Coffee growing regions lie along the equator between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. This area is commonly referred to as the 'Coffee Belt' or the 'Bean Belt'.
For Arabica plants to grow they need certain cultivation requirements. An excellent example of this is Finca Hacienda Sonora in Costa Rica. We source many coffees from this farm including our popular Villalobos which we roast for espresso.
These plants first start to grow in what is referred to as a coffee nursery. After approximately 8 months, when the plants have reached a certain level of maturity, they are transported to the coffee plantations and planted roughly 1 to 2 meters apart under the protection of the trees and shrubs, surrounded by the natural vegetation and fauna of the cultivation area. As a source of energy for the entire finca, they use a Pelton turbine, driven by the hydroelectric power of a stream. This stream supplies the entire finca with '100% Green Energy'. It takes approximately 4 to 5 years for an Arabica plant to grow enough cherries to be harvested. First the coffee plants must produce small white buds that flower for between 6 to 7 months. After this time the flowers fall away leaving behind their seeds or coffee cherries.
Once the coffee plants have reached maturity they are ready for harvest. For specialty coffee, this means that the coffee cherries are picked by hand for a period of up to one month. This is to ensure that only the cherries that have reached full maturity are picked, allowing the green cherries or under ripe cherries enough time to ripen and become red in colour. Different coffee growing areas harvest at different times of the year depending on their proximity to the coffee belt or the bean belt.
Our specialty coffees come exclusively from the Arabica coffee cultivation, where the coffee plants grow between trees and bushes and fertilisers and pesticides are either used minimally or not at all. How a coffee plant is grown (farming practices used) has a considerable influence on the later taste and characteristics of the coffee. For example, coffee plants that undergo intensive cultivation on large plantations and mono cultures have a negative effect on the taste as well as the environment.
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