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Brewing Change: An abstract from GMCR’s Rick Peyser’s new book

From the September 2012 issue.

Rick Peyser, Director of Social Advocacy at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, describes his early days with the company that would soon lead the American market.

Rick Peyser GMCR Brewing ChangeWe got to the town of Huatusco in mid-afternoon and immediately went to the beneficio, or coffee processing plant. Our tour guide was the manager Francisco Mora Miranda. He had worked at the beneficio for 36 years.

This plant employed 25 people for five months each year, and only five full-time employees the remaining seven months. The beneficio took the coffee from “cherry to oro” in 60 hours – that is, from being freshly picked cherries with coffee beans at their centres to “green” dry beans ready for export and roasting. This was the first time that I ever saw the wet and dry processes together in the field.

The Huatusco beneficio processes an average of 62,000 bags annually. Each bag weighs 132 pounds and 250 bags fills one sea-bound shipping container. That’s almost 33,000 pounds of green coffee. To fill six containers for Green Mountain, the co-op needs 1500 bags of green coffee. This year’s production was down 30 to 50 per cent, depending on the zone. Some of this was weather-related; however, much of it was cyclical and due to the heavy harvest last year. This is the historic curse of the coffee industry: booms and busts in production.

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