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They grow an awful lot of coffee in Brasil as "The Coffee Song" by Frank Sinatra suggested!

Coffee Drying Patios

Coffee Drying and Coffee Drying Patios in and near Águas da Prata

Before shipment, coffee is dried and a coffee moisture meter is used to measure coffee bean moisture. Coffee must be dried from approximately 60% moisture content to 11-12% moisture content. Coffee is typically dried on large patios made of asphalt or cement and then transferred to mechanical dryers.

The coffee on the drying patios is shifted every 30-40 minutes and is shaped into long rows of no more than 5 cm in height. Next to each row is open ground, which is warmed and dried by the sun. The coffee is then shifted onto the dry portion of the patio, and the section where it was previously is now allowed to dry in the sun. This helps accelerate the coffee drying process and prevents fermentation and moldy beans from developing. This method is widely used in Brazil, but less widely used in Guatemala or Costa Rica where the coffee is more often piled perpendicularly to the old piles.

Drying coffee solely by patio takes 6-7 days for washed coffees, 8-9 days for pulped naturals (semi-washed), and 12-14 days for natural (dry-processed) coffees. This is why coffee beans are typically dried on a patio until they reach a moisture content of 15% and are then transferred to mechanical dryers. Once the coffee reaches a 25% moisture content or less, it can be piled at night and covered with cotton cloths to allow the coffee to breath. If it rains, these piles can also be covered with plastic. Coffee should not be covered with burlap sacks since this will impart a distinct burlap flavor and aroma to the coffee.

Here is what they look like.

Large Coffee Drying Patios on the edge of town.

Here are the same Coffee Drying Patios as seen from a Satellite in Space.

An abandoned Coffee Drying Patio.

A Coffee Drying Patio behind a small restaurant.

Here is a Coffee Drying Patio being worked just outside of Águas da Prata.

In this photo you can see the men raking the coffee on the Coffee Drying Patio.

Photos by Urso Branco

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