Don Adán, the president of the Café Justo El Aguila co-op had our group over for lunch and for a demonstration of the de-pulping process. Don Adán spent some time in the US state of Kentucky taking care of horses, but missed his family back in Chiapas, so returned to his roots & to coffee.
We were shown the complete de-pulping process, even getting to pour some of the cherries in the de-pulper ourselves. Don Adán showed us the difference between the cherries he picked himself (very clean, no leaves, all red & ripe) and the cherries picked by hired help. The pride he had in the quality of his work was obvious.
We were also shown the de-pulping process from the president of the Salvador Urbina co-op, Beltran Sanchez .
They start with the coffee cherry. The cherries are poured into a machine with a stream of water that spins the shells into a pile and lets the seeds - or beans- and juices flow into a tub. These juices are left for 36 hours to ferment the beans & increase the acidity of the coffee. The fermenting process has a very strong smell (not exactly how you'd hope a cup o' joe would smell!)
The beans are then taken to a cement patio to dry for 5-7 days, depending on the weather. A big problem they experience is that too much rainfall and not enough sunshine make for conditions incompatible with their process for drying coffee and the beans might rot before they can dry.