THE QUEST FOR SUPERIOR QUALITY
The method of picking coffee cherries is linked intrinsicly to the physiology of the coffee tree. Cherries growing side by side on the same branch can often ripen at different rates and therefore should be picked at different times. The task of the coffee farmer is to select and harvest the ripe fruit while leaving the rest on the branch.
This is why the majority of coffees used in the production of Nespresso Grands Crus are harvested by 'picking' the ripe cherries entirely by hand..
• The "picking" requires gathering the fruit in a number of stages (6 to 8 trips) as fruit on the same branch does not ripen at the same time.
• This method, preferred by Nespresso is the most costly in terms of time and money.
• Gathering the fruit by hand guarantees the best quality coffee as beans that are too green and bitter or overripe and fermented are weeded out.
• The pickers strip the trees of both ripe and unripe cherries in one go, which fall onto tarpaulin laid under the tree.
• They strip the cherries off by sliding their hands along the branches or by using a large comb.
• This kind of method is quick but requires meticulous sorting to ensure a homogeneous harvest as even a few unripe beans can affect the quality of the coffee.
The process involves placing a machine between the trees that shakes the branches so that all of the fruit falls in one go.
• Mechanical picking is often used in large plantations where the land is fairly level, such as in Brazil.
• Processes that do not involve the selective sorting of the ripest cherries often result in coffees of a more acidic nature due to the presence of unripened fruit.
Next step: Coffee Processing