When you hear the name Wilton Benitez you know you’re in for a crazy sensory coffee experience. This is our 3rd year with coffees from Wilton and his processing facility Granja Paraiso 92. This particular Java lot is from Finca La Macarena owned by Oscar Riascos, then processed at Granja Paraiso 92 using the sophisticated processes that Wilton’s coffees have become synonymous with. Macarena is one of five farms within the Varietales Finos SAS group.
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 Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. diastatucus), and the third is the technology used for soaking the beans with hot then cold water (thermal shock).
A quick search on this particular yeast yielded this: "Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. diastaticus is described as a super-attenuating yeast due to its ability to ferment residual carbohydrates in beer (dextrins and soluble starch), which are not normally metabolised by pure culture yeast strains."
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.
Here are some specifics of the various processes used for this particular lot
1. Manual harvest.
2. Characterisation of the cherry.
3. Classification of the cherry by density and size.
4. Sterilisation of the cherry (with UV and Ozone).
5. Immersion of the cherries in water at 90C for 30 seconds.
6. Cherry pulping.
7. Fermentation begins in anaerobic bioreactors.
8. During fermentation, addition of specific yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. diastatucus) to enhance fruity notes.
9. Verification of pH and Brix (pH=5.5 & Brix=18).
10. Fermentation for 52 hours.
11. Washing of the coffee with water at 75C.
12. Drying of the grain with controlled equipment for 48 hours at 38C.