Harvesting is done both by hand and machine. Machines are used on large plantations, on flat land – mostly in Brazil. Hand picking is more common on smaller farms with low cost labour. Hand picking can be done by selecting only the ripe red cherries. Hand stripping takes both red and green cherries off the branch, along with twigs and leaves.
Processing can be done two ways. The Dry Method is found in Asia, Brazil and Africa. The Wet Method is practiced in Central and South America.
- Dry Method: Coffee cherries are sun dried on concrete or bricks, often in the farmers front yard. Over four weeks the beans are regularly turned. Once dry they are placed into a hulling machine that removes the outer casing of the bean.
- Wet Method: Where the Dry Method removes the pulpy cherry flesh after drying, the Wet Method removes it prior by spraying water over the cherries to remove dirt and soften this layer so the pulper can remove it. Afterwards the beans are fermented for 24 - 36 hours, which removes the mucilage layer. Beans are then sun dried on concrete, or machine tumble dried. Once dry, the parchment layer is removed via a hulling machine.