Costa Rica

One in a MILL-ion (Part Three): BIRD'S EYE VIEW>>

One in a MILL-ion (Part 3): BIRD'S EYE VIEW>> To give a little more spatial perspective of how a lot of wet mills work, here's a top side view of the one we've been posting about in this series. The cherry has been delivered into the ceramic holding tank (see Part 1) and now it's slowly pouring down the drain and into the flume where it's met with fast running water and taken into the separation tank (Part 2). Because this mill has been strategically built into the side of a hill the truck can simply back up to the holding tank. Many free standing mills rely on pneumatic or augered systems to deliver cherry up to the higher starting point, which as you can see here is four stories up. After separation, the coffees move into two separate pulpers, where what often looks like a giant rotating cylinder with cheese grater teeth grabs hold of the outer cherry skins and rips them about halfway off the beans. From here one of several secondary strategies for removing the remaining cherry skins is employed. If you look down to the bottom level on the left toward the end of this video clip you can see the rotating secondary depulper for the lower quality beans that have been separated from the higher grade beans, and its feed pipes bringing those beans into the depulper and then the pipes leading away outside and to the next step. White PVC pipes traverse the wet mill and carry coffee, water or waste/recycling water throughout the mill. The sound of generators and/or depulping equipment is a constant element in the ears during harvest, which is why many wet mill workers wear protective ear plugs. The yellow cat walks here are wet and often slightly slippery, which means safety is a big deal when climbing or descending. Part 4 will show the depulping/demucilaging for the higher quality cherry.