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Unformatted text preview: extended family of approximately 18 million trees in
50 years or so. Its progeny would supply Latin
America, where a dangerous liaison would help bring COFFEE BLOOMS IN BRAZIL
(Circa 1727 to 1800) Brazil’s government wants a cut of coffee market; but
first, they need an agent to smuggle seeds from a coffee
country. Enter Lt. Col. Francisco de Melo Palheta, the
James Bond of Beans. Colonel Palheta is dispatched to
French Guiana, ostensibly to mediate a border dispute.
Eschewing the fortress-like coffee farms, suave Palheta
chooses a path of less resistance—the governor’s wife. The
plan pays off. At a state farewell dinner she presents him a
sly token of affection: a bouquet spiked with seedlings.
From these scant shoots sprout the world’s greatest coffee
empire. By 1800 Brazil’s monster harvests would turn
coffee from an elite indulgence to an everyday elixir, a
drink for the people. Edward Hopper’s painting “Nighthawks” 10 Steps to Coffee
10 …from the seed to the cup 1 - Planting
Planting A coffee bean is actually a seed. When dried, roasted and ground, it is used to brew coffee. But if the seed is not processed, it can be planted and will grow into a coffee tree. Coffee seeds are generally planted in large beds in shaded nurseries. After sprouting, the seedlings are removed from the seed bed to be planted in individual pots in carefully formulated soils. They will be watered frequently and shaded from bright sunlight until they are hearty enough to be permanently planted. Planting often takes place during the wet season, so that the soil around the young trees remains moist while the A coffee nursery 2 - Harvesting the Cherries
Depending on the variety, it will take
approximately 3 or 4 years for the newly planted
coffee trees to begin to bear fruit. The fruit, called
the coffee cherry, turns a bright, deep red when it
is ripe and ready to be harvested. In most
countries, the coffee crop is picked by hand, a
labor-intensive and difficult process, though in
places like Brazil, where the landscape is relatively
flat and the coffee fields immense, the process has
been mechanized. Whether picked by hand or by
machine, all coffee is harvested in one of two ways:
machine, Strip Picked the entire crop is harvested at Strip Picked
one time. This can either be done by machine or by hand and all of the cherries are stripped off of the branch at one time.
Selectively Picked only the ripe cherries are harvested and they are picked individually by hand. Pickers rotate among the plants every 8 10 days, choosing only the cherries which are at the peak of ripeness. Because this kind of harvest is labor intensive, and thus more costly, it is used primarily to harvest the finer arabica beans. In most coffeegrowing countries, there is one In most coffeegrowing countries, there is one major harvest a year; though in countries like Colombia, where there are two flowerings a year, there is a main and secondary crop. A good picker averages app...
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This document was uploaded on 03/10/2014 for the course AGRO 1001 at LSU.
- Fall '11