From seed to cup: that's how we learnt to make coffee


Thursdays at A Mano Manaba is environmental awareness day, with the help of the Ceiba Foundation and the Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve, with whom we frequently collaborate. In the last few weeks, the children who visit the library have been learning how to pick, dry, roast and grind the beans, and even taste a delicious cup of coffee.

It all started before the pandemic, when a group of library users visited the Ceiba Foundation's reserve and planted coffee seeds. The variety that grows in this area is Coffea Arabiga, and it needs natural shade from fruit trees and air to grow. A few months later, the seedlings had germinated and bore fruit, ready for harvesting!!!

The same children who participated in the planting, accompanied by other users and the library team, went to the forest to pick the coffee fruits. Previously, they had been learning about how these fruits germinate and ripen and what state the cherries need to be in to be harvested.

With the help of the whole group, we had a good harvest. Now it was time to process the fruit. For several weeks we left all the cherries to dry in the sun until the flesh of the fruit was ready to be removed from the berries.

Then it was time for the next step: removing the remains of the fruit to keep the pips and roasting them, before grinding them. It was hard work that we managed to do in a few hours thanks to the assistance of our friend and FAMM collaborator, Julio Chang, who is an expert in coffee plantations and who guided us through the coffee roasting technique. And, above all, thanks to the help of the children of the library, who got involved to the maximum to do the hard manual work of extracting the seeds one by one and removing the pods to be able to roast them.

We roasted the coffee in the library's Manabí oven, and we also did a first grinding to be able to taste the result of our work: a rich coffee with fruity aromas, 100% organic and handmade.