A Day in the Life of a Coffee Grower During The Harvest Season
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Coffee Grower Daily Routine
Coffee growers have many responsibilities in a coffee farm but they vary a little bit according to the season. Harvest season, as it is the one where coffee is ready to be picked, it’s one of the hardest but most meaningful because it’s the moment where they literally picked what they have been working on for months.
Harvest season happens twice a year in Colombia. We asked our partners how’s their day during this season, and while each farm has its own traditions and routines, here is a compiled of their answers:
1. Wake up early, cover from the sun and start with ‘aguapanela’ and/or coffee.
The day starts really early, as soon as the sun comes up – between 4:30 – 5:30 am – coffee growers wake up, put on some clothes that cover their skin from the sun and a hat and plastic boots to walk around the crops. Before they go out, they drink some coffee that depending on the taste can be combined with ‘aguapanela’ that is sweet cane water.
2. Get assigned a section and start hand picking.
Following that, they will meet up with all the coffee growers and the person in charge to get assigned the section they’ll be picking berries from. Picking coffee berries by hand is a very long task because while they pick them, most of the time they are also checking them one by one to divide them between ripe, not ripe and rotten, only taking the ripe cherries in the basket they carry on their hip or waist.
3. Have breakfast around 10am.
Around 10am breakfast (big brunch) is ready. Depending on the farm size they can eat all together or by groups. Breakfast is a feast and everyone’s super hungry since they have been working for almost 5 hours. A normal meal can be expected to consist of beans, rice, eggs, meat and hot chocolate, coffee or ‘aguapanela’ (the three options can be drunk with or without milk).
4. Continue working, have lunch and rest.
From 11 to 3pm work continues with small hydration breaks. At 3pm they meet again to weigh the work of the day and depending on the farm get paid per day or just keep track of their numbers so at the end of the week they receive the full payment. After this short activity lunch is ready and depending on the region it can be tamales, bandeja paisa or sancocho.
After this, coffee growers have the afternoon free to rest, take a shower and then go to bed early since next day they’ll wake up super early again.
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Editor’s note: This post was originally posted on November 2020 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.