It all started with some seeds that Paul smuggled back to the states from Los Piños Farm in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. You might know this farm if you’ve tried these two coffees: Byron’s Natural and Byron’s Maracaturra light roasts. It may look as though it took minimal effort for this tree to thrive indoors, but it’s quite the contrary. Paul planted the seeds, taking about two months for them to sprout. It grew to about two feet when it started suffering and needed more TLC. The amount of light it was getting downstairs was not sufficient, although the temperature was sublime, but coffee trees need exactly the right balance of light, water, temperature, and soil. Using the process of elimination, Paul discovered it couldn’t be any of those, except maybe light so he brought the tree up to the office of Greg Barrett, our director of operations where it saw new light and slowly came back to life in his care.
It generally takes about 4-5 years for a coffee tree to bear fruit, which is then harvested once a year in standard conditions. This leads to a huge issue for coffee farmers when demand rises for coffee, and they want more crops, they can’t exactly grow more on the spot. An analogy Paul used to explain this is “if you’re a carrot farmer, you just plant more carrots, but if you’re a coffee farmer, you plant and you have to wait four years.”
Today, we’re harvesting a four-year-old coffee tree right here in our TCC office. We are making sure to pull the cherries but not completely pull the nodes off. The reason for this is that next year’s cherries will grow back from the same node where it was pulled before. The coffee you buy from us is picked by hand by each farmer we partner with, and de-pulping is done by machine. All of the pulp discarded from coffee cherries can be used to make flour, wine, jam, and pie and it can even be eaten raw. Once the coffee beans are de-pulped, we’re letting them dry for a couple of days before we roast them. We’re doing this all by hand in-office to show you the process and that it can be done at home!
Stay tuned to hear about the roasting process.