Harvest and Processing
Apart from the coffee plant, harvesting and processing of the coffee is one of the main additional factors that significantly affect the quality.
The picking method is essential, as a coffee branch can bear both ripe and unripe fruits.
A distinction is made:
Each (mature) cherry is picked individually.
This is usually done by experienced coffee pickers.
Only the ripe cherries are harvested.
Highest Quality - highest effort/cost
All coffee fruit is removed from the tree, regardless of maturation state.
Both ripe and unripe cherries are harvested.
Lower quality and effort/cost
Like stripping but by machine.
Requires mostly monocultures permitting the use of machinery.
Lowest effort/cost, lowest quality.
Elements of a coffee cherry
After picking the coffee cherries, the outer layer - the shell - has to be removed, to separate the two beans (2).
Coffee beans are the seeds of the fruit which looks like ripe cheeries with a red skin(Exocarp (7) ).
The two beans (2) lie in the the pulp (Mesocarp (6)), and are each covered by a parchment (Endokarp (4)).
When the fruit is ripe, the beans are surrounded by a thin gelatenous layer, the parchment. In the parchment the beans are covered by another thin membrane, the silver skin (3)).
Each cherry usually contains two coffee beans. Before coffee beans can be roasted, they must be removed from the fruit and dried
Essentially, a distinction is made between the following two: