White Paper: 2016 Belgravia Fermentation Experiment Result

Diverse scientific studies from several authors have shown that fermentation in washed coffee is  a key factor for flavor development and, along with terroir and genetics, are perhaps the three factors that most influence the way that a washed coffee tastes after roasted. In washed coffee, fermentation of the fruit (mucilage) is conducted mainly for the easy removal of mucilage from the parchment when put in contact with water and agitation, stopping the fermentation process and preventing any alcohols to be produced in the seed inside the parchment. How and for how long a producer ferments coffee can affect the final cup quality – sometimes positively but sometimes negatively. Unfortunately, how fermentation plays a part in flavor development is something that has not been sufficiently studied.

White Paper: 2016 Belgravia Fermentation Experiment Result

Diverse scientific studies from several authors have shown that fermentation in washed coffee is  a key factor for flavor development and, along with terroir and genetics, are perhaps the three factors that most influence the way that a washed coffee tastes after roasted. In washed coffee, fermentation of the fruit (mucilage) is conducted mainly for the easy removal of mucilage from the parchment when put in contact with water and agitation, stopping the fermentation process and preventing any alcohols to be produced in the seed inside the parchment. How and for how long a producer ferments coffee can affect the final cup quality – sometimes positively but sometimes negatively. Unfortunately, how fermentation plays a part in flavor development is something that has not been sufficiently studied.

11 Minute read

  

By Alejandro Cadena

Caravela Coffee CEO

In 2016 we  set out to experiment with different  fermentation techniques  to better understand the effects that different  methods might  have on coffee quality and flavor development using samples processed at Belgravia, our own innovation farm, which is located at 1910 masl in Popayan, Cauca (Colombia). The Caravela team at Belgravia harvested two distinct coffee varieties planted at the farm and experimented with three different fermentation techniques: dry, wet and covered fermentation. The varieties were Bourbon and Colombia, each offering a different “genetic  profile” but both  grown at the same altitude, soil and microclimate.

To analyze the results of the different methods, seven blind  cupping sessions  were then held in August and September 2016 in 7 different cities and 3 countries with customers and intrigued coffee professionals using standard roasting and cupping procedures.  All samples were scored blind and participants were asked to score each coffee and provide flavor descriptions of each sample.  Quantitative and qualitative results were statistically analyzed to determine which fermentation technique was best for cup quality.

 

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