The coffee plant is a tropical evergreen shrub. It can be used to grow beans, and the beans can be processed into a stimulating drink. There are two main species of coffee grown in the world: Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee.
Arabica coffee is grown primarily in Latin America, while Robusta coffee is grown primarily in Vietnam. Climatic factors that are critical for coffee growth are temperature and rainfall. No type of coffee can withstand temperatures around 0 ° C. The moderate temperature of 23° C is more conducive to good growth.
Arabica coffee requires 1,500 to 2,000 millimeters of rain per year, and the dry period required is 2 to 3 months. Compared to strong plants that can grow in hot, humid climates, it grows at higher altitudes (where the temperature tends to be mild). These climatic factors have greatly limited the coffee-growing area.
Brazil has some great geographical factors that back the production of a huge amount of coffee every year, and it is partly because of this reason that Brazil is the world’s largest producer of coffee.
As one of the biggest coffee exporting companies in Brazil, here is our guide on coffee cultivation and harvesting.
Cultivation, Harvesting, and Processing Methods
The cultivation and processing methods of coffee depend on the type of coffee and also the region where it is grown. Many modern equipment and processes are being included as time progresses, but the main processes include:
Most of the coffee supplied to the world market is grown on small farms and plantations in open forests. The density per hectare is between 1200 and 1800 plants. However, cultivation techniques vary. The traditional free co-planting method appears to be limited to small-scale planting, while the more modern method appears to be artificial planting.
Natural selection, insects, or diseases kill some seedlings, so only about half of the seedlings reach maturity. Using modern cultivation methods, the seedlings with carefully selected seeds are grown in a shady nursery.
Before being brought to the site, they are usually packed black plastic bags and then gradually hardened to fully expose to the sun.
In primitive lands, young coffee in the early years is grown together with food crops such as maize, beans, or rainfed rice. On old land, green manure or beans should be planted in the rainy season. In the three to four years after planting (before coffee trees or begin to bear fruit), care is mainly limited to weeding, spraying weeds to prevent disease, and pruning them. The trees are strong, balanced, and can promote fruiting. The time between flowering and fruit ripening will vary significantly depending on the region, altitude, variety, climate, and level of maintenance. Arabic coffee takes about seven months, while Robusta takes about nine months.
Yield generally increases with the age of the tree and begins to decline about 15 years after planting. However, with good management, this decline is not usually very dramatic and the economic life of the tree can reach 50 years. The yield varies according to the type of coffee and the method of cultivation and raising.
However, high yields tend to quickly deplete trees, and depending on soil and management conditions, plant yields begin to decline dramatically.
Fertilizers can be used to increase yields, but not all farms do this. In Brazil, a considerable amount of chemical fertilizers has been used in coffee plantations, however, they know how to do it very well keeping sustainable production. The total amount used is still relatively small compared to the large-scale cultivation of this crop. The main types of fertilizers commonly used are nitrogen and potassium.
Different diseases can hamper the growth and yield of coffee trees. Coffee tree diseases include leaf rust caused by the fungus hemiplegia vastatrix, which has caused considerable damage to the Arabica species. Robusta appears to be more resistant or only slightly sensitive to these flagella.
The borer is another parasite that attacks and destroys Arabica and Robusta seeds. Most of these diseases are controlled by continuous pesticide spraying.
Harvesting and Processing
Coffee fruits are harvested by hand when fully ripe, and the color is red and purple. The ripe fruit is then processed to release the coffee beans from their mulch and pulp. Two techniques are often used in processing: wet and dry.
Wet method: First, the fresh fruit is pulped with a pulping machine. In many cases, there is still some pulp attached to the coffee and the fermentation broth in the fermenter removes residual sugar substances. All remaining pulp from the coffee beans is removed and then dried to a moisture content of approximately 12% by exposing them to the sun or using a hot air dryer.
Drying process: During this process, the fruit is immediately placed in the sun or dried in a hot air dryer. In this case, drying requires much more time and equipment than the weathering process. When the fruit is dried to a moisture content of 12%, it is mechanically husked to release the seeds from its skin.
That’s how coffee is cultivated and though much modern equipment is finding its place in coffee cultivation, the basic process remains the same and is as discussed above. If you are looking for the biggest coffee exporting companies in Brazil, you can always turn to us for serving you the best Brazilian Coffee.