Handpicked Coffee Cherries Make Better Coffee

Handpicked Coffee Cherries Make Better Coffee

coffee farming in Guatemala

Specialty coffee differs from your normal cup of Folgers in multiple ways. It's usually sourced from an artisanal farm, uses high quality Arabica beans with a high quality score, and must be handpicked. You read that right. Each cherry must be handpicked. In the world post Industrial Revolution, it feels surprising that there are still farmers that use this method. But for specialty coffee, handpicking is a requirement to ensure consistent flavor with the best. Not only does it taste better, it's better for the environment. 

Here are some reasons why handpicked coffee tastes better than machine-picked coffee for several reasons:

  1. Only the ripest cherry gets picked: Selective harvesting allows for only the ripest coffee cherries to be chosen. This results in a higher quality of beans, as underripe or overripe cherries can negatively impact the flavor.

  2. Quality check: Handpicking enables workers to assess the cherries individually, ensuring that only the highest quality beans make it into the final product. This level of quality control is challenging to achieve with machines.

  3.  Reduces damage to the coffea plants: Machines can be more indiscriminate, potentially causing harm to the coffee plant and affecting the overall health of the coffee farm.

  4.  More environmentally friendly: Handpicked coffee is often more environmentally friendly as it reduces the need for heavy machinery that may contribute to soil erosion or used fossil fuels.

How do farmers know when a coffee cherry is ripe enough to pick? Experienced coffee farmers often rely on color, texture, Brix level, and ease of detachment to determine the optimal harvest time for each coffee cherry.

  1. Appearance: Typically, ripe coffee cherries are deep red (almost purple) or deep yellow, depending on the variety. The skin will also be slightly glossy as it pulls firmer.
  2. Feel: The cherries will feel firm and provide a slight give when touched.
  3. Stem Attachment: Ripe cherries will be easier to pluck from the branch compared to unripe ones.
While handpicking coffee cherries is undoubtedly labor-intensive, it remains an indispensable aspect of specialty coffee production. The dedication and expertise of coffee farmers are reflected in every cup of specialty coffee, delivering a truly exceptional coffee experience. And after a cup of our specialty Guatemalan coffee, you'll definitely be singing a different tune of the actual best part of waking up.


Hand picking coffee

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