Coffee experts@The Coffee Lab
Hey Asharita, As Shruti already explained, there are plenty of steps that are involved in growing coffee. I’ll add a little guide with different steps that involve setting up a plantation. First, you need to choose the site. Remember coffee trees have a deep root system so you need to select the spot where the soil has a good structure and nutrients that will contribute to the taste of the coffee beans. Then, you need to clear the site and some of the tall trees and weeds – making the area ready for you to set up your plantation. Do not remove the small trees, these will be useful for providing shade for your coffee beans. The next step is digging holes for planting coffee in rows, leaving around 3 metres between the rows of trees. It is recommended to dig holes two months before starting your plantation to loosen the soil. Cover the soil by mulching or by a cover crop. This will give the soil organic matter and protect it against the rain and the sun. Then, you’re pretty much ready to start your coffee plantation. Hope that helps.
Coffee experts@Era of We
Hey Asharita, let me answer your question by covering all the basics. A coffee bean is the seed of the coffea plant and the source for coffee. The fruit that grows around the coffee seed is like regular cherries many people enjoy and grow on trees, and a tree typically takes 3-4 years of growth before it produces its cherries. Coffee cherries may contain either a single seed or two seeds, and there is a belief, although not tested and proven scientifically yet, that the cherries with single seeds produce a better-tasting coffee "bean." Land and climate: At Least 1.4 square feet of land has to be cultivated to produce enough coffee "beans" for one cup of coffee. It is estimated that about 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day; thus, a large amount of land has to be cultivated for a significant amount of time. Typically the land is located in the Earth's tropical zones, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, where there is a temperate climate, no frost, ample sunshine, and plenty of water. But even in the tropical zone, not all places are alike. Coffee trees seem to prefer higher altitudes of around 900 to 1600 meters - although this may just be a correlation that higher altitudes seem to give coffee trees their preferred climate, although some strains can be grown at a lower height as well. Rhe area should have moist, fertile, well-drained soil under a shaded canopy where it receives a healthy amount of sunlight. The presence of volcanic ash and decomposed mold helps the vitality of the coffee tree. It's not a coincidence that some of the world's best tasting coffees seem to come from regions with high volcanic activity - Ethiopia, Panama, Colombia, Brazil, Yemen, Peru are some examples. Typically a plantation is on average around 7.5 hectares, although anything below 10 hectares is generally considered small. Many of the coffee farms operational in the world are run by small-time, multi-generational farmers who have been growing coffee for close to a hundred years. The practice is passed down from parent to child; thus, many nuggets of knowledge and local practices are applicable only for a certain region. As you'd expect, most of the space is taken by the coffee trees as you'd expect, with a different spacing matrix required for an arabica, or robusta, to grow. Soil and planting: However, some space on the plantation also has to be left for post-harvest processing tasks, and these tasks have to be done quickly after the main picking of the cherries has been done. If the cherries aren't dried quickly enough, they'll rot and spoil. There are a few ways to do this task. One of the ways is to "wet process" the cherries. Not the best way to go about it since it requires a large amount of water and specialized equipment. The oldest and traditional way of drying cherries is through the "dry' process, where the cherries are cleaned and spread in the sun, being turned every few days to ensure they dry properly. After this, the cherries are graded and packed, processes that don't take a lot of space, and stored in air-tight containers with little to no moisture before being transported to roasteries, here the beans are roasted before being sent straight to your cup! This is just a short overview of the time, commitment, and labor required to operate a small coffee plantation. Definitely not for the faint of heart. There are so many small yet important details that are outside the scope of this answer. Hopefully, this gives you a glimpse and appreciation for the labor conducted by the unknown and unseen farmers across the globe to make sure you get your morning cup of joe. The least we can do for them is ensure they get paid what their produce is worth!
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