Coffee Masters London 2018 - Rob Clarijs x Ata x Beanspire phulae pineapple fermentation project
Coffee fermentation is commonly focused on the breaking down of mucilage which is mainly sugar and pectine. However, due to the fact that the coffee cherry is a stone-fruit, like walnut or avocado, the fruit and pit also contain quite a high amount of fats; lipids and proteins.
To look at the fermentation from a different angle, the process of the Pink Valley project is focussed on the proteins and lipids instead of the mucilage. By adding bromelian, an enzyme that breaks down these components very fast, we’ve been able to alter the timeline within the fermentation, starting by breaking down fats before the breaking down of mucilage.
A fun fact is that bromelain can be found in a high concentration in *dum rolls* pineapple.
By adding pineapple to the wet fermentation we did not only add bromelian to the equation of wet fermentation, but also adds more natural sugars, sucrose and fructose, to the process. Adding sugars will prolong the wet fermentation process, which can add complexity to the coffee and make the wet fermentation more controlled.
To make sure there was no over-fermentation in the wet proces a control batch was made that had no pineapple added to it. This way we could see, and feel, when the fermentation naturally would be done and we knew when to start drying both the Pink Valley project and the control batch without the chance of over-fermenting the proces.
After 50 hours of wet fermentation and 25 days of drying on raised beds the fully washed parchment reached around 9-10% moisture content. After hulling the beans will reach an optimal moisture content of 10-11%, ready to be roasted.
The reason why we applied this proces using a Thai coffee instead of a balanced Colombia or a phenomenal Panama Gesha, is that I think we can make a bigger change in coffee with a competition like Coffee Masters. There are some countries like Thailand, Indonesia or Congo, that have amazing coffees but only so little gets exported and appreciated worldwide. There’s so much potential to increase the quality of coffee on a worldwide scale, something we, at the top of the specialty coffee pyramid, should all want. Showcasing this potential with a personal project on the farm I hope to also show that the podium that Coffee Masters gives you can change the look on a country and its coffee quality and potential, while also inspiring other farmers in these regions to enhance the quality of their product. Not the countries that are already in the highest ranking, but underdogs that can stand out next to any other famous coffee producing country.
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