I’m in awe of how these two Colombian coffees have been received by the Sow community. Hearing the positive feedback on the amazing work behind Padre Coffee’s Good Coffee Doing Good initiative has driven us to keep spotlighting producer Auricel Conde. Teaming up with Colombian coffee producers and exporters Cofinet, Padre Coffee is raising funds to construct a new fermentation tank for Finca La Primavera. Cofinet will then donate time and labour towards its construction. It is amazing to see the community effort being poured in from every direction.
In Bessie’s previous journal feature, we discovered how the Good Coffee Doing Good initiative was born, and introduced the coffee producer behind these amazing coffees, Auricel Conde. A big 2021 goal for Sow Coffee Project is to feature more amazing humans sharing their experiences and passions, so it was particularly special for me to have Bessie write that feature.
For this piece, I wanted to explore and explain the importance of what we call ‘processing’. From the moment it is picked, coffee goes through a journey to become the product that is packed into GrainPro plastic bags, zip tied and placed in hessian sacks before being loaded into a shipping container for export. These processes - referred to collectively as ‘processing’ - are far from simple. Processing is an art form, that requires a lot of labour, time management skills and knowledge to get right.
It’s actually quite rare to be able to taste two coffees grown by the same producer, of the same varietal at the same farm, yet processed using two different methods. This is another very special aspect of this offering.
I’ll focus on explaining honey process and washed process as these are the two processes used by Auricel to produce these two coffees.
I’m a big lover of honey processed coffees and their bold flavours! The coffee is picked by hand when the cherries are at their ripest - bright red, deep maroon, yellow and orange depending on the varietal of coffee. Within 24 hours of picking, the fruit is stripped of its skin and part of its mucilage - or flesh - and left to dry for anywhere from 18 to 25 days, depending on the weather conditions.
Fermentation starts as soon as the coffee is picked and this speeds up during the drying period when the mucilage which is still in contact with the parchment that houses the beans is exposed to the elements. This fermentation will continue as long as there is fuel available to the microorganisms (eg. sugar, moisture, acids, etc).
Finally, when the coffee seeds reach a moisture content of around 11%, they are removed from the drying patios or raised beds and warehoused. The parchment is hulled before exporting the final product.
Honey processed coffee can vary in flavour depending on the types of honey - yellow, red and black. Generally, these coffees boast jammy sweetness: think plum jam, poached peaches or berry compote. They also tend to have a rich brown sugar caramel finish. Delicious!
The initial stages of processing washed coffee are similar to that in honey processing. The coffees are hand picked when they are at their ripest, stripped of their skin and mucilage by a depulping machine. Depulping usually happens as soon as possible for the washed process - usually within a few hours of harvesting. After depulping there’s still a layer of mucilage left on the beans.
This coffee is then transferred to a fermentation tank, and could be left there for up to 24 hours to allow for a timely controlled fermentation. For washed coffees, this short fermentation process is important as it aids in the next step of the processing - the washing.
When the farmer is satisfied with the level of stickiness of the coffee, the farmer will then submerge the coffee (in the fermentation tank) with fresh water and begin the task of washing the coffee by removing the mucilage that’s left on the parchment housing the bean. This is typically done with large wooden paddles, depending on the origin. This washing and draining of water can occur multiple times until the farmer is satisfied with the cleanliness of the parchment.
Once the washing is done, the parchment-covered beans are then transported to drying patios or raised beds to start the controlled drying process. The beans are usually raked down to a fine layer and will be turned multiple times throughout the entire drying process, ensuring it dries evenly. This could take up to 14 days, depending on the weather. Like the honey processed coffee, when the internal moisture level reaches roughly around 11%, the coffee will be removed from the patio or raised bed and warehoused. The parchment is then hulled before exporting the final product.
The flavour of washed coffees is often clean and sweet with crisp acidity, a wide variety of fruit flavours and subtle floral features. Washed coffees are complex, sweet and delicate!
Both of these coffees are so delicious, but each showcases different qualities of the coffee. Knowing a little bit more about fermentation and processing is super important for understanding the improvements we’re hoping to help Auricel make on his farm through the Good Coffee Doing Good initiative. We’re excited to be a part of the process and can’t wait to share more about this story.
SOW COFFEE PROJECT – AURICEL CONDE, COLOMBIA FILTER RECIPE
Sweet Cherry, Toffee Apple, Brown Sugar with a Cacao finish.
I developed this tasty filter recipe a couple months ago with Auricel’s washed filter roast, and it’s still as juicy as the first time I tried it. As I mentioned before, I’m generally a big fan of honey processed coffee, and at first I found this washed coffee harder to dial-in than its sister bean. However when I got it right, it tasted stunning with such clean and crisp flavours that it left me hanging for more. I’m grinning as I write this, recalling that winning brew.
By the time I started brewing the washed coffee, it had three weeks’ age. Grinding this coffee gave a preview of what was to come: the hint of stone fruit – just enough to tease the senses - and fresh cherry peaking around the corner, about to burst into intense sweetness in the cup.
Sometimes it’s easier picking up the fragrances while brewing the coffee, over the dry aroma, and personally, that’s when the coffee piqued more of my interest. Aromas of melting brown sugar and warm orange had me wondering where that cheeky cherry went, but - let’s not jump the gun Charlie - at this point, we still had to taste the coffee.
With the first sip, that cherry sweetness finally made its way back to focus, bringing with it a soft tartness that complemented the overall cup. This was followed by fresh toffee apple: crispy, sour green apple warmly coated in sweet, thick toffee syrup. Wow. But it doesn’t stop there; we’re only half way through!
That juicy warm orange makes its way back with a sweet citrus acidity and this transitions to a smooth cocoa finish. The flavour from start to finish is an experience, as each note complements each other to bring amazing flavour and balance from the first sip to the last.
So, you’ve got a bag of this delicious coffee in your hand and you’re keen to get started? I created this filter recipe on a Kinto "Slow Coffee Style" pour over with a matching server, Fellow Stagg kettle for temperature control and a Acaia Pearl scale to help achieve a consistent coffee dose and target brew time.
1 Cup Pour Over Filter Recipe
Dose – 14 g
Yield – 200 g
Time – 2:00 min
Ratio - 1:14
Temp - 99 degrees
Bloom - 30g, 45 seconds
Brewing Suggestion: As much as I know you'd like to jump straight in, I would recommend aging the coffee for a minimum of 7 days. I've found that after the 12th day, this coffee is at its peak, offering extremely high levels of juice that may just give you superpowers haha!
Fold-down the inside seam of the filter paper with your fingers, then place the filter paper inside the Kinto pour over cone. You want it sitting snug along the sides, which is pretty easy to achieve with these filters.
Place the pour over on top of your server and rinse the paper filter with hot water. I usually hold one side down, from the inside, to keep it in place. Once you start rinsing the filter, it should stick towards the sides. This will clean any papery taste from the filter and heat the server at the same time!
Discard the water from the server, then place it on top of your scale and tare it.
Add the ground coffee to your pourover, giving it a gentle shake to level the grounds. Sit it on top of the server and tare the scale once again. Now you're ready to rock and roll!
Start your timer, then pour 30 grams of water onto your bed of coffee, ensuring all the dry grounds are completely saturated. You can achieve this by either spinning the saturated grounds in a circular motion or using a bamboo paddle to achieve the same effect. Be careful not to over agitate; remember we only want to saturate the dry coffee. This part of the process is called the "bloom", and it prepares your coffee for the rest of the brewing process.
In slow and circular motions, pour 120g of water gradually until you reach the one-minute fifteen-second mark, concentrating your pour on the middle of the coffee bed.
In a slow circular motion, pour another 50 of water until you reach a total weight of 200g.
Once the flow reduces to a drip, remove and discard the filter/ used coffee grounds. Swirl your coffee around in the carafe and smell the warm melting pot of brown sugar 🤤
Shred your filter paper and pop your used coffee grounds in the worm farm or compost bin. Every small action towards sustainability counts!
If you find your extraction time is noticeably long, it's a good indication that your grind size is too fine. If your extraction time is quick, it's a good indication your grind size is too coarse. Make these adjustments with your next brew.
Swirl it, smell it, pour it, enjoy it! 👌🏽
Special thanks to both Cofinet for helping capture these amazing origin images, and Padre Coffee for the amazing Good Coffee Doing Good program. It's awesome to be contributing to such an impactful initiative.
If you haven’t read the first Good Coffee Doing Good - Finca La Primavera feature by Bessie Marks and would like to follow up, hit this link. Unfortunately, the honey process coffee has sold out. Shop the stunning washed coffee by simply clicking on the first image, available in espresso and filter roast options. Thanks to everyone who has already shown their support - it’s been great sharing this experience with you all.