Climate: hot, wet, tropical equatorial regions
resembles a cherry, both in color and size; the coffee “beans” are the seeds found within the fruit.
There’s nothing stronger than the green coffee tree when you’re in the fields; it gives off a heady scent that stimulates your senses. Some shrubs have knotty flexible branches like the varieties originally from Arabia, with dark green shiny oblong leaves, producing clumps of snow white flowers at their axils.
Western Cameroon has built its wealth on agricultural production, particularly Arabica coffee which is especially suited to the province’s high valleys, and which includes Bandjoun, Bafoussam, Mamendjou, Bamougoum, Bayangam, Bangou and Baham.
Arabica is a luxury product that is tricky to grow. Small planters produce 200-300 kg each. Every evening they bring back 50 kg of coffee fruit to be processed by their family.
In cooperatives, coffee shrubs are the object of constant attention. An unceasing irrigation brigade is organized to water the plants.
The coffee plant follows a course from nursery to replanting. The planter, for his part, has numerous tasks to carry out in order to transform the fruit into coffee beans:
until the day when the planter delivers his production to the cooperative for weighing: a crucial day.
From nursery to coffee bean
Coffee still has a long way to travel before it reaches the consumer:
• mechanical treatment
• hand sorting (better than machine sorting) – in Caplami dozens of women perform this work
Then comes roasting…
Green coffee would produce a bland flavorless beverage if it were not roasted first. Roasting gives coffee its deep color and distinctive flavor. It’s a delicate step because the roasting time varies according to the kind of coffee you wish to produce.
During the process, green beans are heated gradually and stirred several times. At about 100° C their green color turns yellow. At 150°, they become light brown and then, between 200 and 220°, the roasting process is complete.
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