Coffee-Harvest and storage
A coffee plant usually starts to produce flowers 3–4 years after it is planted. Coffee fruits should be picked as and when they become ripe.
Arabica takes 8-9 months for fruit development from flowering while robusta takes 10-11 months. The color of fruit changes from green to red. Further, when gently squeezing the fruit, the beans inside pop out.
Under-ripe and over-ripe fruits cause deterioration in quality. The former tending to produce “immature beans”, and the latter, `foxy’ coffee. They must be used separately for making cherry coffee.
It is advisable to wash and dry frequently the bags used for collecting the harvested fruits. Bags in which fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides are stored should never be used for this purpose.
Picking is done by hand. The first picking consists of selective picking of ripe berries often seen in the outer portion of the node and is called fly picking.
Thereafter, there will be 4-6 main pickings at 10-15 days intervals and then final harvest. Stripping consists of picking of still remaining green berries on the plant.