The ripe coffee fruits (cherries) go through a number of operations aimed at extracting the beans from their covering of pulp, mucilage, parchment and film to improve their appearance. The resulting clean coffee (FAQ) can then be roasted and ground to obtain the coffee powder which is fit for human consumption. There are two main techniques used to obtain the clean coffee; Drying will be complete when the dried cherries (kiboko) have attained moisture content of 13 – 14 %.
B) Wet processing:
C) Dry Processing:
The harvested cherries are usually not sorted before commencement of the drying regime. Careful harvesting to exclude immature cherries and extraneous matter e.g. stones is essential.
In the wet method the dried coffee beans have a parchment covering while in the dry method, the beans are covered with the husk. These are removed in a mechanical operation known as hulling. The hullers usually rotate at a speed of 450 – 800 rpm. Higher speeds result into a polished appearance but also increase the breakages. There are about 250 active hulleries now operating throughout the country. The resulting clean dry coffee beans are in both cases referred to as FAQ (Fair Average Quality). The FAQ is then sorted according to size using perforated sieves and by specific gravity in a gravity table or by pneumatic sorting in a catador.