This is our 3rd coffee from Wilton Benitez and his farm Granja Paraiso 92. We met Wilton at this years World of Coffee in Milan and his energy and passion were infectious. Someone clearly who loves what he is doing and loves coffee.
This coffee was purchased as an auction lot from the ‘Best of Cauca - Feria Mundial Del Cafe’ competition, where the top 24 coffees out of hundreds of entries were selected. We jumped at the chance of sharing this 60Kg nano-lot with one other roaster.
Wilton approaches his processing like a scientist. He has developed specific fermentation recipes for each of his coffees that vary in certain key metrics as well as the type of yeasts added to control fermentation flavour pathways.
Wilton says that his coffees unique taste comes from three main factors: the first is the double fermentation method, the second is the micro-organisms used at each stage (in this case the safAle BE-134 beer yeast), and the third is the technology used for soaking the beans with hot then cold water (thermal shock).
Another deliciously different coffee from Wilton Benitez.
To understand the complexities of modern processing Wilton studied the fermentation technologies used in wine, beer, cheese, and meat. With that understanding they began to control for certain variables similar to the processes for these other products. These metrics include the sugar content, pH level, fermentation duration, season, amongst others.
There is another important aspect of their operation, the drying method. They use a controlled drying process, which is done with equipment rather than natural drying in the sun. With this equipment, they are able to control and set programs that adjust temperature and drying speeds, so that the influence of the drying environment can be absorbed evenly by the beans. This helps guarantee that their products are consistently high quality.
I asked Wilton some specifics of the various processes used for this particular lot, and his response didn't disappoint:
1. Collection of 95% ripe cherries, 5% pintonas cherries (semi-ripe).
2. Wash the cherry with ozonated water and ultraviolet light to reduce the microbial load.
3. Selection of denser grains with granulometry greater than 11.2 millimeters.
5. starts the anaerobic fermentation for 52 hours in fermentation bioreactors with relief valve at a temperature of 18 degrees Celsius (addition of safAle BE-134 yeast) which produces fruity aromas, with a spicy character, oriented towards citrus flavors.
6. Washing with thermal shock (in order to transfer and fix the secondary aromas developed in the different phases of fermentation of the culture medium), First: Water at 40 degrees centigrade and Second: Water at 12 degrees centigrade.
7. Controlled drying for 48 hours, using equipment specialized in drying high quality coffee at a temperature of 35 degrees centigrade until the bean reaches 10.5% internal humidity.
10. Threshing, electronic and manual selection to achieve the required physical quality standard.
11. Analysis of physical and sensory validation for dispatch.
Looking up the influence of the particular yeast (safAle BE-134) has on flavour in its normal habitat (Beer) the similarities are clear to see. ie. "This typical brewer’s yeast strain is recommended for well-attenuated beers, produces fruity, floral and phenolic notes and a dry character. Produces highly refreshing beers, it is ideal for Belgian-Saison style."