This year our trip to Buesaco, narino had a fun twist. As well as the usual tastings, sample pick ups and quality control, we found ourselves standing in front of large plastic sealed buckets... Not many, but just enough to question Jose ( our main man) about whats going on. Now to put a bit of perspective into this, Jose is a big fan of experimentation and asking neighbouring producers to follow suit in an aim to achieve better results. Last year probably about 30% of the coffees we tried where red, yellow and black honey lots. This year, its all about Anaerobic Fermentation.
So what is anaerobic fermentation? Well basically speaking it means oxygen free but depending on the processing method this can be done a few ways. When fermenting a naturally processed coffee, you are effectively leaving the coffee to sit after picking for anything up to 72 hours before drying. Washed/ honey processed coffees are de-pulped and left in wet fermentation tanks - both however are left out in the open with oxygen present, a huge variable that can cause inconsistencies in there results. So by placing the coffee's into large air tight containers we can monitor its fermentation environment more closely.
In doing so, we are also subjecting the coffee to pressure due to build up of fermented gasses (released using a pressure valve) and slowing down the energy release process usually gained with the aid of oxygen (or aerobic fermentation) as well as encouraging different chemical reactions.
The results? for washed lots, a really clean cup with naturally processed fruit notes and for natural lots, tons of body, sweetness and character. Keep an eye out for these coffees soon!