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Coffee – from beans to the cup

When the berries are picked, they must be shelled, fermented, washed and dried. The shelling is done by means of a hand-driven mill at the site of the coffee trees, so that the shells can serve as organic fertilizer for the coffee trees. After the shelling, the coffee beans must ferment in order to give the coffee its acidic taste.

They are then washed, thus stopping the fermentation. This is done in the local village cooperative processing plant, where each coffee farmer is responsible for processing his or her own coffee. In Sontule, the coffee processing plant was certified as organic in 2007. After the coffee beans are washed, they are dried and carefully sorted by hand, and then put in sacks. They now have only a thin parchment-like skin and are thus called café pergamino.

The sacks of coffee are transported on the roofs of buses and on horseback to be further dried and thrashed at Prodecoop in Palacaguina, which lies about 500 metres further down the mountain. Prodecoop also arranges for transportation of the coffee to Nicaragua’s shipping harbour.

The coffee is washed. The length of time depends on the amount of coffee – 40 ‘cans’ (latas) must be washed for about two hours.

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