• How to improve or maintain colour


    When drying mechanically, experiment with the temperature. Some older types of dryers expose coffee to very high temperatures. Be careful coffee is not dried too rapidly or over-dried. Some modern (and quite simple) dryers use ambient air circulation, which minimizes such problems. Their suitability also depends on the prevailing climatic conditions.

    For arabica coffee, try combining mechanical and sun drying, with the initial drying done mechanically followed by a finishing-off period of exposure to sunlight. This improves the colour generally and appears to reduce the effect on colour of the mechanical drying. Some flat bed dryers incorporate a sliding roof which permits managed exposure to sunlight.

    When sun drying, do not spread drying coffee, cherry and parchment, thicker than one hand's width. Use an even drying surface and spread the coffee evenly, with no hills and valleys. Stir or turn the coffee regularly to ensure even drying. Cover parchment coffee during the hottest time of the day to avoid it cracking open and creating mottled beans. Cover all coffee during rain and of course at night. For smallholders, drying trays are an excellent drying method: easily taken out and returned to store. If they are combined with plastic covers, then one simultaneously achieves good air circulation, heat retention and cover against rain.

    Solar Dryer 



     Solar dryer Colombia 2 

    Good housekeeping helps. To avoid brownish greens and foxy beans in washed coffee, observe proper harvesting practices: where possible pick ripe cherry only, and avoid overripes (like green unripe cherry, overripes should also be put separately for sun drying). Do not allow cherry to be collected in plastic bags as they allow no air circulation. Do not allow full bags to be exposed to direct sunlight, as this causes heating, sweating and possibly over-fermentation. Remember, coffee starts to ferment immediately after picking so always pulp within the same day as harvesting. Ensure proper separation of skins from parchment (if necessary float excess skins off the top of the fermentation tank or basin); do not use contaminated water; ensure fermentation is complete before washing; and make sure coffee is washed properly to remove all vestiges of mucilage. Skin dry immediately after final washing - spread parchment very thinly to ensure rapid loss of water.

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