Harvesting & Processing
Harvesting is a laborious process, usually done by hand because of the nature of the plant. Coffee cherries do not mature at the same time and should be picked when they are red and mature. Immature beans will not ripen after they are picked. However, an over mature cherry is called a natural or raisin. While at Kona the cherries are usually picked by hand, at Ka‘anapali conditions make it more cost effective to use mechanized equipment for harvesting the cherries. The harvesters use dangling grabbers to shake the trees at the perfect tension, aiming to release only the mature berries.
After the cherries have been picked they must be processed in order to remove the seeds (the coffee beans). This involves removing multiple layers covering the beans.
MauiGrown Coffee uses two kinds of processes to remove the beans: A Natural and Wet Process.
All coffees are processed through the wet mill to rinse and sort. Ripe, overripe and under-ripe cherries are sorted by flotation. The ripe coffee cherries will sink and the over ripe coffee cherries will float. The ripe cherries will go through what is called the “Wet” process where the cherry fruit is removed by pulping machines and then soaked in fermentation tanks before being mechanically dried to the appropriate moisture content between 10-12 percent. The Wet process leaves a fine parchment layer on the coffee bean which is then removed in the dry mill. These coffees tend to offer a clean, bright cup with higher acidity levels. The Natural process uses the over ripe cherries which are washed and then sent directly to the mechanical dryers leaving the dried cherry fruit/raisin on the bean to impart a sweeter, fuller bodied cup. Natural process coffees have several layers to be removed in the dry milling process.
After drying, coffees are sent to the dry mill for further processing in order to remove the parchment and/or fruit skins, and then polished, and sorted by density and size. The end result are the beautiful emerald green coffee beans ready to be roasted by coffee roasters worldwide. MauiGrown coffees are stored in 100 lb. burlap and/or grain pro bags.