Coffee cultivation continues

I know you all have been waiting eagerly in your seats for the next lesson on cultivating coffee. 🙂 Once the coffee is picked, it is laid out on flat cement surfaces to dry. The thinner the layer of beans, the faster it can dry. Everyday the beans are swept to rotate their posititions to make for more even drying. Once they are completely dried (this is after they have become shriveled up, dried brown, hard shells of the juicy red berries we selected. Once they are dried, they are dehusked. At Rumi Wilco this involves pouring about a gallons-worth into a hollowed out tree stump, deeper than it is wide. Then there is this large wooden grinder that is dropped on top of the beans for about 30 minutes or until most of the skins have cracked and separated out the beans from the husks. Basically it is like a giant mortar and pestal. Quite the process for how little coffee it will produce when all is told. After the beans are dehusked, they use a fan to blow away the whithered shells and keep only the unhusked and beans. Then the unhusked beans are filtered out. Once all these steps are complete, you are to the sorting process of good and bad beans. I hope we get to learn about the roasting. We also learned that while the beans are drying out, they many will mold a little. This is completely normal, but if the beans are dried and then become wet too many times during the drying out, they are no longer good. Also, we helped collect trash along the path from Rumi Wilco to the town street. It is about a 10-minute walk which includeds a bridge over the river. There is no public trash collecting service here, so Rumi Wilco takes it upon themselves to collect trash along the walking path, the road, and the river alongside their property. We only covered the walking path and collected a little more than four bags full of garbage. We found two separate spots were people are dumping trash behind the rock retaining walls. I think it is highly taken for granted the cleanliness of the US as compared to other countries.
On another note! We officially have our long lost bags back. We went yesterday to Loja, about a 40 km drive, to pick them up. Never have I been so overwelmed by the choices of CLEAN clothes that I could put on. It is a funny situation when you lose all your possessions. At first you are upset and cannot stop thinking about clean clothes, but after you have gone about two weeks it does not seem to matter quite as much. Though I must admit that by this time we had replaced a few things like soap, and a nice woman who was staying at Rumi Wilco with us lent me a shirt and pants. However, finally having our hiking clothes allowed to take advantage of the grounds being preserved by Rumi Wilco. We took one of the gulley trails and trekked along the rim of the southern hill and came back through the floodplain meander trail. I cannot wait to see more of the grounds. The view of Vilcabamba below with all the surrounding ranges was beautiful. You can also see all the lone houses scattered up into the hillsides. Other than that, it is the weekend, and like the famed tranquility of Vilcabamba, we have been relaxing, reading books and playing cards (though now we have a cribbage board too!).


2 thoughts on “Coffee cultivation continues

  1. You must admit Elizabeth, it's not THAT unusual for you to go two weeks without showering or changing clothes. 😛 That said, I am glad you got them back; I'm sure the smell alone was causing Aaron to rethink his decision to accompany you. 🙂

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  2. I was also going to comment on your AWESOME odor, although I'm sure Aaron was just as great. I'm happy your trip is still going well. Any plans for the next month or are you staying in Vilcabamba for a while longer?

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