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The fruity smell of ripe coffee cherries means that our favorite time is coming soon: coffee harvest season. In Costa Rica, the harvest comes once a year, and it's full of tradition. We’re dedicating this article to the pickers and the process that make Café Britt’s coffee the country's finest.
Costa Rica has one harvest season a year.
Season: October - March.
It's the season when mature coffee (red cherries) is hand-picked.
The busiest time of the year for coffee farmers and pickers.
Coffee picking in Costa Rica is an honored and cherished tradition that thousands take part in every year. Locals are joined in the tradition by traveling families from Nicaragua and Panama to harvest the country’s most famous export.
One of the reasons Costa Rican coffee has earned its reputation is through the expertise of these pickers. During the harvest season, they wake up very early in the morning and head to the farms, arriving before the sun rises to ensure they can pick as many beans as possible. At the end of the day, they are paid according to the amount of cherries they have picked. Costa Rica’s Fair Trade laws ensure that the pickers are paid at or above the going market rate.
Coffee picking is physically challenging work that requires specialized knowledge and skill. Because coffee cherries ripen at different times, pickers must be able to identify the stages of the fruit and only pick the ripest ones.
In Costa Rica, the best way to distinguish a cherry that is ready for picking is by its brightness, and pickers search for the brightest red cherries. There are two commonly used harvest methods:
A coffee picker’s day starts with an early-morning arrival to the coffee plantation. When they arrive, the foreman,gives them their assignment for the day. The pickers then attach a basket to their waists. When it is full, they empty it into a larger bag and fill it again.
A very good coffee picker fills 20 cajuelas a day. A cajuela is an official unit of measurement established by the Costa Rican government, and it’s used only for coffee.
At the end of the day, the foreman measures the number of cajuelas picked by each worker and pays them. Strict regulations ensure that the pickers receive a fair wage for the day’s work.
After they have received their payment for the day, the pickers return home to rest and relax before doing it all over again the next day!
We hope that knowing the hard work and dedication that goes into picking coffee beans that get you going in the morning brings you more joy and appreciation for your favorite beverage!
Have any questions? Our Coffee Experts will be more than happy to help
Coffee, a National Symbol of Costa Rica
Stay at Home Coffee Guide
Decaf Coffee Myths