Different Strokes

Different Strokes

. . for different coffee processors. . .

Pic is of the Santos Gaitan beneficio in El Paraiso, Honduras, one of four I visited last week.

All of the beneficios we visited (three in Nicaragua, and Gaitan in Honduras) are moving towards a more consistent processing modality. Gaitan invested in 10 of the drying towers seen in the background. About 10 meters tall, the coffee arrives at the beneficio wet from the immediate washing and is then loaded into the dryers.

The beans drop through a curtain of warm, forced air, are carefully re-lifted to the top of the tower, and the process continues for approximately 10 hours. Gaitan processes 3000 sacks a day; there is a lot of coffee around El Paraiso.

Gaitan gets their heat by burning the dried coffee parchment. This is dumped into a large hopper, then conveyed by auger into a room sized furnace (there were two furnaces for the ten towers); air is forced into the furnace by a blower to maintain the combustion. I wish I could post more pictures, but anyone who wants them can PM me with an email address. The towers were originally designed in Germany, but are now being built in Costa Rica.

This process shortens the time to market, and eliminates much of the variability associated with traditional drying. I bought a quintal of Santos' beans; they have a beautiful smell, and are very consistent in size.

The pic shows Shelley, Gustavo, and Susana, our agronomist, with the drying towers in the background. Four of the towers are dedicated to Rain Forest Certified coffee.