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The sweet soft rain fell on the last weekend of August – oh how lovely it was! It was the first real rain since June 5th – so really that was a dry winter! We here in the Northern Rivers do ‘green drought’ well – looking good and lush even though we went through the whole of winter just like everyone else in NSW – without rain. So you understand our joy that we got some! Enough for John to fire up the harvester and get going.

The harvester ready to begin

fresh ripe coffee in the field bins at Zentvelds coffee plantation

Field bins of freshly harvested coffee cherry on it’s way to be processed

The rain helps the coffee trees relax, loosening their hold on the plumped up ripe fruit, allowing the harvester to free them of their bounty.Chris did a terrific job of getting the processing plant all scrubbed up, cleaned out, washed and primed ready to take the cherry fruit.

Freshly harvested coffee cherry being loaded into the hopper for processing

The field bins of ripe cherry are tipped into the floor bin, then augured up into the washing station where it shakes and sorts out the greens from the ripe red fruit and the overripe naturals.

The naturals go straight into the dryer, allowing their raisin like, spicy fruit cake noes to enter the green bean within. Well, this is what we expect to find once we roast the beans, after 3 months more maturation time …

The ripe red cherries get pulped – freed of their fruit skins which go out of course, under the coffee trees to compost along with any unripe fruit that got inadvertently picked. The pulped, washed coffee goes straight into the dryer, slowly spinning for 36 hours or until the moisture content is 11%. Then they come out as bins of ‘parchment’ with the papery shell protecting the raw green bean within. Now they have to go and sit for months too, developing their flavours and working on body and interest … for us to discover in a few months time!

Wet parchment waiting to be loaded into the dryer

Now we hope other coffee growers out there do well with there harvest time too. We all only get one go at it in spring time – and for most growers, it can be bi-annual for mature trees – with the second year a rest year spent regrowing fresh branches after pruning. Then the fruit will set the following year, on the last seasons fresh branches.

So that is what we will be doing after the harvest. Pruning our giant trees down to a more manageable size and allowing sunshine to dapple again between the rows. Then hopefully some late spring and early summer rain will bring on flowering at least on some mature branches, allowing for a smaller 2019 crop set – so this harvest is vital!

Visit Zentveld's

  193 Broken Head Rd, Newrybar NSW 2479 

  CALL: 02 6687 2045

  PARKING: Parking available with disabled access.

  OPENMonday to Friday – 8am to 4pm

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