Iyela, Tanzania

The Iyela Coffee Group is the formation of 239 small scale farmers who come together to process their coffee cherries at a central processing unit. The farms lie in the Songwe region close to the shores of Lake Rukwa, which is inhabited by Crocodiles, Hippopotamus and fish abound! The farms that are part of the Iyela Coffee Group range in altitude from 1800 to 1900 meters above sea level.

Each farmer hand picks and delivers their cherries to the CPU. When they deliver the cherry, they will hand sort to ensure the ripe cherries are processed. The unripe and overripe cherry will be taken back home by the farmers for home processing and will be sold locally or consumed by the farmers themselves.

After sorting, the cherries are pulped using a manual pulper hooked up to an engine. This is quite common in this area for it's effectiveness and reasonable price.

Farm workers pulping coffee cherries

The parchment is then fermented in tanks for between 24 and 36 hours, weather dependent, and then washed and graded in channels.

Farm worker monitoring the fermentation process

After grading the parchment is soaked for 8 hours before being dried on raised beds, during the drying process the parchment is inspected to remove any defects.

Coffee farm workers checking for defects while coffee parchments drying