Colombia - Monteblanco - Washed Nectar Citrillus Co-Fermentation

Colombia - Monteblanco - Washed Nectar Citrillus Co-Fermentation

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Origin: Colombia
Region: 
Huila
Farm & Farmer: Monteblanco, Rodrigo Sanchez
Elevation:
1730 MASL
Processing Facility: Aromas Del Sur Dry Mill
Varietal: Purple Caturra
Processing Method:
Washed Co-Fermentation with Watermelon
Tasting Notes:
Creamy, Watermelon, Orange Zest

Rodrigo Sanchez is a fourth generation farmer overseeing multiple farms in Huila, Colombia, working to keep coffee growing traditions alive while innovating new processing methods. Aromas Del Sur is the company he built to encompass all of his farms and, in 2019, Rodrigo and his wife Claudia Samboni built the Aroma Del Sur Dry Mill with the aim to process coffee for clients focused on high quality specialty beans using innovative processing and traceability, with zero defects. They use a wide range of processing methods at the Dry Mill including Washed, Honey, Natural, as well as the newer innovative fermentation processing methods.

Anaerobic Process is the use of controlled fermentation to manipulate the sugars and acids present in coffee cherries changing the flavor profile of the bean. All coffee goes through some form of fermentation (in the cherry after picking) but using a yeast mother mix, lactobacillus cultures, or other fruits (co-fermenting), producers can create a wide variety of flavor compounds. This processing method is constantly evolving as farmers experiment with new techniques (the original "fermentation" technique is the Natural Process) but usually the Anaerobic Processing starts with sealing the coffee cherry (still in its skin) inside large plastic barrels or Grain-Pro coffee bags full of liquid (or sometimes gasses), and each container has a one way valve so it can purge the oxygen as the coffee cherries release their own gas (CO2). The coffee is left in the oxygen free environment for anywhere from a few hours up to a week or longer. Once the fermentation is complete the cherries can be either de-pulped, washed, and dried (Washed Anaerobic), or it can be left to dry in the cherry before being sent through a dry mill (Natural Anaerobic).

This co-fermentation shows us an interesting approach to the method. First a mother mix (Liquid with "Good" bacteria) derived from the Purple Caturra coffee cherries is separated and fed with a combination of molasses and macerated watermelon juice (with some other melons). This initial fermentation of the mother mix attempts to match the degrees Brix and PH of the coffee that will be processed, taking approximately 190 hours. Once that is complete, the de-pulped coffee cherries are sealed (with the batch of mother mix) in a 200L tank for 150 hours, with Rodrigo's team regularly measuring the sugars (Brix) and PH. Once the fermentation process is complete the beans are dried in direct sunlight for 2-3 days, jumpstarting the drying process, and then moved under shade canopies for 15-18 days, drying to completion around 10% moisture content.