Hey guys! Here’s the breakdown of a typical day at the farm during the harvest season:
A very early but beautiful start! Life at the farm starts at about 5:30 am, most of the workers come from their houses to the farm passing through the beautiful landscapes and nature on the way. Once they arrive, they drink coffee to start the day or “aguapanela” (a sugarcane-based drink) and chat a bit between themselves. Some workers come with their best friends (cheerful doggies), which is the case of Arcangel and Mono.
Everyone wears their special clothing in order to protect their skin from sunburns and insect bites. It`s time to cinch up the “canasta” (a basket the wear around their waist to collect the coffee cherries).
Picking the Coffee Beans: Don Oscar “El mayordomo” (the foreman) is the one that tells each worker what needs to be done. Each worker starts the picking process on the “calles” (rows of coffee trees).
There is a strict order to pick up the coffee beans, and in our farm we pay attention to pick up the beans at the right stage. By avoiding quakers, overripe beans and other bean defects, we are able to produce better quality coffee.
The Second Breakfast: Yes, working in a coffee farm is complicated and you will need a lot of energy and food to pick up all those cherry beans. A typical farm breakfast in Antioquia, Colombia would be: arepa (something similar to corn bread), beans, rice and eggs.
The nap: After the lunch, the workers take a rest, put their blanket on the grass and then the nap time, sometimes they gather with friends or just relax from the hard work, coffee workers know each other for long time, they work in different farms of the region and their have their bond, sometimes families work together, brothers, sons, husband and wife or friends.
The coffee is picked in “Canasta” and then when the basket is full, they transfer the coffee beans to the sack, All the workers also carries a small sack for any unripe and bad quality bean in order to don’t ruin the good work that needs to be done.
And then the time goes by from coffee tree to coffee tree, some of them sing, some of them have their radio or just chit chat between their selfs during the picking process.
Weighing the coffee:The next step is to carry all the coffee sacks and take them to the wet mill. Wages are paid depending on how much the worker picked, and this varies by the level of expertise each worker has. For example, most of workers have been picking coffee from a very early age, helping their families during the harvest. There are somehow trained for this, so they can pick up a lot of coffee beans. An average quantity of coffee picked in a good harvest day can be around 80kg, but some of them like Arcangel, are able to pick 130kg or more.
Don Oscar will write down the weight each worker collected and they will get paid by the end of the week.
Processing the coffee: Now the coffee is selected for different coffee processes, our favorite coffee process is the natural one, but we also do honey and regular wash with fermentation. Each process has their specialty and trick. The natural coffee process takes from 6 to 24 hours or even days.
Picking coffee is not the only thing that needs to be done in a coffee farm, it also includes picking fruits, planting new trees, fertilizing, taking care of the animals etc.