This course draws to a close at the precise moment at which coffee has been sealed up and begins its journey to the place where it will be roasted and consumed. Some producers nurture their coffee for this entire journey; others part with it as cherry and negotiate its sale as cherry or parchment. The variation in what occurs between the moment coffee cherry is harvested until a bag is sealed might be more nuanced now than it has ever been. An exchange of ideas has reversed and augmented traditions that, in some regions, are generations old. Felipe Sardi, in Colombia, describes this evolution:
‘I love the fact that there’s a movement around more-complex fermentations in Colombia that are now challenging the status quo … and we’re seeing amazing results coming out of these trials. We still need to do a lot more well-structured exercises and research, but the trend is growing and producers are trying, and I love that! We need to think differently to add value at origin.’
It is clear that innovation and change have become a feature of not only Colombian farming culture; they represent an international tendency. In many instances, the catalyst for widespread improvements in processing practices have been sparked by the introduction of easily portable technologies. Affordable and relatively lightweight machinery such as the drum and disk pulpers of the nineteenth century had far-reaching effects on the uptake of washed processing around the coffee belt. But without a doubt, the main influencer in the modern era is information. Research bodies such as Cenicafé, Ancafé, CATIE, Kew Gardens, and World Coffee Research have been instrumental in training millers and producers in best practice. More recently, innovations such as the anaerobic movement in Colombia have become highly visible on Instagram.