Colombia - Monteblanco - Washed Blueberry Co-Fermentation
Farm/Farmer: Rodrigo Sanchez
Farm Size & Elevation: Monteblanco, 1730 MASL
Processing Facility: Aromas Del Sur Dry Mill
Varietal: Purple Caturra
Processing Method: Washed Co-Fermentation with Blueberry
Tasting Notes: Cotton Candy, Blue Raspberry Candy, Vanilla
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 (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), 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. 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).
We picked this Washed Blueberry Co-Fermentation because of it wild sweetness and complexity. The balance of sweetness is brought out by the funky fermentation but gets rounded out by de-pulping and washing the coffee before the fermentation. The use of blueberry in the tank gives the mother mix additional sugars to feed on, breaking them down, contributing to the liquid surrounding the coffee cherries, and changing the sugars contained within the coffee seed. On our cupping table we picked out notes of Cotton Candy, Blue Raspberry Hard Candy, and Vanilla.