Fermentation is trending in 2019.
Think kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut and yoghurt.
We're encouraged to think about the role of "good bacteria" in our stomach.
But did you know that fermentation also plays a part in coffee production?
Fermenting coffee beans in their green stages is an important part of production, both for 1) removing mucilage (unwanted outer layers) and 2) for creating desirable flavour profiles in the coffee.
Breaking down of mucilage in fermentation happens when naturally occurring microorganisms (yeasts and bacteria) produce different enzymes, acids, and alcohols.
It can be a risky business.
The conditions required for fermentation can also be prime mould-growing ones. Because of this, coffee producers need to have strict quality control procedures in place.
Depending on which processing method is used (wet, dry or semidry) the fermentation process will be different. During wet processing, fermentation happens in the processing water, while during dry processing, fermentation happens in the drying outer layers of the cherries.
In the wet method, where the coffee is fully immersed in water, the microbes are under more stress due to a lack of oxygen, whereas coffee beans undergoing dry processing will be subject to a lack of water. These things along with temperature, coffee variety and equipment used all have a part to play in the outcome.
Some producers ferment their coffee for extended periods in controlled environments to develop the flavours as much as possible. This can lead to more intense floral and fruity flavours in the bean.
We hope this has been food for thought! If you love our coffee, let us know in the comments.
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