Drying Coffee Beans On Patio

It was raining while driving, light and intermittent. Manageable but the road was slippery and the strike of rain drops was hurting my face so we took it slow.

On our way to destination and back home, we noticed several coffee beans laid on road side. The purpose is obvious. Set them dry and ready for market.

However, how it can be ready for sale if the rain is wetting it repeatedly. Maybe the owner is out of town or something. No one would attend to it. But, we saw several houses with laid coffee on front. So it is the tradition in this particular place. Lay freshly harvested coffee berries on patios. Leave it there until dry. Sun drying during the sunny day. Minimal when cloudy. Non at all at night. Re-wetting when it rains.

Sun drying is good. It is a wise use of free energy. We used to do it when our coffee farm was still existing. However, we never lay it directly on floor. We were placing it on sacks or anything that resembles blanket. We were getting it inside during the night or when raining. There must always somebody in house so it can be stored immediately when rain and night comes. Rain must not get into it, the morning dew either. Drying period will lengthen and there is a risk of mold growth.

What we were after was the period before we can sell the coffee. The sooner we can get it for sale, the sooner we get money. We never go after the quality. As long as it is properly dried and no weevils, the buyer will get it, no questions asked.

On the other hand, what we witnessed is not a good practice. According to literature, controlled wet process makes coffee better. The crude patio drying and intermittent re-wetting is sure have effects on overall quality. For the same bean type, harvest year and place, great variation in flavor is highly probable.

The other thing. The carcinogen ochratoxin is a rising issue on coffee and cacao. In cacao, it is developed when a fermented beans is never dried fast enough. I am not sure yet but the same maybe true for coffee beans.


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