The coffee 'tree' is in fact a type of tropical evergreen shrub. The coffee tree does not commence to deliver its full produce until its sixth year and will maintain peak production for approximately ten years. However for a period of 60 years coffee plants may continue to live. The tree, if left untouched will develop to a height of between 16 and 40 feet. In the majority of coffee farms the trees are maintained at a convenient six feet to obtain the most excellent yield and to make it trouble free to harvest.
Early showers ahead of the monsoon, known as the blossom showers are necessary for the coffee blossoms to develop. Sprinkler irrigation systems are employed for supplementing blossom showers. Drip irrigation systems utilizing electrically controlled motors, diesel pump sets are employed for producing coffee as well as intercrops. Power sprayers are employed for checking the growth of fungi in Arabica. Tractors are employed for moving harvested coffee, timber as well as for tilling paddy fields.
Preservation of coffee entails frequent weeding, trimming of coffee plants, fertilizer use. Coffee needs shade to mature suitably. Excessive sunlight can be damaging to the plant. The trees planted for the purpose of providing shade, in addition to supplying timber, are also utilized for cultivating black pepper. Occasionally cocoa trees are planted as well. Additional crops are inter-planted together with coffee. Intercrops that are widespread include orange, pepper and cardamom. The crop that gives the best returns is Cardamom.
Harvesting is totally reliant on labor. The laborers are employed on a temporary basis but come somewhat from dissimilar categories of floating populations. The entire work has to be completed by hand and is exceptionally prolonged. All the berries have to be pulled out prior to the end of the season or else they are unfit for use. Because of this, most of the plantations are willing to pay higher wages to lure the laborers. Occasionally the wages that are paid is equivalent to the price of the harvested crop.