Turning Point: Noongar Seasons and Coffee Seasonality

Turning Point: Noongar Seasons and Coffee Seasonality

In Australia, seasonality can mean different things to different people. For instance, Whadjuk Noongar people (the traditional owners of the land on which our roastery operates) identify 6 distinct seasons throughout the year. These seasons are often not only defined by the weather of that period, but also what this means to the landscape and environment, and can help to predict what will be changing over the weeks to come. With this in mind, we decided to look at the seasonality of coffee through the lens of the Noongar seasons.

After all, it's important for us to know what types of coffee we will have available at different times of the year, but we hope to do so in a way that acknowledges that not all people observe "seasonality" in the same way. So, we'll aim to write a new post every 2 months a special newsletter (and journal article) on the global coffee harvest cycle, viewed through the context of the Noongar seasons.

In that spirit, welcome to the Djilba Edition. Djiba is the season covering August and September and is known as the season of conception.

Before we get to coffee though, a quick caveat: Each continent and country is made up of thousands of unique microclimates. So the harvest cycle varies with each region. Moreover, it changes year to year with seasonal variations. So the below should be seen as a general guide, and not an exact prediction.

Central America

In Central America, farmers are tending to their growing fruit and the coffee which was harvested and processed a few months ago are now arriving here, to Australia. We’re talking about Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Bolivia, and Nicaragua. So you can expect a lot of micro lots from these countries over the next couple of months. Woo!

South America

Brazil is at the latter stages of harvesting and the beginning stages of processing. Meanwhile, the fruit in Columbia is maturing and the farmers here are gearing up for their first month of harvest in September.

Africa

Like Central America, Kenyan and Ethopian coffee trees are still maturing, and the coffee processed a few months ago has arrived, meaning we get to drink a lot of delicious Kenyan and fresh Ethopian in the Djiba season. Lucky us. Rwanda, however, is finishing the last month of harvest right now and are in the middle of processing the coffee.

Asia

In Indonesia, farmers are at the latter stages of harvest and in the thick of processing freshly picked coffee. Meanwhile, India’s produce is in the middle stages of maturation.

What does this all mean?

This means that coffee, as a product we know and love all year round, is actually not the same all year round. You might not have noticed it before, but the coffee industry is in a constant state of flux, with new coffees arriving all the time to replace others that run out just as fast. So as coffee roasters, we're always thinking about the current coffee season: what coffees have arrived, what is coming soon, and what countries are picking. Here at Timely, we operate on Whadjuk Noongar land, and we hope to do more to acknowledge this important truth through not just our words, but through our everyday actions, including how view coffee seasonality.

Sources:

http://www.bom.gov.au/iwk/calendars/nyoongar.shtml

https://projectorigin.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/harvesting_calendar.pdf