Coffee trees will start yielding after three to four years. Note that the quality of coffee depends on how well the coffee has been picked, processed, dried, packed and stored.
In order to minimise contamination until safe storage, it is, therefore, important to carefully harvest and safely handle the harvested crop through primary processing activities.
The quality depends on how and when picking is done from the field.
Many farmers mix red ripe berries with shrivelled, black, discoloured and defective beans.
The unripe berries produce beans that break easily, are of inferior quality, small and are usually eliminated as part of the husks during milling. This results in qualitative and quantitative post-harvest losses.
The immature beans give a bitter taste to the coffee.
When picking coffee, carefully pick only the mature red beans, leaving the green ones on the tree to ripen.
Always pick, do not strip.
Tarpaulin or other soft sheets must be spread on the ground below the coffee tree to prevent coffee beans from dropping to the ground directly.
The sheets will also ensure proper collection of all the beans and will minimise contamination.
If they drop on bare ground, the beans should be picked carefully.
Remove all inferior or green beans, leaves, twigs and foreign matter from harvested beans. Pick regularly, every two weeks, to get good yields and better quality.