Coffee processing app
Coffee processing app for easy coffee grading, sorting, drying, IQF, and coffee packing.

Coffee processing app


Coffee processing app

Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing
Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing

Increase yield and quality using best practices for coffee farming

Manage the entire coffee farming process, for your own farms, and for other small farming operations that you purchase coffee beans from.  

Best practice enforcement delivers higher coffee bean yield and better quality coffee beans, and a safer product with high levels of traceability.

Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing
Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing

Less waste using precise coffee processing inventory control

Accurate coffee bean inventory management (in any state including raw, roasted, and packed) reduces waste through better FIFO, stock-takes, and inventory alerts.

Ensure coffee inventory is accountable at all times, receive an alert if there is unusual waste during coffee bean processing, and perform stock-takes from any location (includes management approval process for any waste or shrinkage).  

coffee bean quality control Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing
Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing

Consistent quality control delivers better customer satisfaction and higher quality coffee beans

Guarantee the quality of your coffee bean processing and packing with flexible quality control testing systems from any device.

Program farmsoft to perform your in-house coffee quality control tests, and even add your customers preferred coffee quality control tests (eg: Lavazza, Nestle, Kraft, Sara Lee, Starbucks, Melitta, Segafredo)

coffee bean processing software
Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing

Accurate coffee production management reduces errors

Coffee Processing Methods

Processing coffee is a big thing, and it’s extremely important in determining how the coffee comes out as a finish product. We use the word “processing” to refer to every stage of the coffee making process – from harvesting the coffee cherries by hand-picking them off the plant, to the time when the coffee beans are finished off so that they can be shipped. The coffee bean is actually a seed inside the coffee cherry, and the cherry fruit must be separated from the bean properly. For this, we can use one of three methods: neutral, semi-washed, and washed.

This is a method that brings out an extroardinarily clean cup, with delicate yet chrisp flavours and a marked acidity to it.In order to bring out the best flavours in the coffee beans being processed, coffee cherries must be separated from the beans as soon as possible after they’ve been hand-picked. Beginning this part of the processing method the day after the cherries were picked can negatively effect the bean’s flavour, so therefore it should always be done on the same day. From here the coffee cherries are washed using vast quantities of water and some very particular equipment, leading to the maximised preservation of the coffee bean’s potentia. The coffee produced by this method is strikingly similar to others of its batch, and green. Very few beans that are determined to be waste product are to be found.


  1. Picking the Ripe red coffee cherries
  2. The cherries are washed. This removes any undesirable excess material, such as dirt and stones
  3. The pulping stage extracts the two coffee beans inside a coffee cherry and removes red skin and fruit pulp. Removed pulp is placed back in the plantation as fertiliser.
  4. The coffee beans are allowed to ferment in a fermentation box, which increases their roasted flavour via a sequence of chemical reactions.The coffee is washed once again to remove any leftover excess materials from the pulping stage. This washing stage brings the coffee’s moisture level to 57%.
  5. A final drying stage is used to lower the moisture down to less than 12.5%


The coffee may be dried be mechanical means by a manmade dryer, by the sun, or by both.

When sun-drying is used, the beans are laid out on brick or concrete patios. Sometimes these aren’t available and the beans are instead laid out on netting made of fine mesh wire which is preferable . Frequent turning occurs so that the drying is even all over the bean, and takes anywhere from 8 to 10 days to complete. This is of course dependent upon humidity and temperature, both of which can help or hinder this method.

Hot-air drying machines make this process much faster, especially for large coffee farms where many coffee beans require processing at once and there may not be enough patio space to sun-dry all the beans. However, it can be easy to accidentally damage the coffee beans and ruin their cup quality, so monitoring the machines and beans inside them carefully is a necessity.


Jam-like fruit flavours accompany coffees processed using this method, with a heavy body and a strong cup. The method is also known as “neutral”, and as one of the most dated methods around, does not necessitate the use of much machinary.

In the dry method, the entire hand-picked coffee cherry is dried. This process has a number of differences depending on which group of people is carrying out the task, what facilities can be used, and the entire plantation’s size.

  1. Sorting must first take place in order to eradicate any damaged, unripe, or otherwise defective cherries. Since the cherries are not washed in the same way as they are in the wet method, excess waste like soil and twigs is usually removed by hand using a seive. If a washing channel is available, however, the cherries can be floated in it and the excess can be removed in this way.
  2. As with the wet method, he coffee is then dried – however, the fruit is still covering the beans in the dry method. Even drying may only be assured by turning the coffee regularly. Because the beans are still covered by their protective layer of cherry it can take much longer for the coffee to reach the goal of a moisture level of less than 12.5% – up to four weeks, depending on the weather. Larger farms and plantations may consider machine-drying after the coffee has rested in the sun for a few days, in order to make the process overall less time-consuming.
  3. After the cherries have properly dried, they are then held by large coffee silos and sent to a mill. The mill will hull, sort and grade the coffee, and the hulling process will remove the fruit.

“It is very important that even drying takes place. This prevents broken beans caused by over-drying (which are considered deffective and not included in a batch) and over-moistened beans, which are prone to both breaking down and harboring bacteria and fungus The dry method often isn’t feasible in places where rainfall is common during ”


This processing method produces balanced and sweet coffees, taking the best from both worlds; they are uniform and far cleaner than natural drying, but are less thin and have a lower acidity than what the wet processed provides.

After going through the pulping machinery, the coffee is dried on parchment, like with the wet method.

You can produce a particular type of coffee called Honey Coffee by washing the beans less, thus keeping the protective mucilage on the bean. For this method you also need to leave out the fermentation stage, so that silverskin is not removed. As the mucilage has a lot of sugar this produces very sweet coffee with beautiful honey qualities. The beans can literally ooze this substance during the drying process.

Brazil is particularly famous for this method, as it was one of the first countries to produce honey coffee, and is renowned the world over as having some of the best natural pulped coffees. However, this process may only be used in countries with low humidity, as the coffee must be quickly dried for optimum results.


Many prized coffees are produced through this method. It results in an earthy, rustic cup, often also coming with an aroma of sweet chocolate and a pleasant earthiness.

Rustic and earthy the semi washed/wet hulled method compliments many of the unique characteristics of the prized coffees of Asia and the Pacific.  Wet hulled coffees tend to be the single malt whiskies of the coffee world- often peaty and earthy with chocolate aromatic notes.

This processing method has two names – either “wet hulled” or “semi washed”. Drying occurs marginally in this process until the outer layer of the coffee bean has been stripped by it. A green bean is then exhibited with a marked whiteness covering its surface. More drying finally takes place on a drying patio (or dirt of a patio is not available).First the coffee is stripped of the fruit pulp until only the mucilage layer is left. The coffee is left to dry after this for only two or so hours, before it is hulled and then dried.This processing method is found almost exclusively in sumatra, where entire communities of coffee collectors, producers and farmers have formed basing their trade off this processing method.

Orders can be assigned to coffee processing batches and production lines to guarantee the correct bean grade is packed to fill every coffee order without over or under production and minimal coffee bean waste.

Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing
Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing

Every coffee order filled & dispatched on time

Shipping teams are guided through the dispatch process from picking using a phone or tablet device (optional bar-code scanning, select from touch screen list, or simply pick orders from a printed pick list) thru bill of lading, invoicing, export documentation and automatic shipping alerts.

Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing
Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing

Reduce coffee processing administration & compliance costs

Automatic generation of farm reports, coffee processing reports, coffee labels, bill of lading, invoice, picking documents and more; reduces administrative burden.

Easy coffee audit & recall systems reduces compliance costs for coffee packers and processors.

Reduce coffee waste, make farming safe, deliver 100% accurate coffee production

Strict inventory management ensures FIFO and no orphaned fresh produce inventory.  

Production management ensures every order is filled accurately, dispatch is planned in advance, and correct shipments dispatched on time, every time.

Sales dashboards help marketing and sales teams plan orders, schedule production, and identify any fresh produce that needs to be sold before it becomes waste.

A choice of interfaces to suit every environment gives your team a simple fresh produce business management tool.  

Manage the coffee farming process for common coffee varieties like Arabica and Robusta, as well as specialties like Jacu Bird, Kopi Luwak, Gesha, Kina, Blue Mountain.

  • Manage fresh produce inventory stored at an unlimited number of sites / packhouses, and unlimited warehouses
  • Manage and monitor the storage and status (ie: in processes such as sorting, grading, cooling, ripening etc) of all fresh produce inventory, regardless of its state
  • Manage fresh produce inventory in bulk storage (ie: produce that is not in bins or containers), bins & containers, pallets, palletized, and shipping containers
  • Manage the fresh produce inventory packing, grading, sorting, washing processes
  • Track the movement history of all fresh produce inventory, captured in the background, providing an audit trail of which produce was stored where at what times, and moved by whom; providing an unparalleled background traceability management for all produce in the packhouse
  • Easily move fresh produce inventory between cool rooms, ripeners, hyrdro-coolers, and warehouses
  • Manage packed (finished) fresh produce inventory that is both on and off of pallets
  • Assign non palletized fresh produce inventory to existing pallets or remove from pallets, or move between pallets , or assign directly to orders or invoices
  • Stock take fresh produce inventory based on comprehensive filters allowing rapid stock takes of very specific produce, or stock takes in specific locations, or for specific finished products
  • Set sale prices for different types of fresh produce X customer X part X variety
  • Fresh produce inventory management using unique identifiers for each inventory item, including bar code and human readable labeling
  • Manage fresh produce that is stored across many sites, including sites that may be elsewhere in the country, or even across the world
  • Manage and monitor expiring fresh produce inventory
  • Manage and monitor fresh produce that belongs to other companies, with easy reporting and stock take tools that cater for external ownership of produce
  • Fresh produce inventory barcodes for stock control (optional)
  • Optional encoded QR traceability bar-codes that can be scanned by customer or end consumer to show your selected traceability and marketing information
  • Pallet, case/carton, fruit piece, consumer unit level traceability and labeling, including Print On Demand options
  • Manage customer orders, sales, consignment and dispatch/shipping processes
  • Native app for fresh produce inventory on Android tablets & phone
  • Quality control for fresh produce  
  • Use the farmsoft API to access your data from any other software, financial package, payroll, Crystal Reports, ERP, etc.
  • Create unlimited warehouse storage areas, which can even use 3D storage to increase accuracy in large cool rooms and warehouses. Assign rows, columns, and levels to each warehouse, cool room, hydro-cooler, washing, or storage area.
  • Rapidly asses all fresh produce inventory within the business, making clear distinctions between produce from external suppliers, raw unprocessed produce, unsorted produce, ungraded produce, and fully packed produce. Increase the accuracy of fresh produce inventory using bar code traceability and advanced fruit labeling.
  • For more details of farmsoft's Fresh Produce Inventory management features, download the farmsoft Packhouse Software brochure, or try industry specific brochures for potato inventory & traceability, tomato inventory & traceability,

East-Africa: Inter-cropping and agroforestry

Bananas and coffee – a good combination

Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing
Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing

For any onlooker, the world banana and coffee markets appear very different. However, the coffee market has grown massively in recent decades, whilst the banana market has only seen very limited growth. Coffee companies have been able to create huge leaps in total value in the chain, whilst banana remains a sector struggling to create new value.

Thanks to constant innovation -like coffee pods and capsules- the world coffee market has grown to be worth around 200 billion dollars per year for 9 million tonnes traded. In the case of bananas, with nearly 20 million tonnes traded, consumer value struggles to rise much above 25 billion dollars.

A ground-breaking study by the Paris-based Bureau for Societal Analysis for Citizen Information (BASIC) -funded by the French fair trade platform, Fairtrade labeller Max Havelaar France and the Rethinking Value Chains network- has revealed the truth behind this apparent explosion in the value of coffee.

Over the last 20 years, roasters and retailers have reaped an additional 1.2 billion euros from annual coffee sales, while farmers and traders have earned just 64 million euros more. Over this period the revenue gained by the producing countries has gone down from 24% of the value in the mid-90s to 16% in 2017.

The majority of coffee farmers today are suffering a decline in their standard of living and in their working conditions. Faced with regularly falling worldwide coffee prices and increasing production costs, and dependent on their buyers, growers are also suffering from a critical lack of working capital. gives as an example how in 2017 Peruvian and Ethiopian coffee farmers had an average income that was 20% less than that of the previous 12 years, keeping them below the poverty line.

Aside from the highly unfair distribution of value in the market, the BASIC study also alerts us to the impact of climatic deregulation. The changes currently underway could lead to a 20% drop in yields by 2050.

Small farmers are already the first victims, especially where they have been encouraged by coffee companies, certifiers or government policies to plant just coffee in a monoculture system. Traditional agroforestry systems in the world’s centre of coffee diversity –Ethiopia– are under threat from the push to greater short-term productivity.

But small farmers in East Africa and elsewhere have known for centuries that inter-cropping and agroforestry systems reduce their economic vulnerability. Their contribution to climate resilience now needs to be recognised and pushed by organisations that have until now believed in intensive monoculture.

As with bananas, the future does not lie with more and more intensive monoculture with the loss of disease resilience and all the ecological and social costs associated with such systems. The study is a wake-up call to all, be they economically dependent on coffee or just consumers.

Kazakhstan: Oranges, bananas and coffee grow in underground greenhouses

Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing
Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing

Underground greenhouses give Kazakhstan a chance to grow its own oranges, bananas, coffee, pineapples, and even to export them, for example, to Bangladesh. The main secret is to build a greenhouse at a depth of 3-4 m below ground and to cover it with a glass roof.

Underground greenhouses were invented in pre-revolutionary Russia – at that time the Slavs were growing pineapples and shipping them to Europe.
Nowadays in Kazakhstan there is only one underground greenhouse (20 km from Ust-Kamenogorsk), where the Zemlyanyh’ family grow oranges, bananas and coffee, even in tough winter conditions.

No special technology is needed to equip an underground greenhouse. In order to get an exotic yield you need to dig a giant hole in the ground and set up a garden on the bottom of it. It works as a giant thermos – located below ground, it is sheltered from the wind.
‘A word combination “Banana Republic” is outdated now, - says Abish Baytenov, a gardener who plans on constructing an underground greenhouse in Akmolinsk region. Bananas yield a profit of millions of dollars’.

The Zemlyanyh’ family proved that underground gardens prevent the main heat loss – through the walls. One little furnace is enough to maintain subtropical climate in greenhouse.

The idea of underground greenhouses can and should be developed over vast territories of the country, and consequently this will solve the problem of food supply security.

Denmark: Using coffee grounds to cultivate mushrooms

Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing
Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing

A company in Copenhagen is looking for tons of coffee grounds to use for mushroom cultivation. They are doing this because there are many nutrients in the coffee residue that we so carelessly throw away. Beyond Coffee has found a way to make use of these nutrients. At three nurseries in Nørrebro, Amager and Humlebæk, Beyond Coffee uses grounds to cultivate oyster mushrooms. "We have had enough of this disposable culture. We want to reuse our waste to generate energy and heat. The biomass has far more potential than we currently use", says Mikkel Lustrup Jensen, project leader at Beyond Coffee.

10 Steps from Seed to Cup

The coffee you enjoy each day has taken a long journey to arrive in your cup.

Between the time they’re planted, picked and purchased, coffee beans go through a typical series of steps to bring out their best.

1. Planting

Young coffee plants

A coffee bean is actually a seed. When dried, roasted and ground, it’s used to brew coffee. If the seed isn’t processed, it can be planted and grow into a coffee tree.

Coffee seeds are generally planted in large beds in shaded nurseries. The seedlings will be watered frequently and shaded from bright sunlight until they are hearty enough to be permanently planted. Planting often takes place during the wet season, so that the soil remains moist while the roots become firmly established.

2. Harvesting the Cherries

Coffee cherries on the tree

Depending on the variety, it will take approximately 3 to 4 years for the newly planted coffee trees to bear fruit. The fruit, called the coffee cherry, turns a bright, deep red when it is ripe and ready to be harvested.  

There is typically one major harvest a year. In countries like Colombia, where there are two flowerings annually, there is a main and secondary crop.

In most countries, the crop is picked by hand in a labor-intensive and difficult process, though in places like  Brazil where the landscape is relatively flat and the coffee fields immense, the  process has been mechanized. Whether by hand or by machine, all coffee is harvested in one of two ways:

Strip Picked: All of the cherries are stripped off of the branch at one time, either by machine or by hand.

Selectively Picked: Only the ripe cherries are harvested, and they are picked individually by hand. Pickers rotate among the trees every eight to 10 days, choosing only the cherries which are at the peak of ripeness. Because this kind of harvest is labor intensive and more costly, it is used primarily to harvest the finer Arabica beans.

A good picker averages approximately 100 to 200 pounds of coffee cherries a day, which will produce 20 to 40 pounds of coffee beans. Each worker's daily haul is carefully weighed, and each picker is paid on the merit of his or her work. The day's harvest is then transported to the processing plant.

3. Processing the Cherries

processing cherries

Once the coffee has been picked, processing must begin as quickly as possible to prevent fruit spoilage. Depending on location and local resources, coffee is processed in one of two ways:

The Dry Method is the age-old method of processing coffee, and still used in many countries where water resources are limited. The freshly picked cherries are simply spread out on huge surfaces to dry in the sun. In order to prevent the cherries from spoiling, they are raked and turned throughout the day, then covered at night or during rain to prevent them from getting wet. Depending on the weather, this process might continue for several weeks for each batch of coffee until the moisture content of the cherries drops to 11%.

The Wet Method removes the pulp from the coffee cherry after harvesting so the bean is dried with only the parchment skin left on. First, the freshly harvested cherries are passed through a pulping machine to separate the skin and pulp from the bean.  

Then the beans are separated by weight as they pass through water channels. The lighter beans float to the top, while the heavier ripe beans sink to the bottom. They are passed through a series of rotating drums which separate them by size.

After separation, the beans are transported to large, water-filled fermentation tanks. Depending on a combination of factors -- such as the condition of the beans, the climate and the altitude -- they will remain in these tanks for anywhere from 12 to 48 hours to remove the slick layer of mucilage (called the parenchyma) that is still attached to the parchment. While resting in the tanks, naturally occurring enzymes will cause this layer to dissolve.

When fermentation is complete, the beans feel rough to the touch.  The beans are rinsed by going through additional water channels, and are ready for drying.

4. Drying the Beans

Coffee cherries on the tree

If the beans have been processed by the wet method, the pulped and fermented beans must now be dried to approximately 11% moisture to properly prepare them for storage.

These beans, still inside the parchment envelope (the endocarp), can be sun-dried by spreading them on drying tables or floors, where they are turned regularly, or they can be machine-dried in large tumblers. The dried beans are known as parchment coffee, and are warehoused in jute or sisal bags until they are readied for export.    

5. Milling the Beans

Processing coffee beans

Before being exported, parchment coffee is processed in the following manner:

Hulling machinery removes the parchment layer (endocarp) from wet processed coffee.  Hulling dry processed coffee refers to removing the entire dried husk — the exocarp, mesocarp and endocarp — of the dried cherries.

Polishing is an optional process where any silver skin that remains on the beans after hulling is removed by machine. While polished beans are considered superior to unpolished ones, in reality, there is little difference between the two.

Grading and Sorting is done by size and weight, and beans are also reviewed for color flaws or other imperfections.

Beans are sized by being passed through a series of screens. They are also sorted pneumatically by using an air jet to separate heavy from light beans.

Typically, the bean size is represented on a scale of 10 to 20. The number represents the size of a round hole's diameter in terms of 1/64's of an inch. A number 10 bean would be the approximate size of a hole in a diameter of 10/64 of an inch, and a number 15 bean, 15/64 of an inch.

Finally, defective beans are removed either by hand or by machinery. Beans that are unsatisfactory due to deficiencies (unacceptable size or color, over-fermented beans, insect-damaged, unhulled) are removed. In many countries, this process is done both by machine and by hand, ensuring that only the finest quality coffee beans are exported.

6. Exporting the Beans

exporting beans

The milled beans, now referred to as green coffee, are loaded onto ships in either jute or sisal bags loaded in shipping containers, or bulk-shipped inside plastic-lined containers.

World coffee production for 2015/16 is forecast to be 152.7 million 60-kg bags, per data from the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service.


7. Tasting the Coffee

Cupping coffee at origin

Coffee is repeatedly tested for quality and taste.  This process is referred to as cupping and usually takes place in a room specifically designed to facilitate the process.

  • First, the taster — usually called the cupper — evaluates the beans for their overall visual quality. The beans are then roasted in a small laboratory roaster, immediately ground and infused in boiling water with carefully-controlled temperature. The cupper noses the brew to experience its aroma, an essential step in judging the coffee's quality.
  • After letting the coffee rest for several minutes, the cupper breaks the crust by pushing aside the grounds at the top of the cup. Again, the coffee is nosed before the tasting begins.
  • To taste the coffee, the cupper slurps a spoonful with a quick inhalation. The objective is to spray the coffee evenly over the cupper's taste buds, and then weigh it on the tongue before spitting it out.

Samples from a variety of batches and different beans are tasted daily. Coffees are not only analyzed to determine their characteristics and flaws, but also for the purpose of blending different beans or creating the proper roast. An expert cupper can taste hundreds of samples of coffee a day and still taste the subtle differences between them.

8. Roasting the Coffee

Batch coffee roasting

Roasting transforms green coffee into the aromatic brown beans that we purchase in our favorite stores or cafés. Most roasting machines maintain a temperature of about 550 degrees Fahrenheit. The beans are kept moving throughout the entire process to keep them from burning.

When they reach an internal temperature of about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, they begin to turn brown and the caffeol, a fragrant oil locked inside the beans, begins to emerge. This process called pyrolysis is at the heart of roasting — it produces the flavor and aroma of the coffee we drink.  

After roasting, the beans are immediately cooled either by air or water. Roasting is generally performed in the importing countries because freshly roasted beans must reach the consumer as quickly as possible.

9. Grinding Coffee

coffee grounds

The objective of a proper grind is to get the most flavor in a cup of coffee. How coarse or fine the coffee is ground depends on the brewing method.

The length of time the grounds will be in contact with water determines the ideal grade of grind Generally, the finer the grind, the more quickly the coffee should be prepared. That’s why coffee ground for an espresso machine is much finer than coffee brewed in a drip system.

Espresso machines use 132 pounds per square inch of pressure to extract coffee.

We recommend taking a moment to examine the beans and smell their aroma — in fact, the scent of coffee alone has been shown to have energizing effects on the brain.

10. Brewing Coffee

brew coffee

To master how to brew coffee, use our guide for tips and methods on how to make the perfect cup for any preference. Enjoy!

Image credit: source: Giphy

They already use about 2,5 tonnes of organic coffee per month. They get this for free from other businesses. These include Coloplast, Comwell, Frederiksberg Forsyning and Fazer, a restaurant at the University of Copenhagen. "We are looking for large companies that use organic coffee and want to get rid of their coffee grounds. We do set rules regarding hygiene and the quality of the coffee. The companies must be willing to take the time to pack the coffee grounds. They must also keep the grounds in a fridge", says Mikkel Lustrup Jensen.

Local coffee, local fungi

The company has nurseries in various locations. One of the reasons for this is that they want to work as locally as possible. "We have nurseries close to the businesses from whom we receive the coffee grounds. This proximity makes the distance the grounds need to travel as short as possible. This closeness means our oyster mushrooms are available right after we harvest them. They become a whole different product when you have to transport them over a distance of a few hundred kilometres", he says. Beyond Coffee supplies oyster mushrooms to restaurants. These include places like Manfreds, Bæst, Gaarden og Gaden and Comwell in Humlebæk. In turn, these restaurants supply Beyond Coffee with coffee grounds.

50% increase in incomes

East African farmers interplant coffee and banana

East Africa is seeing an increase in farmers interplanting coffee, the country’s primary export, and banana, a staple food, as a way of coping with the effects of climate change and increasing their incomes.

In densely populated Elgon and Rwenzori Mountains, the two crops have been planted together on smallholder farms despite recommendations under the colonial agricultural extension system to separate these in Central and Western Uganda where land was believed to be plentiful. With growing population pressure and climate change, this is no longer possible. But studies by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and partner organizations show that a Ugandan farmer gets 50 per cent more income from inter cropping coffee and banana than from growing either crop alone.

Conducted in over 30 districts of Uganda, the study showed that coffee yield remained the same when intercropped with bananas and the farmers gained additional income from the banana.

Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing
Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing

According to Piet Van Asten, a Systems Agronomist with IITA in Kampala, the Arabica coffee growing region around Mt. Elgon, had annual returns per hectare averaging 4,441 dollars for coffee and banana grown together, compared to 1,728 and 2,364 dollars for mono cropped banana and coffee, respectively.

In the Robusta-growing areas in South and Southwest Uganda, annual returns per intercropped hectare averaged 1,827 dollars, compared to up to 1,286 dollars for mono cropped banana and coffee.

Van Asten and other researchers at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) suggest inter cropping coffee and banana may also help farmers cope with climate change pressures.

With average temperatures in Uganda expected to increase by 2 degrees Celsius in the coming decades, resulting in erratic rainfall, coffee – Uganda’s most important cash crop – will suffer.

Inter cropping coffee with banana provides a promising alternative. Shade from the taller banana trees can reduce temperatures for the coffee plants by 2 degrees Celsius or more. Anecdotal evidence suggests that planting coffee in the shade of banana trees may improve the quality of the beans. And coffee planted with banana has been found to have a 50 per cent lower incidence of leaf rust disease than unshaded plants, which is important as pest and disease risks are rising with increasing temperatures.

Banana is an important staple and cash crop in Uganda and it is linked to food security. The country has the highest per capita banana consumption in the world. The crop is produced year round, bringing in a more modest but continual income compared to coffee, which produces once or twice a year.

For farmers, inter cropping of banana and coffee helps to diversify income, spread risks, and improve food security.


Have a cup of broccoli coffee

The remarkable concept of broccoli coffee was developed in Australia by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and Hort Innovation. "With a rising trend in healthy eating across the board, Australian growers are always looking at ways to diversify their products and cut waste while meeting consumer demand," said Hort Innovation chief executive John Lloyd in a press release. "Research shows the average Australian is still not eating the recommended daily intake of vegetables a day, and options such as broccoli powder will help address this."

Broccoli coffee is basically just regular old coffee, with a few heaping spoonful’s of broccoli powder stirred in. This broccoli Powder is basically a dehydrated powder made from the heads of the vegetable that are considered to be too ugly to be sold in markets or grocery stores for further selling.

Basically the vegetable that would remain unused is processed and ground into powder where they find new life as a dietary supplement. Just two tablespoons of the powder contain the entire nutritive punch of a whole serving of the actual vegetable.


Mexico: Avocado displaces coffee in Hidalgo

Producers have stopped planting coffee in the high mountains of the state of Hidalgo because of its low profitability, the damages caused by the weather on the crops, and the farmers' migration.

The head of the Ministry of Agricultural Development (Sedagro), José Alberto Narvaez Gomez, recognized that the cultivation of coffee in the region was no longer profitable for producers.

The state official didn't say how much the coffee production had decreased but he did say there were plots that had once produced coffee and that were now being used for other crops.

In this regard, he said that, instead of planting coffee, producers had begun to grow avocado because it was a product with a stable price and international demand.

A cooperation agreement between the Cevacytt and Inifap Michoacan was signed in order to provide producers of the mountains of Hidalgo specialized training and technical advice on how to improve their avocado crops.

The National Institute for Animal Agriculture and Forestry Research (INIFAP) from Michoacan will train over 200 producers from the municipalities of Tepehuacán, Tlanchinol, Lolotla, Huazalingo, Molango, and Xochicoatlán. Currently, more than 500 hectares of avocado have already been cultivated.

Sustainable coffee cups grown from vegetables

When pondering the question whether the humble gourd could one day replace single-use coffee cups, Brooklyn-based architect and designer Jun Aizaki came up with his latest invention, the HyO-Cup. HyO-Cups are designed as an alternative to standard coffee cups, which are typically lined with non-recyclable plastic to make them waterproof.

The cup-shaped gourds can be reused up to six times - and because no chemicals are added, they are 100% biodegradable.

Founder of Crème/Jun Aizaki Architecture, Jun Aizaki: "The issue of waste is something that we've been, you know, very interested in and involved in. So we started looking at these, you know, the use of plastic cups in general. And this was like years and years ago, like we've been working on this project for, you know, four to five years. And we just wanted to see if there's a way to use design as, you know, a solution to try to tackle that issue."

The gourds take six months to grow into a 3D-printed mold. The team are currently working with a Pennsylvania farm and growing around 300 gourds. Around 16 billion single-use coffee cups are currently used worldwide every year.


Coffee beans make room for avocados

The Kenyan company Kakuzi is majority owned by British investor Camellia Plc. Originally, Kakuzi was a sisal plantation which then diversified into coffee production. Coffee was the main activity when Camellia invested money in the company. Over the years, the coffee plants were grubbed up, and they’ve made way for avocados and macadamia nuts. Additionally, the company grows pineapples on a small scale and has activities in forestry and livestock.

“They saw opportunities to grow other products besides coffee, and that’s why Kakuzi decided to diversify its production,” says Graham McLean, Managing Director Agriculture for Camellia. The international market for coffee became less and less profitable for large commercial growers in Kenya over the years. In general 80 percent of the global coffee production is produced by 25 million smallholder farmers, which sell at any price and thereby make it more difficult for large commercial production. “We’ve phased out coffee, in favour of avocados and macadamias.” The transition was gradual. First the avocado trees were planted, and eventually, the final coffee plants had to make room for the macadamias. “We now have multiple crops at Kakuzi.”

Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing
Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing

Hass for international market
The company harvested 7,100 tonnes of avocados on 515 hectares last year. Last year, 1,800 tonnes were packed for small growers that have joined Kakuzi. “Hass avocado is the variety most in demand on the avocado market, and demand is rising, so it was definitely a good decision to start growing avocados,” Graham continues. The Kenyan company markets Hass and Fuerte avocados. About 90 per cent of Hass export is meant for France. The remaining volume is distributed among other EU countries, UK, Switzerland and Scandinavia.

Only a small percentage that doesn’t meet export requirements is sold on the domestic market, although the Kenyan avocado market isn’t very large. It’s different for the cultivation of pineapples, a small production compared to the avocado cultivation. “For pineapple the focus is on the domestic market. Kakuzi markets all its pineapples on the Kenyan market.”

Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing
Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing

Growing market makes it interesting to invest
The fruit cultivation is an attractive market to invest in. “Demand for fruit continues to rise, due to growing demand from growing world population regardless of where the fruit is grown,” Graham explains. “There appears to be an endless market for superfoods such as avocados, berries and nuts, and with Asian markets emerging, that demand will only continue rising.” Besides horticulture being attractive from the perspective of investors, interest from consumers is also increasing. “There’s more interest in the origins of products, that’s why it’s important to have everything in order.” Graham means the necessary certificates for the cultivation and social circumstances for the cultivation companies.

Not a quick profit

An investment in agriculture, however, requires a long-term vision. “We have a long term philosophy regarding investments. We see ourselves as custodians of our assets for future generations. The goal is to continuously improve these projects for the next generation. We truly have a long-term vision.” Graham continues: “You don’t invest in agriculture with the idea of a quick profit, sharp exits don’t fit with our philosophy at all.”

The risks of investing in agriculture are mitigated as much as possible by spreading the investments. Camellia has interest in the cultivation of tea, rubber citrus and soya among other products, and also invests in winegrowing and production (Linton Park Wines). Additionally, the company invested in various engineering and food service/logistics companies. “We have a ‘global footprint,’” Graham explains, “to mitigate the consequences of climate, prices, exchange rates, political risks and other risks that are connected to investments in agriculture.”

Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing
Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing

Politics and agriculture are always connected, Graham says. Whether a grower is located in the US, Europe or Africa, political issues always play their part. “That’s part of life. It’s like the weather, there are good and bad political circumstances, and they alternate.” Camellia’s African operations can be found in Kenya, Malawi and South Africa. These are all relatively stable countries on the African continent.


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