the air and sun for two-three weeks. Exposure to the sun followed by the action of the machines eliminates skin, pulp and protective membranes.
  • There is also a processing method that produces a semi-washed coffee and uses a machine to remove both the skin and the pulp, employing water just for washing. The beans are then put to dry in the sun or in dryers.