Coffee is harvested by combing the trees, using the vibrating “fingers” of the harvester. These fingers are durable and flexible, but gentle enough not to damage the trees. The machine spends up to three seconds passing over each tree, gently shaking it so that only the mature cherries fall off. These cherries flow over a series of spring-loaded fish plates into a bucket elevator, which transfers them to a holding tank on the harvester to await collection and transfer to the wet plant for processing.
Skybury harvests on average 1.5 tonnes of green coffee bean per hectare. Coffee trees can live in excess of 80-100 years and are sometimes referred to as a centurion plant, but productivity declines at around 10 years and peak production is between six and eight years.