This is our 2nd coffee from Wilton Benitez and his farm Granja Paraiso 92. Wilton is quickly becoming recognised as one of the new superstars of Colombian specialty. If sales of his Anaerobic Tabi was anything to go by this Pink Bourbon is going to fly. We were lucky enough to connect with Wilton and he sent us samples of his various varieties and processes directly. All the coffees were incredible and we selected two from the samples and then participated in the 'Best of Cauca' auction to purchase a third (which we're saving for last).
Wilton bought Granja El Paraíso-92 in 2015 and produces different varieties such as Java, Bourbon Pink, Geisha, Pacamara, Caturra, Tabi, Castillo, Supremo and Colombia. They use highly innovative cultivation systems such as terraces, drip irrigation, shade and nutrition calculations and a processing laboratory, all aimed at producing unique coffees.
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.
Wilton says that his coffees unique taste comes from three main factors: the first is the double fermentation method, the second is the microorganisms used at each stage, and the third is the technology used for soaking the beans with hot then cold water (thermal shock).
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 98% ripe cherries, 2% (semi-ripe) cherries.
2. Sanitise the cherries with ozonated water and ultraviolet light to reduce the microbial load.
2. Selection of the cherry by size and density to guarantee the final grading and to eliminate dry, green and overripe cherries. At this stage we also immerse the cherries in water at 70 degrees Celsius for 30 seconds.
4. After classifying the cherries, we proceed with the pulping of them.
5. After pulping, the fermentation of coffee with mucilage begins in anaerobic bioreactors, in which it is sanitised again with injection of ozonated water and subsequently the SafLager W-34/70 microorganisms are added. It is left to ferment for approximately 96 hours to bring the brix to 10 and pH to 3.8.
6. Six hours after the fermentation started, we check that the pH is at 6 and brix degrees of the mucilage 18 if these data are not correct, we adjust the pH by adding citric acid or bicarbonate and the brix degrees are adjusted with honey produced from concentrated mucilage from previous batches.
7. Subsequently, the drying begins at 35 degrees Celsius until the coffee reaches 11%.
8. The coffee is left to mature for 15 days in airtight bags before being analysed.
9. Threshing, electronic and manual selection to reach the required physical quality standard.
10. Quality validation by 6 tasters before being Vacuum packed and exported.
Looking up the influence of the particular yeast (SafLager W-34/70) has on flavour in its normal habitat (Beer) the similarities are clear to see. ie. "This famous brewer’s yeast strain from Weihenstephan in Germany is used world-wide within the brewing industry. SafLager™ W-34/70 allows the brewing of beers with a good balance of floral and fruity aromas and gives clean flavours and high drinkable beers."