At the Universidad Veritas, we had the chance to visit the Fab Lab. We were able to see a 3D printer, a laser cutter, and work with building 3D models, both on the computer and physically. Many of these inventions, especially the 3D printer, has had a huge impact on our ability to make accurate models and develop quicker methods of building things.
There are some coffee production methods that should not be changed with technology upgrades. These may already be efficient and consume little energy, or are a main reason why the coffee tastes as good as it does. First, the water mills we saw at Doka that are used to extract the bean out of the middle of the coffee plant are a great use of resources. There is no electrical power needed, only water, in order for the machine to work. Also, without the need of manual labor, the beans are split up into good and bad, and even further into levels of quality for the good beans. This machine does all the sorting and peeling of the beans without any electricity and barely any manual labor. It is both effective and sustainable.
Second, sun-drying the beans is something that I think should not be changed with technology. There are already faster ways to dry the beans, and they are rarely used. When the beans are dried in the sun, the flavor quality is much better. All of the coffee producers we have spoken to eluded to the fact that the quality of sun-dried coffee is worth the time it takes to dry. I don’t see anything in the near future being able to replicate the rays of the sun in a way that helps the bean keep the same flavor. Also, even if something like this is invented, it would probably use up a lot of energy, so it is unsustainable. All in all, I think the traditional sun-drying technique is the most effective.
And finally, another thing I think doesn’t need a technological advancement is the roasting of the coffee. The only thing I think that could speed up this process is roasting them at a hotter temperature. I’m not a huge coffee expert, but I think roasting them at a hotter temperature would not be an effective way of roasting the coffee because if it is too hot, that might burn the beans. From what we saw, the roasters seem to be doing a great job of roasting the coffee.
When looking for something in the process to improve, picking the coffee stands out. I understand why manual labor is used to pick the coffee, but I think something could be improved in terms of where they pick the coffee. The first idea that pops into my head is some sort of sensor that can report how many cherries are ready to pick in a certain area. Whether it is some kind of drone or something that is planted into the ground, this device would measure how many pick-able cherries are in a specific area. By being able to track this stat, the coffee pickers could target the areas which have the most amount of cherries.
Distribution could be improved also through drones. Just like Amazon has started to deliver their products with drones, coffee distributors could also improve their speed of distribution to the direct consumers. Of course, a drone couldn’t deliver huge deliveries to a wholesaler of coffee, but this could improve the speed of delivery directly to the consumers.
All in all, the coffee production process does fairly well without any complex technologies, but there is always some room for improvement.