Michael Siegenthaler
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Coffee Production

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Coffee Production

Coffee harvest and production in Guatemala, January 2012

Many of the ripe berries are up high, so it's necessary to pull the branches down to pick them. Our group picked ~150 lbs coffee over the course of a morning, or about 10 lbs per person. In the late afternoon, freshly picked coffee berries are brought to the facility for processing the same day.
The processing facility is built onto the side of a mountain; water and gravity carry the berries through a sluice gate to the next stage. The berries get washed in the blue box, then continue downward. A machine separates the pulp from the bean; any remaining whole berries are diverted to the side for a second pass.
The shaker table allows the coffee beans to pass through, while holding back the berries that are still whole. Coffee beans are collected, ready to be dried. Patios are used to dry coffee in the sun, a process that takes about 13 days.
Meanwhile, the waste pulp is pumped in the direction of the compost pile. The pulp gets composted and eventually returned to the coffee fields as fertilizer.