SPRING HARVEST 2020
SPRING IS HERE AND IT’S HARVEST TIME!
The trees are loaded with red fruit, all ripened up pretty evenly, which makes for a good even harvest. One pass should do it. The flower set last year was just tremendous, in early December 2019. With the ghastly long drought not breaking with good rain till the last weekend of November, the flowering was late but truly wonderful! The trees really responded to the goodness of rain, as we all did.
We had trimmed the trees – all 40,000 of them after the Spring Harvest 2018, so most had time to develop lovely young branches (laterals) and were all fluffed up with greenery ready to set flowers as soon as the rains came.
The big flower set grew into fruit over the last 10 months – slowly ripening in our cooler sub-tropical climate… developing their sweet deliciousness and complexity inside.
After a decent year’s growth and milder weather (something to be grateful for, this year) we now have a lot of juicy fruit on our trees! One of our best crop ever. Fingers crossed we can get most of it off now before the predicted El Nina summer storms arrive. Hail and big winds NOT welcome!
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.
The ripe red cherries get pulped – freed of their fruit skins which get composted 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.
The ‘parchment coffee’ (dried green bean in its papery shell) is let out of the dryer, into the low wooden bins, ready to load into bags for storage for 3 months – developing their flavours and working on complexity and interest … for us to discover in a few months time!
Finally the parchment coffee will go through the dry mill for hulling, grading and sorting to give us our precious green bean raw coffee.
The hulled papery shell goes out to be composted or mulch under the trees creating worm delight and building organic soil matter. (Happy soil microbes, happy farm health).
Then finally we are ready to roast our coffee and ready to taste!
So stay tuned till January or February before we offer you the chance to taste our super harvest, single estate 2020!
Now as I have said before, we hope other coffee growers out there do well with their harvest time too. There aren’t many of us!
We all only get one go at it in Springtime – and for most growers, it can be bi-annual for mature trees. After our serious tree pruning we didn’t get a harvest in 2019, (apart from 3 young Catuai rows – which hardly counts) so this 2020 Harvest is seriously welcome!
The beans we love the most and wish to roast and send to you – our fine Australian coffee seekers!
Chris with the pruning blades on the go at Zentvelds coffee plantation.
So that is what we will be doing after the harvest. As our K7 variety is so vigorous with its growth habit, Chris will be pruning just the top of the trees, throwing the bushy growth into the rows, to be mulched and closing the loop – returning the nutrients back into the soil. We won’t trim the sides this year – leaving plenty of lateral branches ready to take their flower set over summer. May nature provide us with the cycle of life once again developing the next year’s coffee crop.