Harvesting Methods

Coffee Harvesting Methods

Picking: the natural way of harvesting
This is a fully a manual procedure by which only ripe fruits are picked by hand. The method is characterised by:

  • being slow
  • giving high quality of the fruit picked
  • providing evenness of the harvest
  • relatively high costs

Stripping: the quick harvest
This is a procedure that can be performed by hand or machine, and involves stripping the plant of its fruit and leaves. The main characteristics of this process are:

  • greater speed
  • damage to plants
  • unevenness of the harvest
  • lower costs


The fruit and bean can be processed in a number of ways.

The washed bean method
This method is a water-based treatment after picking. The beans are processed through the following stages:

  • cleaning
  • depulping (mechanical separation of the pulp and bean by rollers)
  • fermentation (with water to remove mucilage - 12/24 hours )
  • washing (120 l/kg)
  • sun drying for 9 - 10 days or in dryer
  • hulling and glazing
  • grading (large / medium / small / caracolito)

This method is:

  • time-consuming
  • costly
  • technically complex

However, it ensures a high-quality coffee: even, aromatic and clean-tasting. The process also determines the final colour of the bean:

  • Coffea Arabica becomes greenish-blue
  • Coffea Robusta becomes yellowish-green

The ‘natural’ dry (unwashed) beans method
This method is a dry treatment after the plants have been stripped, and the beans are processed through the following stages:

  • cleaning and washing (separation from leaves, wood chips, gravel or soil)
  • drying (sun dried or in dryers -1-3 days at 45-60° C)
  • hulling (separation skin/parchment from the bean)
  • grading (large / medium / small/ caracolito)

This method is:

  • rapid
  • economical
  • technically simple
  • more ecological

The process means the sugar content is higher. Again, the process determines the final colour of the bean:

  • Coffea Arabica is greenish
  • Coffea Robusta tends towards

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