It's mid November and coffee picking has started at Boikere and also at most estates where Arabica is grown. Yes the harvest times of Arabica and Robusta are not quite the same. The important point however is that harvesting of coffee in India is done by hand. There's a huge difference between hand picking and machine harvesting. The craft of coffee growing covers many aspects where skill influences quality of the product as well as productivity of the estate. Fly picking for example refers to the first pass of picking where berries that ripen early are picked. Pickers typically will make three passes of a single lot of coffee picking ripe crop only each time. That's because on the same plant, even on the same branch, berries ripen at different points in time. So when human judgement guides the hand that picks only ripe berries, you end up with a more uniform quality of berries and ultimately more uniform green beans. I haven't verified this fact but I suspect that the phrase "to cherry pick" probably came from the practice of skillfully selecting the best cherries (which is what the ripe coffee berry is called) from the coffee bush.

Next month I will be in Kodagu to select my green beans from estates where the craft of coffee growing is practiced. There are several quality influencing factors I look for. Picking procedures is one of them.