Coffee manufacture is a very labour-intensive process. Cultivation of qualitative coffee in many respects reminds the process of good grapes cultivation for wine manufacturing. Coffee is grown up on small and large plantations. Suitable environmental conditions, certain height above the sea level, a fertile soil and good leaving are necessary for this purpose. The place with volcanic soil, moderate amount of precipitation and sun is ideal for coffee growth.
The beans are mainly gathered manually, as they grow ripe in different periods though in some large-scale enterprises harvesters are used. Gathering demands carefulness: if immature beans are picked, the prepared drink will not have the characteristic taste and aroma, and coffee made of the overripe beans will have a strong bitter taste.
The coffee tree reaches from 6 to 15 metres in height depending on a grade. On coffee plantations bushes are regularly cut off up to 2-3 metres in height for simplification of gathering process.
Most successfully coffee is grown up on fertile soils where higher trees create a shade preventing plants’ overheat. The coffee tree yields a harvest only in 6 years after landing. Though sometimes maturing occurs year on two earlier. The important role in this process is played by the environmental conditions inherent in this region.
Coffee fruits are berries with sweet pulp and beans inside. Each berry, as a rule, has two beans. These are the beans that become coffee.
Berries have bright colouring: green - unripe berries, yellow - at maturing and bright red are fruits already ready to harvesting. Mature red berries of coffee still name "cherries".
Harvesting is carried out either once - for low-grade coffee or repeatedly within 8-10 months - for high-grade Arabica.
For a good harvest of coffee it is necessary to put a maximum of work and much time. Process of cultivation of coffee is very long; it stretches for many years.Life of the future coffee tree begins with sprouted bean. Beans are landed, while they are still in their parchment-like covers. Seeds of a coffee tree are transplanted in the special nursery, with a necessary quantity of light and moisture. Approximately in ten weeks there appear young sprouts. It is still possible to see a cover on them. After saplings’ achievement in 5-10 cm in height they are replaced separately in high pots or plastic packages and then they are continue to look after under glass. When the height of 4-5-months saplings’ reaches 30-40 cm, they are transplanted on plantations in specially prepared soil. Seedlings are landed in rows to leave enough places for caring and harvesting. The coffee tree starts to blossom for the first time in three years.
The first still frugal crop appears on the fourth year, and only provided that a tree was con-stantly carefully looked after. And only from the sixth year the coffee tree starts to bring a high-grade crop. The coffee tree is very whimsical, its care presupposes constant weeding, processing of trees by chemicals for protection against illnesses and wreckers, such as bean borer and coffee rust. Favourable conditions for a rich crop of coffee are warm climate, enough of sun rays, plentiful rains and stable temperature (namely 17-23º). The best coffee is grown up on soils of a volcanic origin. The highest trees protecting coffee from the scorching sun grow exactly there. The coffee tree is one of those plants that are subjected to the negative impact of the sun. Coffee is better to gather manually, taking off only ripe berries. This method is realized on plantations of Colombia, Costa Rica and other countries where companies specially employ seasonal workers.
For today there exists more than 80 kinds of coffee trees but only 2 kinds are suitable for coffee preparation. This Arabian tree (Coffea Arabica), and Congolese a tree (Coffea Canephora), other name is Robusta coffee. On appearance, Arabica trees are higher and beans are more than those of Robusta. Fruits of Arabica ripen during eight-nine months. The period of maturing of Robusta coffee is a little longer - from ten to eleven months. Harvesting time differs depending on the geographical position, climate, height above sea level and season in the region of growth. In Brazil the crop is gathered from May till September, in Central America - from October till March, and in Africa - from the end of October till the beginning of April. From one Arabica tree it is possible to reap a crop from 500 to 1500 g; from Robusta tree - from 500 to 2000 g of coffee grains. Coffee gathering is a very labour-consuming operation. By the way, it is necessary to notice that for getting of 500 g ocoffee grains it is necessary to geather about 2, 5 kg of fruits.
Coffee as the article of trade
The activity of more than 20 million people is devoted to cultivation, trade and coffee manufacture. The money turnover takes in world trade the second place after oil that testifies the important role of coffee in the world economy. All over the world on the average the reaped crop makes about 100 million bags/60 kg a year. Out of this number only the South America delivers to the world market almost a half:
From the whole volume of world production, as a rule, about 63 million bags are intended for export. All the rest remains for internal consumption inside the countries-manufacturers or is stored for overproduction in special storehouses.
Coffee export for numerous Third World countries is one of the basic sources of the income.
APPROXIMATE QUANTITY OF COFFEE TREES
|The country-manufacturer||Quantity of coffee trees (million pieces)||Average manufacture of green coffee (thousand bags/ 60kg)||The share of the population occupied in cultivation of coffee (%)||Share of coffee export from all export of the country (%)|