PHONE 1-800-642-5282

The Coffee Harvest - April 2013

The Coffee Harvest - April 2013 Newsletter
J. Martinez & Company - Coffee Merchants
April 5, 2013

Company Newsletter
The Coffee Harvest

The Coffee Harvest

As we ease into Spring here in Atlanta (and we are indeed easing very slowly), the Bradford pears are ending their blossoming and the azaleas have begun their annual white, pink and red riot of flowers. This is a beautiful time of year to be in this southern city.

Coffee Flowers BrazilCoffee also has its seasons, though its timing varies throughout the world. The blossoming can be quite spectacular as well; the flowering of coffee trees can make a hillside look like it is blanketed in snow. Being among the trees is quite an experience. Bees and butterflies fill the air, along with the delicate, jasmine-like scent of the flowers.

harvesting coffee While each coffee flower may last only a brief time, as it wilts quickly after fertilization, the coffee tree will produce them for as long as a few months. The fruit appears shortly after flowering and takes six to nine months to ripen. The flowering takes place once a year in most places, but in a few countries like Colombia and Kenya it occurs twice. This also means that there are two harvests in these countries, the principal and secondary, sometimes called a “fly” harvest.

The fruit that develops is, botanically-speaking, a berry, but it is referred to more often as a “cherry” by the coffee industry, because it resembles a bright red cherry when ripe. In most places where the tree blooms continuously over a few weeks, the cherries ripen at different times. This calls for hand picking so that only the ripest cherries are harvested. Though in a couple of places hand or mechanical stripping methods are used (most notably Brazil, the largest producer in the world), all high quality coffee is hand-picked and then hand-sorted.

In almost any month you can find an on-going coffee harvest somewhere in the world. In each country the coffee cultivated in the lowest altitudes will ripen first and the harvest will end with the highest grown. Sumatra’s harvest lasts from October to March. On the nearby island of Sulawesi coffee is picked from July through November. Jamaica’s harvest starts in December and lasts through March. Yemen has a short three month harvest at the end of the calendar year. In Colombia the harvest is nearly continual, in different regions and at different altitudes.

Coffee Cherries at J. Martinez & Company

The two coffee trees that are scraping the ceiling in our offices have flowered and one is sporting some ripening cherries! Clearly April is coffee harvest time in Atlanta!