On my journey to Panama, Guatemala, El Salvador I have discovered the farms pay more attention to the processing of the coffee berries.
When I started to visit coffeefarms in 2008, making experiments with different processing methods and among others using Brix to document the sugar content in the coffee berry. The new/wave approach from the farmer has changes tremendously since then.
On this coffee trip I have realized this has become a common tool to use among farmers measuring the development of the cherry. Its fantastic to see how the development has improved the past years.
Whereas the old method using a stick to define when the fermentation has ended by dipping this into the fermentet greens – doesn’t comply with a consistant quality.
My last stop on my coffee trip was in Costa Rica. And they have understood to grasp the development and the future of the coffee, by experimenting with different processing methods and experimenting with different cross of varieties. The process is a very pivot point on their survival, because the have discovered quality is not an issue – its a must.
The honey process and natural processing among others is very popular in Costa Rica.
Harvesting the coffee is one thing. Picking the ripe red cherries with the measured Brix content making sure that no over/under riped (green or mature) coffee cherries is getting mixed with each other.
Processing it afterwards has now become the coffee “neurs” wine matching pivot point of bringing out the best attributes in coffee.
Each producing country has its own way – and they need too because the TERROIR is different from country to country.
When the coffee skin is removed – it leaves back the MUCILAGE/fruitslime. Mucilage in plants plays a role in the storage of WATER and FOOD, seed GERMINATION, and thickening membranes, that protects the seed inside.
In Coffee it contributes to the complexity “the fruitiness and sweetness of the coffee”.
The process can be divided into two steps.
1. Pealing of the coffee skin with water
2. Pealing of the coffee skin without water
Pealing of the coffee skin with water will remove some of the mucilage – and results in a less bodied coffee and is often more mild which doesn’t overshadow the exotic/fruity notes. In Costa Rica, water melon and papaya will be more present in the cup.
Pealing of the coffee skin without water contributes to a greater body in coffee – and results in a smooth, velvety mouthfeel with a longer aftertaste. Hence molasses, moscovado, brown sugar “ish” coffee.
Each farm has its own mixed method and different development time on the drying beed/patios. And each of these with represent different flavors in the cup. Which we experienced on you cupping journey at Coffee institute in Costa Rica.