Saturday, October 31, 2009

some time last week

Here is the short version: my farm is in the Arroyon - about 35min from Los Frios on foot. I've decided to finish drying the coffee here in Los Frios on a borrowed patio for 2 reasons. 1) The tiered beds we constructed take too long to dry coffee before the next picking would demand space on the 17 raised beds we made. 2) Coffee is at a high price internally = valuable. If I leave the coffee unattended on the farm and someone comes at night to steal the coffee, "El Dominicano compra el candado despues el robo", as the saying goes -"the Dominican buys the lock only after the robbery". No one is willing to sleep down there unarmed. I'm not willing to encourage (buy a gun for the farm) people to shoot each other over my coffee.

So, on the patio of Polo, who is not a coffee farmer, he is a cock fighter, I dry my coffee.

It is technically winter so the sun only really is out with enough intensity to dry coffee from 9am to 2pm = 5hrs. So I spread my coffee thin in hope it will drop 2-3% points a day. Aiming to fully dry coffee between 12-17 days.

Things were going according to plan. All of my third picking was between 14.6 %and 13.5% which is about 1 or 2 days away from being done at 12.5% humidity. Everyday we have to spread the coffee out on the patio turn it several times then collect it. It was 2 o'clock, a few dark clouds started to blow by but they didn't seem threatening and the sun came out strong again. With the coffee so close and the weather rather predictable we took our time pushing the coffee into piles. Of the four tiny lots three were in piles.

Drop. Drop. I feel one on my back. Antonio and I lock eyes. Then we both look North East (where most of the wind comes from), it was black and we could hear a sheet of solid water running towards us. I ran to one of the ready piles and started stuffing coffee into the sack. 20 minutes later me and 10 friends were soaked to the bone. Some of the coffee damp, some of the coffee soaked. It shouldn't be too damaged if it is clear tomorrow.

I was really stuck by how many people were willing to stand out in the rain to help get the coffee out of the rain, just another sign of Dominican generosity.

-The following day the coffee that was damp wasn't too bad the coffee reaches almost 100 degrees (F) while drying on the patio and I think the heat pushed off some the water. The coffee that was wettest was actually what I'm going to sell here so I'm not too worried about its quality.

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