Coffee Processing Chats

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#1: Post by aidabatlle »

I am a 5th generation coffee producer from El Salvador and was wondering what are everyone's thoughts on roasting different coffee processes. What is your favorite style? Do you enjoy the modern innovative processes? Do you treat different processes differently when brewing or roasting? What things do you love to try?

My focus has always been in offering different innovative processes of the highest quality that I can so that the different flavors/attributes can be highlighted. So, I want to start a bit of a discussion, both to help me understand what the "end user" is getting out of my coffee, but also to help you all answer any burning questions you may have. I only get to roast samples, so this would be fascinating for me!
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#2: Post by Chert »

This turns out to be a really big topic, doesn't it? For me as a hobbyist roaster, I can answer pretty quickly because I don't know that much.

No longer is coffee processed just washed, natural, pulped natural or monsooned but there are multiple different processes that I can't very well confidently describe or even name. So you have helped me find something to look into a bit. And some roasters go on to store beans in whiskey barrels for that type of innovation.

What is my favorite style? I don't like what I've had in the barrel storage arena, but otherwise I am interested in any processing style. This year natural processed coffee are making me quite pleased with espresso and cappuccino, mostly blended. I think that some natural processed retains a pleasing winey or whiskey barrel character but the barrel storage method introduces it to a degree I don't like.
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#3: Post by aidabatlle (original poster) »

So many processes out there! I love geeking out on the processing side. I offer Kenya style, Ethiopian style, Burundi style, Cascara tea and many others. Have found that we've had to geek out just as much when sample roasting because of all the different sugars and attributes that are developed. Have had roasters sometimes forget about this and love the discussions. Which is why I wanted to reach out and see what you all thought.

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#4: Post by Chert »

Are those various types of washed and natural processses unique to those countries?

Is pulped natural and honey the same?

What kind of feedback have you had when you've processed the same coffee in different ways?
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#5: Post by Jeff »

This seems to be an area where the coffee trade and roasters could do a lot more to educate and create market demand.

Sometimes, or even often, the end consumer doesn't know the processing even if they have a preference. Creating an awareness that there is a difference and why one would want one over another seems to help all along the chain. "Natural" certainly has some market appeal due to its connotations of being more healthy. "Honey" is a convenient word in English with its associations with sweetness. Yet some coffees, for me, washed has what I'm looking for in my cup.

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#6: Post by yakster »

I have to admit that I haven't tried many green coffees using more modern processing methods. I'm mostly buying natural and washed coffees with some honey processed and some wet hulled. I have followed some coffee producers on social media and in other media sources and am interested in hearing about the effects of more modern processing, especially the fermentation of coffees with different strains to bring out different results.

I believe that I once saw a menu or order form for coffee processing, I believe from Finca Kilimanjaro and was surprised at all the different options, but I couldn't find it when I did a web search so perhaps it was on Instagram or in Roast Magazine.

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#7: Post by Familiar_Mood »

aidabatlle wrote:So many processes out there! I love geeking out on the processing side. I offer Kenya style, Ethiopian style, Burundi style, Cascara tea and many others. Have found that we've had to geek out just as much when sample roasting because of all the different sugars and attributes that are developed. Have had roasters sometimes forget about this and love the discussions. Which is why I wanted to reach out and see what you all thought.
I have to admit I am pretty new at the home roasting gig so I do not have a hell of a lot of experience to draw on. I have a janky corretto set up. I really like washed coffee normally and find it nice and easy to roast but I have tried a few others I have liked pretty well.

I would love to know more about the processing you mention here? Do you find any of these to be more "naturally" or more "washed". I am guessing they are you replicating the methods they do in Africa on your coffee? I would love to try them, is there anyone out there selling your green in little amounts we can try? I have not played around much with anything other than washed, natural and a little honey.

Sorry for the tonne of questions but thanks for the opportunity to ask anyway! :lol:


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#8: Post by aidabatlle (original poster) »

One of my favorite things to do is cup all the different processes from one farm all together. And I love it when I cup with others that don't know and think we are actually cupping different farms. So many attributes that are all ready present in the coffee are highlighted by processing. I think sometimes it might be intimidating for some people to offer them all together. I have had roasters do it to educated not only their staff but also the consumers. This coming harvest I want to offer 1lbs samples available to smaller hobbyists. But I do have Finca Kilimanjaro Washed available in 1lbs vac sealed bags now.

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#9: Post by platinumlotus »

Hi Aida. It is great to see you here. I personally love washed coffee, because I want to taste the terroir, but I'd love to drink some modern trendy-style processing once in a while, because they bring out so many exciting flavors that previously I didn't think that coffee could have. For washed I typically brew with higher temperature vs. natural/new processing methods like "anaerobic".

I have some questions:
1. What is your main focus on your farm right now? Something like new processing method or planting better varieties or working on your soil biology?
2. What's the reason for soaking the coffee twice in Kenya-style processing? Kenya coffee is known for its high acidity and blackberry/blackcurrant flavor, does part of the acidity come from the processing?
3. I usually see flavors of dark fruits like plum/berries and citric, yellow tropical fruits like apricot/pineapple in "anaerobic" processed coffee. What's the reason behind this, scientifically?

Sorry for the wall of text! I have known about you for so long and there are a lot of things I want to ask a reowned producer like you :D

aidabatlle (original poster)

#10: Post by aidabatlle (original poster) » replying to platinumlotus »

Hi there.

1. My main focus on our farms right now is keeping everyone safe and healthy! We will start harvesting early next year so we are making the final touches. I have a few new processing experiments we will try as well.

2. So my understanding is that Kenyan coffee is known for its unique phosphorus acidity specifically Scott Labs bred it there on purpose. Phosphoric acid is not actually acidic in flavor but it makes you perceive sparkling acidity - think about the brightness of a Coke. Here's an interesting read... ... _of_fruits

3. Anaerobic fermentation (I prefer to call it fermentation with reduced oxygen because it is very hard to get a completely oxygen free environment for most producers) is slowing the activity of yeast and bacteria and causing a exothermic reaction - Yeast are alive + Sugar- Booze, bubbles, heat BUT in a oxygen free environment that changes a bit. Reduced oxygen encourages the formation of lactic acids (you find that in fermented foods like sourdough bread, kimchee, etc) instead of alcohol (because we are repressing the activity of oxygen loving yeasts). Essentially we are trying to suppress the action of yeasts in the ferment which tend to create overly fruity, alcoholic notes, while encouraging the bacteria that create sweet-tart lactic acids. BUT it is an exothermic reaction and this is where if left uncontrolled (on time and temp) you get the really acetic (vinegary) flavors, extreme ferment, and different types of unpleasant acidic flavors.

Love all of this interaction!
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