Finca Filadelfia coffee plantation, Antigua


The Finca Filadelfia, situated just outside the town of Antigua, belongs to the R. Dalton Coffee Company. The coffee plantation carries out the whole process of coffee production from growing and grafting new coffee seedlings in the nursery, through the picking of the red coffee cherries, the hulling of the cherries, the removal of the other layers covering the coffee beans, drying, and grading of the green beans. A sample from each crop is roasted and tasted to ensure quality before the green beans are shipped to coffee importers abroad. Starbucks, that great enemy of the independent coffee shop, is a major buyer of Finca Filadefia coffee beans.

Antigua Filadelphia Whole families of migrant workers pick the ripe coffee berries, children picking the lower ones and adults the higher ones. Unfortunately this means that the children get no education. Here the family is removing unsuitable beans.
Antigua Filadelphia Each berry contains two coffee beans. As the berries ripen they turn red and are picked. One coffee tree may be picked up to ten times as the berries ripen.
Antigua Filadelphia Flowers on a coffee tree. Coffee trees need shade and tall trees are also planted on the coffee plantation to provide shade. These trees also encourage a flourishing birdlife on the plantation.
Antigua Filadelphia

The red berries are poured into water tanks where unripe or bad berries tend to float on the top. These are then scooped into tanks and dried separately.

Antigua Filadelphia Once the berries have been broken open and the coffee beans released there are still two more layers covering the beans that have to be removed. Here the beans are placed in fermentation tanks to remove more of the covering. Skilled workers can tell by touch or smell when each stage of preparation has been completed.
Antigua Filadelphia This machine was once used to remove the red berries surrounding the coffee beans.
Antigua Filadelphia The coffee beans, still surrounded by parchment, are put out to dry in the open air. They are raked continuously to make sure that they dry evenly.
Antigua Filadelphia Coffee beans spread out to dry. If rain falls on the drying beans workers go through the batches afterwards to make sure that no rot has set in.
Antigua Filadelphia Coffee bagged up ready for the next stage of the process. The parchment must be removed and the beans are graded.
Antigua Filadelphia
This machine uses optical lenses to look at every single coffee bean. Any bean showing even the slightest blemish is removed by an air blast from the production line.
Antigua Filadelphia Here, the beans that have passed the optical lenses can be periodically checked to make sure that the machine is working properly.
Antigua Filadelphia
Most of the beans are shipped as green beans to be roasted abroad. A proportion of production is roasted at the plantation for sale within Guatemala.

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