Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 86.djvu/40

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36
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

that in the damper regions above may be two feet or more in height, are reduced, on the exposed rocks of the hotter lowlands, to pigmies of but two or three inches when mature.

On hundreds of acres of the rocky hillsides for 2,000 feet below Cinchona is raised the Blue Mountain coffee, which Jamaicans, and the London coffee tasters, say is the finest coffee in the world. The coffee beans, the seeds of a small Abyssian tree related to Cinchona, are borne, two together, in each of the bright red, cherry-like fruits. The trees are grown on the steep, rocky ground, with oranges or bananas scattered in

PSM V86 D040 Coffee planter home with coffee drying floor.jpg

Coffee Planter's Home with Cement Drying Floor (Barbecue). Pulping mill and windrows of drying coffee at left.

for shade. They are cultivated entirely by hand and are pruned down to five or six feet for convenience in picking the berries. The coffee beans are freed from pulp, shelled out of the parchment after drying, winnowed and polished, sometimes by gasoline engines, but usually by water power from the mountain streams. The beans are then sorted to sizes by screens, culled over by hand, and sent to Kingston, 15 or 20 miles away, on pack mules. Other parts of the cleared ground below Cinchona are planted with vegetables by the negro natives. These temporary tenants clear the land, raise potatoes, cabbages, scallions (onions), beets, yams and coco root, for three years on it and leave it with a good set of young coffee trees in payment for the lease.