THE PROCESS OF GETTING GREEN BEANS
The exclusive Haraaz coffee is a famous Yemeni coffee that is cultivated traditionally in the high altitudes of Haraaz Mountains in their isolated northwestern highlands. The temperature in the higher lands and the extremely dry weather conditions make the beans particularly hard, dense, and sweet.
This distinct coffee with an unusual taste is exported globally. A lot goes behind one cup of your warm green bean coffee. Right from the process of sowing the seed to getting the packets of Haraaz coffee on the shelves, the whole task is a daunting and time taking one.
These are some of the main steps that go behind the long journey of coffee processing from start till your cup:
- PlantingA coffee bean is a seed that can be planted in the soil. After the coffee seeds are dried and roasted, instead of processing, they can be planted in the soil, which ultimately turns into a coffee tree.Coffee seeds are usually planted in huge beds during the moist season so that the soil remains moist. But the higher regions of Haraaz experience extremely dry weather conditions and this is why they need more watering than the normal crops. The seedlings are usually kept under the shade and not exposed to the direct bright sunlight. The soil needs to remain moist to keep the roots established.
- HarvestIt takes approximately 4 years for a newly planted coffee tree to bear the berries/fruits. The duration sometimes varies according to the variety of coffee as well. The fruit that grows in the coffee plant is mostly called coffee cherries that turn into a bright and deep red color when it’s ripe. You will know it is ready to be harvested from the strong red shade.Farmer’s handpick each of these cherries one at a time only when they are at the peak of being ripeness. Each worked picks about 100 to 200 pounds of cherries every day which produces approximately 20 to 40 pounds of beans.
- ProcessingThe next step is to process the cherries and it needs to begin as soon as possible to prevent any spoilage. Coffee is mostly processed in two ways- The Wet method and the dry method.Haraaz coffee is processed using the dry method which is an age-old method used by the countries with a limited water source. In this method, the freshly picked cherries are spread out on a large surface to dry in the sun. Workers keep raking the cherries throughout the day at certain intervals to avoid them from spoiling.
The cherries are also covered at night and during the rainfall to prevent them from getting wet. The process continues for several weeks depending on the weather. Every batch of berries is dried up till their moisture content drops to 11%.
Once the beans are dried, they are now called parchment coffee and are commonly kept in sisal or jute bags until they are ready to be exported.
- MillingThe next step includes hulling, grading, and sorting the beans. Hulling removes the parchment layer from the processed beans or the dark and dried husk. The next step of grading and sorting is done according to the size and weight of each bean.The beans are also reviewed based on the colors and other imperfections. Each of the beans that do not meet up to the requirement is removed during the screening process by hand due to deficiencies like color, size, fermentation, insect-damaged, and even hulling.
- ExportAfter the beans have gone under a thorough reviewing process, the green beans are now loaded onto the ships in either sisal or large jute bags for loading in the shipping containers. They are sometimes are shipped inside the plastic-lined containers to avoid the moisture.After the green beans of Yemen are exported to different countries, the coffee beans are then individually roasted and brewed in the cafes or the restaurants serving the coffee.