Ulian Field Notes 7: Tradition

*Field Notes are posts made from notes I record in the field while visiting coffeelands.  They are often raw, unpolished, even scatter-brained.  They are intended to 1) allow the reader to follow along in the journey and 2) allow me to archive my notes to the web.

11:37 Sunny partly cloudy
38.3 *C
26.38 inHg

Busy day.  Didn't have time to take several weather readings.

First day back and the place is a wreck. The fermentation tank has distinct layers of film on it indicating at least two days since its been cleaned. The pulpers probably haven't been cleaned since I left. Same for the buckets.

Checked some hulled green coffee today and it was 13.6%. Too wet. They own a meter but aren't using it and instead are sticking to the traditional method of breaking a bean out of the hull and biting on it or just feeling it and gauging dryness by touch. As much as I agree with the need to maintain traditional methods, this is one tradition that doesn't add any value to the coffee and in fact can actually degrade quality.  How do I convince them that in this case, using technology (an inexpensive moisture meter) helps improve consistency and quality while allowing other, more meaningful, traditional processes to remain in place, such as the use of organic fertilizers or their unique method of pruning trees?

Two sample density readings:

Sample 1: 676 g/L

Sample 2: 558g/L

606 Kg total for day

Michael C. Wright

Michael is an American expat living in Singapore where he writes about many things coffee-related. A roaster by trade, Michael is also exploring coffee production and how to improve the lives of those who produce the noble bean.