Sometimes life presents you with opportunities that you can't pass up.
After proudly moving our coffee over to Five Senses, a yoga trip to Bali planned for June quickly turned into (a little bit!) of work. A discussion with our amazing rep resulted in an opportunity for me to go visit a coffee farm.
Having worked with coffee from the age of 16 (over a decade) and having read the agricultural processes of coffee, an overwhelming sense of excitement come over me with the prospect of seeing the 'origins' of this glorious seed.
Coffee plant, Coffea.
Much like cacao, coffee is grown in equatorial regions around the world, high altitudes, and under the protection of tree canopies.
The Ulian urmi community, 1000m above sea level, was a community with which the company has worked with closely over the years. As we drove through the small village, it become apparent how much coffee meant to the community, with beans laid out to dry throughout the humbling town.
Ute passes ute. Locals on their way back to community.
Fellow baristi and coffee enthusiasts.
Not knowing exactly what I was in for, I missed a day of yoga to travel an hour up into Kintamani from Ubud. Talk about being in my element!
Loaded into a 4WD were members of 5 Senses Coffee, fellow cafe owners and baristas alike, just talking coffee, to then be told I would be picking cherries!
Out of the 4WD, we pilled into the back of a ute to make our way to the crops. We were given a basket that tied around our waist, and instructed to pick the red, ripe cherries.
With a huge grin on my face we picked and discussed numbers - 5kg of cherries results in 1kg of dry parchment (read Shaughan's Blog post Loaded with Cherries for the rest of the stats). After 2 hours of picking we jumped back into the ute to continue with the process.
Cherries... get in my basket!
10 people, 2 hours of picking. 5 baskets is all we managed to collect.
Shaughan sorting through the beans. Those that float to the surface are defects
Hulling. The cherries are placed through this piece of machinery. The seeds are collected in the hessian bag. The pulp is often is used as compost or used make tea, also known is cascara
After the seeds have been hulled, they are once again put in water. Round two, all floaties are out!
Seeds drying out on the Para Para. These beds are sitting 30cm off the ground so there is ventilation. This stops moulding. As you can see the whole community gets involved in sorting through the beans once again, looking for defects so only the very best is chosen.
The seeds are put out once again to dry on tarponlines. Sun dried means that the farmers constantly have their eyes on the clouds
It was eye opening to be on the other side of the process; to swap my dirty grindy hands and coffee scented clothes with the earth, stickiness of the berries and the clean air of Bali. And the labour involved in this process... in respect of the seeds, and of the community, I will never drop another bean!