How coffee fermentation happens?

The term fermentation has been known for many centuries. The fermentation takes place in breads, milk, wines and also coffee!

Although it is only recently being explored, it has always happened in crops. What changed from ancient times to this day is that this process is being implemented in a purposeful and controlled manner.

The importance of fermentation

Fermentation has the power to add sensory characteristics and modify the flavor of the grain.

This whole process needs control and study, so that it happens in a beneficial way. If the result is positive ,the improvement in quality is surprising and valued.

How it happens

The coffee cherry is composed of sugars and acids, which are used as food for microorganisms such as bacteria and yeasts that metabolize and result in the breakdown of these components into acids and alcohols.
This process is called fermentation, we can say that most coffee fruits go through this transformation that begins in the field and ends in the drying process.


Controlled fermentation

Has the power to add body, sweetness, acidity, floral and fruity notes in the drink  that will depend on the microorganisms that are already present in the plant’s microbiota and how they will be handled. In addition, it is very important that the beans have sensory characteristic presented and that it is a healthy grain with high presence of microorganisms, because this process will only be able to bring out aspects that already exist in the grains. It is crucial to know your coffee plantation and plots.

The good result will depend on several factors such as :  the Knowledge of the plots, the quality of cherry coffee, the cleaning and organization, the presence or not of oxygen( aerobic or anaerobic fermentation), the control of time and temperature, and the consistency in the process to succeed in the next fermentations.

Aerobic fermentation

With oxygen present, this process increases the amount of microorganisms (they need oxygen to multiply) because of that this type of fermentation is difficult to predict and to control.

Anaerobic fermentation

Without the presence of oxygen, the microorganisms  present in the coffee will feed on sugars and acids more homogenously, being easier to control the result.

Care with coffee fermentation

You have to take care, because the lack of consistency and studies can lead to unwanted fermentation. Microorganisms fermented for a long period of time can cause a crumbling appearance and an unpleasant taste in coffee. For this reason you must know the process very well and control it as much as possible.

We know that the bean itself has all the necessary components for fermentation to occur, the richer your plant’s microbiota, the more your coffee will ferment.

The process must be consciously induced, without introducing external and stimulating materials. The market increasingly seeks healthy and sustainable coffees.

There still a lot to study and discover about fermentation, but it is time to lose your fear and try, as this process can be a way to produce exceptional and profitable coffees.

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