I know that in an earlier post I bemoaned the tendency of coffee buyers to visit the coffeelands only during harvest time, but I confess I can understand the appeal. It is so exciting! The joy of the harvest, the satisfaction of hard work with just rewards, the pride of turning ripe red cherries in to the cooperative, the beautiful colors, the whirring of the depulper, the voices of men and women hard at work washing and drying and otherwise turning those cherries into export-ready coffee…In the end, it is just irresistible. My eyes (and camera) are invariably drawn to the bright red of the coffee cherries, which make their way in just a few hours’ time from the trees where they are picked to a sticky rest in the fermentation tank — the truimphant conclusion of many months of patient maturation. Here are a few images documenting the last day in the life of some very special coffee cherries from Lake Atitlán in Guatemala.