Influence of fermentation time on pH levels, processing ratios, and overall cup quality

In December, we ran a trial to analyze the influence of different fermentation times on multiple aspects of quality, (pH, weight, and cup score). Using a single batch of coffee from Finca Ayutepeque (1,100 meters above sea level), we created five samples, which we introduced to different fermentation times.

  • Five samples were drawn from a single batch of coffee. 
  • Each sample taken had a weight of four pounds. 
  • Samples were drawn as wet, unwashed parchment individually from the machinery at Beneficio El Manzano, within processing, at the stage where the coffee would traditionally be collected in the fermentation tank. 
  • The samples were fermented within the same conditions, in 10 gallon plastic tubs, under cover; and each dried on individual raised beds, custom build to hold five pound samples.
  • Samples were cupped on the same day, in a single lab, and on a 100 point scale, with conditions for the cupping corresponding to the rubric given by the SCAA. 
  • Results were recorded in three stages; over the course of the fermentation, at the end of drying, and after roasting and cupping. 

Results are shown in the table below:

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Observations: 

  • The longer the ferment time, the higher the development of acidity (pH) in the water of the ferment tanks, where the beans were soaking. 
  • The longer the ferment time the larger the average reduction in weight from wet parchment to raw green coffee. 
  • Highest cup scores were recorded by the two samples with the lowest ferment time.

Continuing Research: 

We plan to continue cupping the samples at month intervals, in order to determine if the varying times of the fermentation, influence the cup quality of the coffee over a longer period of time.

Harvesting the Varieties: Year Three - Yellow & Red Bourbon, Pacamara (Full Wash & Pulp Natural)

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For the third year running, we are beginning to harvest and process three varieties of coffee from the same lot, side by side: Yellow Bourbon, Red Bourbon, and Pacamara, all picked form the same lot, El Palmero.

By the afternoon, we had collected an even six sacs of Pacamara, seven of the Yellow Bourbon, and seven of the Red Bourbon.

Delivered to the mill side by side, we loaded each seperately into the hopper and processed both the Pacamara and Yellow Bourbon, via the pulp-natural method, while machine mashing the red bourbon with the rest of the batch that had been gathered for the day from the other half of Lot #1.

An exciting part of the experiment this year, will be the capacity to full wash a larger quantity of the varieties. Using our sample ferment tanks, we were able to gather roughly 30 pounds of wet parchment from each of the varieties; which we allowed to ferment over the course of the evening; washing them the following afternoon (20 hour ferment), and spreading them out to dry on the raised beds.

Already noting how well the Red and Yellow Bourbon have been performing on the cupping table, we're excited to get our first perspective on this years Pacamara, which changes dramatically every year since the trees are still so young, with only 6 years of growth.

Planted just six years ago, the coffees from Lot El Palmero seem to get better and better every year. Our hope is to cup them the Saturday before Christmas, alongside the other varieties.

For the experiment, we'll finish by analyzing six total samples:

1). Pacamara Full Wash

2). Pacamara Pulp Natural

3). Yellow Bourbon Full Wash

4). Yellow Bourbon Pulp Natural

5). Red Bourbon Machine Wash

6). Red Bourbon Full Wash

If all goes according to plan, Santa Claus should arrive earlier than expected to El Manzano; delivering one of the most vibrant cuppings of the harvest.

Second picking of the Santa Rosa Acaia

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If one hasn't noticed from our consistently updated photos, blogs, and cupping notes; we'll say it again: we are excited about the Ayutepeque Santa Rosa Acaia. 

Santa Rosa is 12,000 tree, sun grown lot in Finca Ayutepeque, that we picked for the second time this harvest, just this passed Monday. At the end of the day, 66 sacs of cherry had been collected, which we processed via the washed method that night, and now sun dries on the patio. 

We will likely make one more pass on the trees to pick any cherries that have still yet to ripen, however, likely made our biggest pass this week; which we are excited to showcase to folks visiting our cupping lab at the mill; since it is still in its early development, as a brand new variety in El Salvador. 

Updates to come; however we hope you enjoy some photos from Monday's picking and processing. 

Cupping the first batch of natural process, and more to come

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Today the patios were streaks of red, orange, and yellow, as they were filled from one corner to the next with three different process methods, the pulp natural from Ayutepeque nearing its final day of drying, washed coffees from Fincas San Antonio and Valle de Oro, and the fresh naturals from last night: both arriving from Ayutepeque, but seperated by variety: bourbon and acaia. 

As long as we have the right weather and sufficient patio space, our intention is to continue processing much of the HG coffee, arriving from Finca Ayutepeque, naturally; as the results have been fantastic. 

Today we had the opportunity to cup the first batch of natural processed coffee coming off the patios. The farms were Ayutepeque and El Manzano, and the cup profile showed a clean blueberry on the aroma, with watermelon and strawberries to the finish.