A Day in the Life of a Colombian Coffee Farmer During Harvest Season

Updated September 12, 2023

A Day in the Life of a Colombian Coffee Farmer During Harvest Season

Reading time: 4 minutes.

Harvest season is a crucial time for Colombian coffee farmers. It’s a period filled with hard work and immense satisfaction as they hand-pick the fruits of their labor. In this article, we’ll delve into the daily routine and experiences of these dedicated individuals, shedding light on the unique rituals and traditions that shape their lives.

Section 1: Early Morning Rituals

To make the most of the day, Colombian coffee farmers rise early, usually between 4:30 – 5:30 am. Before venturing out to the coffee crops, they dress to protect themselves from the sun, donning long-sleeved clothing, hats, and sturdy plastic boots. Their morning routine starts with a cup of freshly brewed coffee, sometimes combined with the delightful sweetness of ‘aguapanela’ – a refreshing cane water concoction.

Section 2: Hand-Picking Techniques

Once assembled with their fellow coffee growers and assigned a specific section of the farm, the farmers commence the labor-intensive task of hand-picking coffee berries. This meticulous process involves not only plucking the ripe cherries but also carefully inspecting each berry to sort them into categories: ripe, unripe, and rotten. With a basket on their hip or waist, they selectively collect only the ripe cherries, ensuring the highest quality yield.

Section 3: Nourishment and Brief Respite

Around 10 am, the farmers take a well-deserved break to enjoy a substantial breakfast or brunch. The meal, which can be a communal affair or smaller groups depending on the farm’s size, replenishes their energy after nearly five hours of hard work. A typical spread may feature beans, rice, eggs, meat, and hot beverages like coffee, ‘aguapanela,’ or hot chocolate, all with or without milk.

Section 4: Continuation of Work, Lunch, and Rest

Between 11 am and 3 pm, the coffee farmers resume their tasks, taking short breaks for hydration. At 3 pm, they reconvene to weigh and record their daily progress, either receiving payment for the day’s work or keeping track for weekly compensation. Following this brief activity, a hearty lunch is served, varying across regions but often including traditional dishes like tamales, bandeja paisa or sancocho.

With the afternoon free, coffee growers take the opportunity to rest, freshen up with a shower, and retire early to bed. It’s a well-deserved respite, knowing that the next day will bring another early start and a chance to continue their vital work.


The life of a Colombian coffee farmer during the harvest season is one of dedication, precision, and deep-rooted traditions. From the early morning rituals to the meticulous hand-picking techniques and the hearty meals shared with fellow farmers, every aspect of their day reflects the commitment and passion they have for their craft. By gaining insight into their daily routines, we can appreciate the hard work behind every cup of exquisite Colombian coffee and the remarkable individuals who bring it to our tables.

Editor’s note: This post was originally posted on November 2020 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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