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Colombia Coffee Beans - thermal shock washed coffee

Colombia Coffee Beans - thermal shock washed coffee

There is no doubt that Colombia has become one of our favourite producing countries. We love the diversity on offer, range of processing styles and recent focus on scientific and experimental processing methods. Most of the amazing coffees we buy from Colombia come from very small farms covering ten hectares and are typically bright, juicy washed coffees. Over the last year we have been very fortunate to have had access to some amazing Colombian coffee beans from producers that have implemented experiemental processing methods.

One of these is a thermal shock washed coffee from a farm owned and manged by Diego Samual Bermudez. Diego works on the farm located near to El Tambo in the Cauca region and lives on the farm with his wife, two daughters and his two brothers. 

Farm Overview:

The farm covers 27 hectares at 1700masl and is planted with several varietals that include Castillo, Colombia, Caturra and Geisha. They focus on very careful tree care and maintenance allowing them to produce a variety of coffees using varietal seperation and different post harvest processing methods.

Colombia Villa Esperanza Coffee Farm

Harvesting:

Coffee was hand harvested to ensure only perfectly ripe cherry from the Castillo tree varietal. Diego has completed the CQI level 2 processing certificate, a course that provides training and the experience to science as a base for post harvest coffee processing. Bradley has completed the CQI level 1 processing course and was hoping to be able to do level 2 this year but sadly that doesn't seem possible due to Covid-19. 

Colombia coffee beans on trees


Thermal shock washed method:

This is an unusual post harvest processing method that we have not encountered before and involves using water at specific temperatures. It is a multi stage process:

  • Coffee was left to rest in bags for 24 hrs at a temperature of 19 degrees C.
  • Coffee was then pulped to remove the outer fruit layer and fermented in water at a temperature of 24 degrees C for 36 hrs.
  • Coffee was washed with water at a temp of 40 degrees C 
  • Coffee was cooled by washing with water at 12 degrees C. 

Once complete the coffee was dried in a mechanical drier at a stable temperature of 32 degrees until it reached a moisture content of 11%.

Mechanical drying experimentation has become more popular recently as the temperature can be controlled very carefully. While drying on raised tables is often believed to yield the best results this might not always be the case as the coffee can get very hot during the day and quite cold at night. Drying at a stable, even temperature helps producers to maintain full control over the drying process. 

What was particularly interesting about this processing method is that the coffee scored an incredible 88-89 points (as graded by Bradley, licensed Q grader and the lab Q graders at Falcon Coffees). Although Colombian coffee beans are know for their high scores it's only the very best varietals, harvesting and processing that can achieve these results.

In this case it was the Castillo varietal that was selected for processing and this varietal is not know to achieve such high cup score. However, this is proof that very selective harvesting and controlled post harvest processing can have some outstanding results.

We hope to have more amazing Colombia coffee beans like this in the future!

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