We have another first for you this month! Vincent and the roasting team have found a compelling coffee for April's Roaster's Choice. What makes this one unique in the ACR line-up is that it's the only one we have had that has been anaerobically fermented. This is a relatively new process that has proven to yield some seriously beguiling flavors. We proudly introduce Tanzania Finagro Ascona Estate, Anaerobic.
Just south of Kenya and east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo rests the country of Tanzania. Located in the Karatu district, our newest Roaster's Choice is sourced from a farm whose 250 acres straddles the rim of the Ngorongoro crater, the largest unbroken caldera in the world. The Vohora family has owned the Finagro Ascona estate for three generations.
Recent renovations to their wet-mill and a dry mill facility have helped to ensure better quality control and lot traceability. With these renovations in place, they are able to incorporate some coffee processing innovations that are starting to gain momentum in the coffee biz. One such innovation is referred to as anaerobic fermentation.
Anaerobic Fermenting Coffee- Photo source: Perfect Daily Grind
Using fermentation as a means to alter the taste of food or drink is a technique utilized by humans for thousands of years. Basically, microbes digest natural sugars present thereby altering the taste of the final product. Wine is just one delicious example of how dramatically fermentation can alter flavors. Coffee is no exception.
While all coffee goes through varying degrees of natural fermentation during the process from cherry to dry beans, anaerobic fermentation is a closely controlled, often extended fermentation.
Chris Kornman of Daily Coffee News explains,
"Coffee (...) is placed in an airtight tank, often stainless steel, with a valve to allow for off-gassing. This style of fermentation may extend the traditional timeframe of 12-36 hours by hours or even days in some cases. The types of microbes able to survive and actively participate in fermentation is limited by the lack of oxygen, (...) and will likely substantially alter the end flavor profile. (...) The flavor tends to be singular, highly expressive and uncommon."
Very interesting, no? But wait, there's more! The Vohora family utilizes carbonic maceration in their fermentation process, meaning that none of the coffee cherry is stripped from the beans upon introduction to the fermenting tanks. Microbes that thrive in this anaerobic (without oxygen) environment get to gorge themselves on the entire coffee cherry, which can take weeks. After the desired level of fermentation is reached, the product is pulped and spread on drying tables immediately to complete the process.
This new Tanzanian offering is a coffee geek's dream, but you don't have to be one to relish the alluring aroma and flavor. Get yours while you can!
Light-Medium body with moderate acidity and a clean finish
Notes of Jasmine tea, plum, and grapefruit zest
Ethiopian varietal, grown in volcanic loam
Grown at 1700 masl