Much like any other crop, there is a prime season for harvesting coffee. I will not go into all of the details of the coffee plant (that may wait for another blog post), but when the plant grows to maturity, it will yield a cluster of fruit. Also referred to as cherries, these fruit clusters are initially green and then ripen into a beautiful shade of red similar to a cherry. Within the cherries is a pulp and two oval-shaped beans that once harvested, processed, and roasted become the coffee beans we know and love.
In most countries, coffee beans are harvested once per year. There are some countries, such as Kenya and Colombia, that experience favorable climates all year long so smaller secondary crops (also known as fly crops) are harvested. It is essential that only the ripest cherries are plucked. The more mature the cherry is at harvesting, the more flavorful and less acidic the coffee bean. It can take 2-3 months for a cherry to ripen fully.
Right now I am talking to my bean importer about their current selections. This is an exciting, yet stressful time because I want to make sure I offer the best variety, both in origin and processing. This is the time I find out which coffees I need to say goodbye to (due to a bad crop season or overstocked inventory) and the new ones I get to cup and introduce to you. You can read why I lose sleep over this process, here.
Stay tuned as new coffees will be making an appearance as I sample this year's crops!