Picking and Grading Coffee, Getting Serious

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Editor’s note: Barista Magazine is thrilled to be sponsoring the Barista & Farmer Coffee Reality TV project happening right now in Puerto Rico. Publisher Ken Olson just arrived in Puerto Rico to join the group for the second half of the event, which brings 15 Italian baristas together at Hacienda San Pedro to work the farm, learn from agronomists, and participate in challenges, and Ken will write about it here on the blog and in the December+January issue of Barista Magazine. 

The wonderful journalist Davide Agazzi has once again written an account of the most recent activities at the Barista & Farmer project. Here is his fifth installment. (To read his first report, go HERE. To read the second report, go HERE. And go HERE for his third report. Find his fourth story HERE.) And be sure to check out the video, too!

November 7, 2013
Jayuya, Puerto Rico

The fourth day of the coffee reality show saw the 15 baristas once again departing toward the San Pedro farm to pick coffee cherry. On the way back, the the baristas enjoyed a sort of parade with their bags of cherry at the weigh station. Today’s top spot was secured by Serena Bernardini with 21 kilos of coffee, followed by Angelo Segoni, who ranked second with 18 kilos, and Pierangelo Chiarelli with 16.

The gorgeous Hacienda San Pedro is, of course, a pretty amazing place to be doing all this learning.

The gorgeous Hacienda San Pedro is, of course, a pretty amazing place to be doing all this learning.

In the afternoon, Alberto Polojac, who is the coffee director as well as the master professor of the Barista & Farmer academy) offered the baristas a lesson about green coffee grading: he taught them how to detect defects, identify varietals, and even measure the altitude at which the green coffee was grown.

When the lesson was over, the baristas were immediately tested in a practical challenge, where they had to separate the good coffee (no defects) from the bad.

The Italian baristas are working long days at Hacienda San Pedro in Puerto Rico—picking coffee in the mornings and taking classes in the afternoons.

The Italian baristas are working long days at Hacienda San Pedro in Puerto Rico—picking coffee in the mornings and taking classes in the afternoons.

The last challenge of the day had the baristas involved in a series of triangulations: every contestant had to identificate the slightly different coffee out of three that were very similar and served altogether. This had to be done using only their senses of smell. The test consisted of eight different triangulations. The winner was Fabio Verona, with Davide Cobelli and Giacomo Vannelli following in second and third positions.

The kind of friendships being forged at the farm will last a lifetime.

The kind of friendships being forged at the farm will last a lifetime.

In this unique event, baristas are getting an incredibly intimate experience of how coffee is grown, picked, and processed.

In this unique event, baristas are getting an incredibly intimate experience of how coffee is grown, picked, and processed.

You've heard of the nail polish color, "Coffee Cherry Red," right?

You’ve heard of the nail polish color, “Coffee Cherry Red,” right?

Event supportated by: Hacienda San Pedro, Sigep, La Cimbali, Imperator, 9Bar, Pulycaff, Quarta Caffè, Caffè del Faro, Caffè Corsini, Pacorini, Brambati, Pascucci, Costadoro.

Media Partners: Barista Magazine & Comunicaffè.

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Barista Magazine is the leading trade magazine in the world for the professional coffee community.