The transformation of fresh Philenoptera cyanescens leaves into Blue Gold at Aboubakar‘s Indigo Farm in Siby/Mali.
After harvesting, the leaves need to be processes as quickly as possible. Therefore they are placed in a large wooden mortar and pounded until they are finely crushed. There are several reasons to crush them. First of all, it reduces the mass of leaf-matter and creates a concentration. Aboubakar needs 20kg of pounded, dried leaves for one of his 350-litre vats, which represents about 200kg of fresh leaves. There is no way that amount would even fit in the vat. But it also allows the indigo leaves to be stored and transported easily, once they have been crushed and rolled into small balls to allow them to dry quickly and evenly. The darkness of the balls shows the quality of the indigo; the pigment content in these leaves is really high.