Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Anaerobic Processing: New Flavors, New Cupping through the Art of Innvoation


While Ethiopia is famous as coffee’s birthplace, today the coffees from Ethiopia remain heirloom quality coffee with incredible variety of flavors. Ethiopia’s long coffee history predates written records. Arabica plants are native to Ethiopia, and many of the Arabica varieties now cultivated worldwide have their genetic roots in wild coffee growing in Ethiopian forests. With such easy access to wild-growing coffee, it is undoubted that early people in Ethiopia consumed coffee for centuries before it became the global beverage that it is today.

The exceptional quality of Ethiopian coffee is due to a combination of factors. Farming methods in the region remain largely traditional. Yirgacheffe farmers typically inter-crop their coffee plants with other food crops. This method is common among smallholders because it maximizes land use and provides food for their families. In addition to remaining traditionally inter-cropped, most farms are also organic-by-default. Farmers in Yirgacheffe typically use very few—if any—fertilizers or pesticides. Most farm work is done manually by the immediate family. 

Most producers in Ethiopia are smallholders, and the majority continue to cultivate coffee using traditional methods. As a result, most coffee is grown with no chemical fertilizer or pesticide use. Coffee is almost entirely cultivated, harvested and dried using manual systems.

Today, as more producers and washing stations enter specialty coffee, unique processing methods are a new way to stand out among the increasing number of sellers. One of those newer processing methods is anaerobic fermentation. 

Anaerobic fermentation occurs in sealed containers. The seal means the microbes fueling fermentation quickly consume all the oxygen in the container. At that point, the environment becomes anaerobic (without oxygen) and, in this new environment, the microbes that typically breath oxygen have a harder time surviving and those that flourish on carbon dioxide (the typical byproduct of oxygen-breathing microbes) are able dominate fermentation.  

Microbes are immensely diverse and have the potential to produce a wide array of flavors in coffees. Aerobic (oxygen-breathing) microbes produce different flavor outcomes than anaerobic ones, so we have the potential to produce immensely different flavors simply by changing the available resources for microbes. Aside from yielding new, unexpected flavors, the anaerobic process provides a high level of control of the sugars, temperature, pressure, pH and time. the flavor of the coffee fruit is concentrated in the juice, not the seeds. Coffee cherries are the fruit of the shrub and the sugars are contained in the mucilage. The concentration of sugars and flavors depends on the variety, ripeness of the fruit, and type of soil among other factors.

The creamy texture of this coffee will get your attention immediately, along with its floral and cinnamon notes; it also has an excellent acidity. These complex notes relate directly back to the fermentation process...you will definitely taste the difference!

We are expecting all of our NEW 2019/2020 Ethiopian harvest imports by July 24, 2020 and are extremely excited to NOW be carrying Anaerobic Yirgacheffe in addition to our traditional, heirloom Ethiopian offerings. Something new coming in to our warehouse...exciting to try ONLY at rhoadsroast-coffees.com

Thanks for reading and enjoy the brews.

Sincerely,

The Coffees Teams @ RhoadsRoast Coffee & Importers


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