Data Gathering Segues to the Spirit of Experimentation

On our farm part of our coffee berry borer (CBB) management is to do a 30-tree sampling method monthly throughout much of the growing season. We did the sampling yesterday. Imagine walking the farm, trying to find 30 scattered trees that should somehow represent the farm. And those trees should have 30-120 berries on a mid-tree lateral branch. We know we’re coming to the end of the season when it’s hard to find many trees throughout the farm with enough fruit on one branch to even do this sampling.

You count (a) the green berries and (b) how many green berries are infested and (c) you collect a few samples from each examined branch. Later you cut each of the collected specimens and examine how deeply the beetle has bored, and you just track a lot of quantitative data.

There will be another picking this week, and maybe one more, before we do the strip pick, which is simply for beetle hygiene. We remove and dispose of all fruit to eliminate any beetle homes. Happily, our farm is looking pretty good. We found a couple of small hot spots, but at least we know about them. We simply do the best we can.

The day we pick, we start wet milling the coffee. This page describes the wet milling process.

So you can begin to appreciate how many variables there are to experiment with, let’s just touch on fermentation. Some producers use a fermentation process to create a certain flavor profile. This article talks about what fermentation is and why producers might experiment with it. This other more recent article talks about fermentation experiments using fruit. Coffee producer nerds can really geek out. We don’t have any plans to try fermentation. We are too small a farm, still too unknown, and it feels too risky. If we were a boutique farm, able to sell out of coffee at >$100/pound and had a trusting customer base, maybe.

I’ll close on a different sense of ferment and experiment …

The ferment and viability in any society is directly proportionate to the number of people actively living their ideas. This is not positive thinking — it is positive action: the spirit of experiment.

Marilyn Ferguson

2 thoughts on “Data Gathering Segues to the Spirit of Experimentation

  1. Thanks, Jon. I try to share little bits of coffee info to help people’s trivia game. Ha ha. There really are a surprising amount of variables to tweak in the myriad steps between growing coffee to what you drink.

  2. An interesting post — just the right amount of technical info for someone (me) whose interest in coffee is at the margin of whether to add one or two glugs of whole milk (or fat free, so many variables to consider) to my morning cuppa.
    You, on the other hand, are learning a lot. It seems you are enjoying that and I am happy for you.

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