The first coffee is here!
|UMF employees Martir Alvarado and Charlie Heins|
work on final preparations at the beneficio
We are excited to say that Pastor Bernardo Ponce from Las Peñas brought the first coffee down from his field today, and we started processing it at the beneficio!
It was a busy day as we ran tests on the water system, mounted and calibrated the depulping machine, and made sure that everything was in tip-top shape for the first coffee to arrive; we finished the last tweaks just 30 minutes before Pastor Bernardo pulled up in a pickup truck with 2,000 lb of coffee cherries.
|Pastor Bernardo Ponce shows off the coffee he just brought|
down from his field--the first ever to be processed at the
After months and months of planning, building, and preparing, it was a truly special moment to see the joy on Pastor Bernardo’s face as he helped unload his coffee and the pride with which he showed us his coffee. And what a coffee it is! It qualified for a picking bonus, meaning it was an exceptionally well prepared coffee.
|Depulping ran late into the night, but |
the coffee looks great as it enters
the fermentation tank
We finished unloading and weighing his coffee just before nightfall, and continued depulping well into the darkness. After depulping finished, we filled the fermenting tank with water. The coffee will ferment here for the next day before moving onto the next step of processing—washing, soaking, and sorting in the recently finished correteo.
|Coffee pulp, normally a damaging waste of processing,|
is ready to be moved to the vermiculture where it will
be made into organic fertilizer
In the morning, we will load the leftover pulp (or coffee fruit) into the vermiculture where we will start the process of turning it into the first organic fertilizer produced at the beneficio.
There is plenty of work to do from here—more solar dryers to be built, adjustments to be made to the water system, and more coffees to process. After we have a few hours to recover from the day’s work, we will be back to check on the progress of Pastor Bernardo’s coffee before sunrise tomorrow. Check back soon to follow the two week progression as we continue processing this coffee and prepare for more!
Thank you to everybody that has supported us, especially the good people of Calvary CRC in Holland, MI, as we worked with the farmers of La Unión to turn the dream of a high-quality processing center into a reality.