The methods of harvesting ripe coffee are selective picking (hand picking), strip picking or machine harvesting.
Hand picking and its effects
The workers manually pick ripe coffee cherries one by one. This method does not harm the tree.
Selective picking is the most effective method for high quality coffee. Pickers only pick the ripe coffee cherries and leave the unripe on the tree for further harvesting, so the coffee quality is high.
However, coffee producers may sometimes have difficulty in promoting pickers to pick only the ripe cherries since the pickers are paid by the weight of harvested cherries.
Strip picking involves taking hold of a branch of the coffee tree and using a single motion to pull off all of the coffee cherries on the branch at once. This method may partly harm the tree.
Ripe cherries may be squeezed during stripping. Since ripe and unripe cherries are picked together, the coffee quality is lower.
Machine harvesting and its effects
Ripe cherries are harvested from the tree by machines. This method does harm the tree.
Harvesting ripe cherries together with the unripe causes yield to be mixed, and results in low quality coffee.
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