Central Processing Or Direct On-Farm Coffee Beans?

Central Processing Or Direct On-Farm Coffee Beans?

For coffee producers, choosing to concentrate on raw beans or handle them directly on the farm is a major choice, affecting producer income, coffee production, quality, the workload of workers, etc., but what is the difference between these two approaches?

In Colombia, where most of the coffee farmland is smaller than the South American standard, where only 5 per cent of the farmland is greater than 5 hectares, conditions that affect the producers' decision to concentrate on raw beans or treat them directly on the farm, Melissa explains the same point of view as coffee plants and producers, which are common throughout the world.

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What Is A Coffee Factory?

Coffee plants are places where coffee fruits are converted into raw beans, first by removing the coffee pulp and then by drying the coffee seeds to a water content of 10-12%. These procedures give coffee plants an important place in coffee production and have a huge impact on the flavor and quality of the final coffee.

There are many different methods for processing coffee, ranging from natural treatment, washing (wet), various honey treatments, and emerging treatments in many experiments, which make the treatment more complex and multitasking.

Centralized coffee plants are separate from producers, who transport coffee fruits to coffee plants and receive immediate remuneration, and this type of coffee factory may or may not be in the form of cooperatives, which operate in the most efficient and industry-standard manner.

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In addition, you will find that some farms have small coffee factories where a family is usually responsible for all procedures, from pulp removal to dryness, which operate in a more traditional way.

But How Does The Choice Of The Coffee Plant Affect Producers?

Why are there two types of coffee factories?

Traditional coffee plants often give producers greater control over the fruit, which allows some producers to set targets. For example, in 2014, the National Federation of Producers of Colombia, FNC, gave 491 coffee farmers advice on the provision of organic planting and treatment.

Getting producers to wet directly on the farm is good for quality control and defining their own treatment of coffee, while experimenting with how to improve the quality of coffee, with more complete recourse for end buyers.

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Many boutique coffee buyers are interested in continuity and transparency of information, so they are interested in programs such as cultivation, harvesting, and processing.

However, the concentration of coffee plants can mitigate the impact of labour shortages and environmental pollution, a way that gives producers more benefits.

Let's look at the advantages of these two approaches.

1. Production

The Farallones coffee plant in Colombia is a modern and industrialized example of 3.75 million kilograms of coffee per year, producing a total of 62,500 bags of raw beans if calculated at 60 kilograms per bag of raw beans.

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A drip-free process is required under such large yields, and quality control procedures are initiated at the coffee plant when the fruit is delivered, the fruit is immediately sampled for analysis, and the results of the analysis are confirmed and the corresponding compensation per kilogram is paid to the producer. Coffee is then graded according to density and quality, which will help standardize the final product.

These steps are followed by a process of removing the outer flesh through fermentation and washing, followed by drying the raw beans for 30 hours using machine drying, at which stage the raw beans still have a sheepskin layer (Shell status), which is followed by the removal of the shell to obtain the sacheable raw beans, transport them, and then bake them.

On the other hand, much smaller quantities are handled in farm-affiliated coffee plants, which, according to Cenicafe Colombia, process an average of only about 3,750 kilograms of shelled raw beans per year.

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The benefit of such a small-scale coffee plant is that raw beans are well traceable, and centrally processed plants can be well traceable if they have a sound record system.

2. Impact On The Environment

Industrialized treatment plants can use water resources more efficiently, saving on average 3 ~ 30 litres of water per kilogram of shelled raw beans in their coffee plants, and a significant amount of water when so much coffee is processed each year. Coffee plants will also responsibly dispose of used water to avoid contamination of local water sources.

Small-scale coffee plants can, of course, save water, but each action can increase the cost of processing. For example, Cenicafe developed a processing system called Becolsub, which it claims saves 95% of its water consumption.

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3. Producer's Income

What is more helpful to the producer's income, either centrally or on a small scale on a farm? It actually depends on the situation.

Farallones work with 650 coffee farms, and when these producers transport the fruit to the coffee plant and settle the money immediately, they have faster cash flows and are more convenient for producers. In addition to increasing processing efficiency, industrialized coffee plants also provide producers with more income, and producers can reduce the risk of investing in hardware equipment.

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On the other hand, farm-attached coffee plants allow producers to boost the value of coffee, By improving quality, producers can attract buyers to trade directly with them. But it takes time, labor, and money to invest, Producers also need to find ways to attract buyers, which may also delay the cycle in which producers receive payments. It may cause producers to switch to other crops in exchange for a more stable cash flow.

4. Impact On Producer Communities

Melissa said the time-saving benefits of concentrating on factories are actually greater than the economic benefits, giving producers a better quality of life and producers more time to spend with their families and lives. "Many producers are fond of the system and require more coffee plants to be built while indicating a significant improvement in their quality of life."

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He also believes that this provides producers with a social experience that brings them together. When they bring the fruit to a coffee factory, they encounter other producers in the area and can talk to each other while waiting for payment. "In a small place, they can eat and drink coffee... it's a great opportunity to get together with everyone," she told the author at the Farallones coffee factory.

What if the producers owned the coffee factory themselves? In addition to investing time and money in hardware equipment, additional labour is required if producers do not want to overburden their work.

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Each time a producer is interviewed, the producer usually takes his family with him or even the entire family and neighbour, and many of these audiences are also producers, and the community media is a good way for neighboring producers to gather.

That summary centralized coffee factory and farm affiliated coffee factory which is better? Both forms actually have the potential to produce quality coffee, as well as the opportunity to form large-scale factories and provide better job opportunities and income for producers. When a producer chooses both systems, it depends on the needs of the producer, the producer's farm, and the producer.

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