By the end of January, middle of February, the last of the coffee is in. It is processed and stored in parchment form in large bags in the wood-lined warehouse. The coffee trees recover slowly from the harvest. It is the end of the dry season and the farm is still and dry. Then the crickets get louder every day, shrilling at a deafening pitch. It gets dryer.

The first slim flower buds appear on all the branches waiting for the first rains. A heavy single rain falls and the flowers burst out in a day. In February, March and April there are several flowerings and you are enveloped in the heady, glorious smell of jasmin. Each blooming is at its height for only a day.

The farm looks as though a white mist has settled over the coffee trees and it smells deeply of jasmin. You can not get enough of the lovely smell. It is the most beautiful time of year. Delicate, waxy white flowers surround the branches like bracelets and the scent of jasmin fades.

As the white flowers dry and tip over and begin to fall off, their stems fatten into a bud that will slowly swell and grow into a green coffee bean......And then it flowers again. This year we had four flowerings, two fuller and more beautiful than the others.



We have many bees helping us. These photos above were taken by don Gustavo

As some of the white flowers dry and tip over and begin to fall off, their stems begin to  fatten and swell into a green coffee bean.   And then there is another flowering. 

As the blossomings ripple through the farm the green beans are different sizes and get fatter at their own pace. The beans ripen slowly at their own pace--the crop will begin 8 months after the first flowering and continue ripening until 8 months after the last flowering.

It is quiet and very dry on the farm.


 

At Nueva Granada, when the rains begin in May and become steady, we put from 50 to 100,000 new coffee plants out into the field to renew the farm.
These deep green, knee-high young coffee trees have been in the nursery for about a year and are ready to go out into the field.  In the photograph, the light shade trees in the nursery are blooming yellow.


A year earlier we put selected coffee seeds into a raised, rectangular seed bed that is composed of rich earth mixed with sand. The sand makes the soil lighter and makes it easier for the root system to spread and develop. After about 45 days the beans pop up on slender stems. They are called "soldaditos" or "little soldiers" because they are so straight.

From the bean, two brilliant round green leaves appear, much as a butterfly comes out of its cocoon. This stage is called the "mariposa" or "butterfly." This is when the plants are grafted to a strong root system.

After another 45 days or so, the butterfly stage is planted into a bag which will keep the roots straight and make planting out easier.  Nueva Granada has begun to use the black bag upside down with the plant coming out of the hole usually at the bottom to avoid erosion from the rains and the growth of weeds.  It seems to work!

Then the small plants grow for another six to eight months until the rains are steady and they are ready to go out into the field and it is late May.

 

 

July, August and even September are quiet on the farm....The coffee is ripening and turning red, bean by bean.  The rains are heavy every day.  The warehouse is empty...
The volcanos Tacana, on the left, and Tajumulco, on the right, seeing from Nueva Granada on a clear September morning in a very wet and green rainy season!
The rainy season is ending slowly now but clouds still hug the volcanos.



tajumulco
CROP TIME

The Coffee Cherries are turning red and picking has begun. The crop will continue to come in until the end of the year and into a new year

cafe

When the beans are picked they are washed and the red outer skin is removed. The two parchment covered beans that were in each cherry are soaked and washed. The parchment coffee is dried and bagged and stored until the coffee is ordered from across the world.

 

The deep red cherries are everywhere and the bags of dry, parchment coffee are being stacked in the warehouse...




Burlap bags, with the farm’s logo and the Rainforest Alliance frog, each 150 pounds of green coffee, are stacked on the patios ready to be trucked to the port and sent off in containers.

 
 
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