Each origin usually has one major harvest each year, although some origins have primary and secondary crops. Generally, coffee has always been harvested in two ways – by strip picking or by selective picking.
Strip picked coffee means that all of the fruit is indiscriminately pulled off the branch at just one time. In countries like Brazil where there is a relatively flat landscape, strip collection is frequently mechanized to reduce costs and increase productivity. Of course, this makes it more difficult to sort out the over- and under-ripe fruit after gathering.
Selectively picked coffees are harvested by hand on rotation by a well-trained team every 10 or so days. This way, the pickers can select only the optimal cherries as they ripen. Manual harvesting is very labour-intensive as farms are often located on steep mountain slopes and rainforests. The increased costs from implementing this specialized control process raises the price for high grade coffees.
Emilio Lopez (La Cumbre) and Marjorie Canjura (Belco)