Jan. 11, 2014
Portland Roasting's red bracelets, I was so excited. Michael Sheridan, Director of the Borderlands Coffee Project for Catholic Relief Services, seemed energized, too. Thus he was the one to write about it in his CRS Coffeelands blog.
The bracelets, intended to be worn by people picking coffee to help them remember to only select the ripe ones, are a perfect example of appropriate technology for coffee. So I wrote to my friend Mark Stell (president and founder of Portland Roasting) and arranged to have a few of these cherry red beauties sent to Artisan Coffee Imports. Collaborating with Mario Serracin, agronomist for Rogers' Family Coffee in Rwanda, a plan for a controlled test has been hatched.
Background: a critical issue for the quality (and therefore price) at the farm is to pick only the ripe cherries (which are red, like the bracelet). For example, grassy off-flavors are often caused by harvesting under-ripe beans.
Basic test design: test bracelets vs. no bracelets
Hypothesis: if the bracelets are used by one group of pickers and not by another group of pickers harvesting at the same farm, (just a slightly different area), tests of the sugar content of the coffee liqueur will shower higher sugar concentration in the lots picked by pickers-with-bracelets.
Artisan will bring bracelets to Mario in Rwanda in March. Watch this space for results!