After spending 3 days at Fazenda Daterra it is hard to oversee that that it is harvest time.
This year the harvest is coming early. And it is coming fast. You could perceive that the timing and acceleration was affecting the work of every sector of the farm.
What happened was this; some early rains makes the tree cherries mature faster and more importantly- in an uneven way. That means that you will have cherries hanging on the tree that look ripe, but are only partly ripe. You still need to get them off the tree before they get too ripe, but that is a very hard thing to judge and you have a shorter timespan to judge this on.
The early rain is not is not only happening on Daterra, it is affecting most of Brazil and practically every farm in the region of Cerrado.
This will give every farm its specific challenges; on Daterra it means they will be using all the experience and equipment available. In many cases this means that they will use the extra set of depulpers we have mentioned before. The idea is to leave the cherries mature a bit longer than normally to ensure an even maturation and then depulp them. Decupling very mature cherries is very difficult and it ais actually not possible at all farms. When the cherry is very mature it is also dry which makes it harder to depulp (tear of the pulp from the seed).
I had very good company visiting Daterra this year. They were roasters from U.S and Canada, good people that gave an extra dimension to this trip. We did a lot of different cuppings for example different varieties, and different post harvest methods. These were very enlightening, but there was another kind of cupping that stood out for me- the ever on-going harvest cupping they do every day on Daterra before judging which trees are going to be picked.
Harvest cupping at Daterra is very special for 2 reasons. First it is very few farms that cup every lot so extensively up to harvest and very few that use cupping as a tool to determine when to harvest.
Second it is of course very exciting to see the selection taking place before your eyes. Hearing Carlinhos arguing why one lot is ready and another not is a privilege. Trynig to taste for the same things is and finding some of the very same things in the cup. To me one of the most interesting cuppings ever.