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Cultivation and harvesting of coffee

Attibassi and attention to its dealers

The rich and enveloping scent of coffee beans is given by about 800 aromas and flavors they contain. In order for them to be fully appreciated, all the steps that lead to obtaining the coffee in a cup must be performed in a workmanlike manner, starting with the cultivation and harvesting of the beans.

Attibassi pursues these objectives to ensure that both its coffee dealers and suppliers and the entrepreneurs who have opened a coffee shop through Attibassi licensing – know how to give and tell customers the experience of a unique coffee with excellent quality.

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Coffee cultivation and sowing

The refined art of making coffee primarily involves cultivation and careful harvesting of the plant’s fruits. Characteristics such as soil composition, temperature, altitude and harvesting method are decisive. The coffee plant propagates by sowing or by cutting, and before reaching full maturity to produce its fruits (called drupes or cherries, of which they have color and shape), about four years must pass.

The coffee plant (or tree) thrives well in countries with a hot and humid climate, with temperatures between 18 and 22 degrees. The ideal would be not to exceed 20 degrees. It is grown in about 90 countries and the main areas are located between the Tropic of Cancer and that of Capricorn. In the subtropical areas the plants are grown in the open field, while in the tropical ones the plants need shade and need to be protected from currents: they are in fact planted next to taller and larger plants such as banana and castor trees to ensure them plenty of shade.

From sowing to plant

A coffee drupe normally contains two coffee beans.

For sowing, only the best coffee “cherries” are chosen to extract, after removing the pulp, the beans / seeds to be planted. In particular, the so-called “pergaminos” are used: grains protected by a casing that are able to germinate.

The first sprouts appear after about 10 weeks, with the partial presence of the parchment wrapping of the coffee bean. In some plantations, when they reach a height of 5-10 centimeters, they are planted individually in tall pots, or in plastic bags and entrusted to nurseries. In the following 4-5 months, the plants by now 30-40 centimeters are transplanted into the plantations.

The first flowering occurs around the third year and the first harvest in the fourth year of life, even if not very consistent. A normal harvest can only be obtained between the fifth and seventh year of life. The first flowering occurs around the third year and the first harvest in the fourth year of life, even if not very consistent. A normal harvest can only be obtained between the fifth and seventh year of life.

Arabica flowers pollinate themselves (autogamous), while those of Robusta are pollinated by insects that are attracted by the strong scent emitted by this species. The coffee flower then produces the drupe.

Coffee plants produce fruit continuously: after each shower – following the fourth year of life – flowers are born, and after about 7/9 months the cherries are ripe. Due to this fact, in the years in which there is abundant rain, it is normal to find uneven fruiting on the same plant and therefore you can have flowers, unripe fruit and ripe fruit at the same time.

La pianta del caffè: origine e curiosità | Pasqualini Caffè


The harvesting period depends on various aspects: first of all it varies geographically and not only from continent to continent, but also from country to country. The other important variable is the climate which affects the altitude and the seasons together. For example, from May to September is the harvest period that takes place in Brazil. In Central America it takes place from October to March. In Africa it occurs between late October and early April, while in Asia from November to April.

The fact that the coffee plant blooms and produces its fruit according to the rains that have fallen heavily affects the method of harvesting ripe cherries. The drupes can be picked by hand, one by one, or by vigorously passing the branches of the plant between the fingers of the hand. In the first case we are talking about picking, in the second about stripping.

Picking is more expensive precisely because it is done exclusively by hand and the drupes are selected directly on the plant. This means that the workers have to go between the rows several times a week to collect all the drupes that ripen in a different way. Qualitatively it gives better yields. Stripping is a slightly more aggressive methodology. Sometimes it is performed with the help of long sticks to drop the drupes on clean ground or on cloths previously laid on the ground, a bit like harvesting olives. Other times it is done with the help of special mechanical binders. With stripping, drupes are harvested at various points of ripeness: from ripe cherries to unripe ones, sometimes to rotten ones; the leaves of the plant and small twigs are also collected. Therefore, the quality of the harvest obtained with this method is often lower than that which can be obtained with picking, but higher in terms of quantity.

Depending on whether one of the two methods is used, there are repercussions on the final taste of the coffee: with picking the beans are chosen at the same level of ripeness, while with stripping the presence of cherries in different ripening stages risks giving results. “Swinging”. The presence of unripe seeds, for example, makes the coffee more bitter and more astringent. The two harvesting methods must therefore be carefully dosed, in order to have optimal yields and an always high quality level. To understand how much work is required for coffee harvesting, just think that to get half a kilo of coffee you need two and a half kilos of cherries.

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