Processing coffee cherries at home

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#1: Post by Nate42 »

So, a friend of mine is originally from Kenya, and he has family that own a coffee plantation. They are coming for a visit and he asked them to bring me some coffee to roast, and it sounds like what they are bringing is going to be cherries straight from the tree. Which should be a fun experiment, but I have zero idea what to do with it! Anyone ever attempted to process coffee at home before? I don't have any illusions that I will be winning any awards, but I am hopeful I can get a drinkable cup out of this. Will post an update once I get the coffee.


#2: Post by Pressino »

See the video here: ... e-at-home/

The general process described is OK. The roasting and grinding suggestions are less OK. :)

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#3: Post by TomC »

Hate to burst your bubble, but the cherries will very likely have begun to ferment uncontrollably and rot before they even arrive, and that is if they arrive. There's pretty strict regulations about bringing in agricultural products from other countries. These are usually checked during customs and whatnot due risks of spreading diseases to plants who have no protection against them.

Dried, processed beans in pergamino might be able to be brought in. But the only "processing" at that point would be the laborious and boring part of removing them from their parchment.
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#4: Post by yakster »

Here's some links and ideas for you if you do get coffee in parchment. You could even try germinating some of the coffee to see if you can grow it. Hulling it is going to be some work, maybe not so bad if you roast small batches.

How best to finish processing coffee greens

DIY Parchment Milling

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#5: Post by Nate42 (original poster) »

Thanks for the links everyone. I had the same thought as Tom about the cherries being too far gone by the time I get them. If I get them at all thanks to customs. I have a non coffee person as my go between here so I am really not sure what I am truly going to get. We'll find out, supposedly monday.


#6: Post by Jonk »

It could end up being very expensive beans if your friend get a hefty fine. Better declare it in customs.

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#7: Post by Nate42 (original poster) »

I told him today to warn his family about customs. We looked it up and not surprisingly coffee that hasn't been processed is on the "do not" list.

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#8: Post by Nate42 (original poster) »

Well, so I got the message across in time that they weren't going to be able to bring fresh coffee through customs (thanks for the heads up on that btw) and I was expecting to just not get anything. But I guess they took the time to remove the pulp and parchment by hand before they left, and I was just presented with a large bag (several kilos, too much for my small scale to weigh anyway) of green coffee. I'm not sure if it was washed or dried at all, the beans look a little fat like maybe they have some excess moisture. I'm thinking I may spread it out and let it air dry a while. Anyway looking forward to trying it. I've asked my friend to bug his family for more details about what they did/didn't do with this bag. They normally sell to a local mill but they processed this themselves. Would have been fun to get my hands on some cherry, but this will be much easier to deal with. And I'm not one to look a gift giant bag of coffee in the mouth.

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#9: Post by TomC »

Take a picture of what you have and we can tell you what it is.

My guess is pre-mill coffee, with the pergamino remaining, just a small kilo or two separated before being sent to the mill.
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#10: Post by Nate42 (original poster) »

So here is an image:

I didn't have a coin handy as a size reference so I used a micro sd card. I feel like they are on the large side. On the left is an example of a couple "uglier" ones, most of the batch looks like the larger group. I initially thought the parchment had been removed but now I think not, I was able to scrape a layer off with my fingernail revealing the much greener looking bean toward the bottom.