MICRO-MILLS, the opportunity for small farmers to sell green coffee directly to the processing industry
Micro-coffee plants are owned by small-scale farmers, but they also help organisations which flock to this system. Cimbria is now focusing on developing small processing lines specifically for this market and has already sold several units to Central and South America. The small processing lines have a hulling capacity of 1 t/h, with potential for growth depending on the initial setup. Since specialty coffees are picked carefully, the equipment can be reduced to a minimum.
During the last 5-10 years, more and more farmers have started their own “micro-Beneficio” (micro-mills) to process coffee from their own small farms or those of their family members or neighbours. Many farms are only a few hectares in size. For wet processing purposes, these micro-mills use mechanical equipment such as Eco Pulpers to decrease water consumption. Most of the micro-millers are also progressive farmers, taking good care of their plants, separating farms and varieties, separating all batches according to daily picking before cupping. A lot of farmers are also organised in cooperatives, selling their product straight to the processing industry. Cimbria has been offering simple and inexpensive processing lines with our very special Hansa 10 and Hansa 14 hullers, which can peel dry cherry and parchment coffee simply by changing the lower sieves in the machine. In addition, depending on the local coffee quality, a size grader or gravity table can be used for final separation. Since the layouts are flexible, different solutions are applicable. Overall, this should give the farmer the best setup for identifying quality and implementing good processing practices. We were happy to see that many of the micro-mills we sold were standouts, such as that sold to coffee estate La Bastilla in Nicaragua. “You have entered the website of the world’s best coffee!” is the bold claim of coffee estate La Bastilla. It produces and exports its own “estate” coffees from its two coffee estates in the highlands of Jinotega, Nicaragua. The plantations have been certified since 2003 by international non-profit organisations such as Rainforest Alliance, which promotes sustainability in agriculture. The mission of La Bastilla is to produce and deliver to business partners and coffee roasters the best coffee at the best possible quality, using whatever is provided.