01 January 2016

From the tree to the cup

Each year, coffee is harvested during the dry season, which begins in November in Pu'er, when the coffee cherries ripen and become bright red, glossy and firm. The cherries are harvested by hand.

The cherries are then processed in a fermentation pool and become unshelled beans. Farmers have little leisure time between November and April. When one season ends, farmers like Shi Youfu have to trim the trees to promote the growth of high-quality coffee cherries in the coming season. Fertilizing and weeding are two other time-consuming tasks in the off-season, he said.

Coffee beans must undergo several processes before they can be sold. The "parchment shells" are cleaned and de-stoned before the beans are hulled and graded by size. The beans are then either baked by local manufacturers or exported as they are.