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Brazil's Farmers Apply Colombian Specialty Production Techniques.

Colombia's year-round harvest spurs infrastructural adaptations of interest to Brazilian producers. Winners of the Minas Gerais cup quality competition, hosted by agricultural extension organization EMATER-MG of Minas Gerais, Brazil, travelled to Huila, Colombia for a producer-to-producer exchange trip hosted by Ally Coffee, based in Lausanne, Switzerland and sponsored by Atlantica Coffee, located in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

"My impression of Colombia is that coffee growers are coffee growers wherever they are on the planet. It's a different kind of farming when our job is to add quality and flavour," said Edson Tamekuni, the top producer from Cerrado Mineiro. One way that producers are converting more of their harvest to specialty is through improvements in the fermentation process.

Many producing countries have seen drastic changes in the last decade, from extreme weather events or prolonged shifts in climate. Due to the latter, Colombia has witnessed a total transformation of when and how coffee cherries ripen. The year-round harvest changes labour demand and creates opportunities for new types of processing.

When there is a lower volume of cherries coming off the trees at any given time, producers can process cherries in slower, space-intensive processes like honey, natural, and experimental refrigerated fermentations that previously were not feasible.

"For cold fermentation, we place depulped coffee in the refrigerator between 10-13 degrees Celsius for three days," said producer Rodrigo Sanchez of Finca Monteblanco in San Adolfo, Huila."After it comes out of refrigeration, we wash the coffee and then it goes straight to the [shaded] African beds to dry. We've had scores up to 96 points SCA," [per the Specialty Coffee Association grading system] described Sanchez.

Tamekuni explained, "I'm trying cold fermentation, but at scale, using Supersacks in a cold room. First I tested the process with GrainPro bags in small volumes."

The results of Tamekuni's first cold fermentation test used an Acaia variety prepared with pulped natural processing, followed by 72 hours of fermentation in a cold room at temperatures of 11-13 degrees Celsius in GrainPro bags. The coffee cupped at 85.5 points SCA and gave "fruity, caramel, and chocolate notes with improved acidity," Tamekuni reported.

The same coffee washed and depulped without fermentation gave 84 points SCA with notes of chocolate, caramel, and nuts. The addition of a cold fermentation stage improved the cup score by 1.5 points and added fruit notes. "The result is desirable, but because of the work it takes, it is only possible to process microlots in this way," concluded Tamekuni.

Most coffee in Brazil is processed as pulped natural or full natural, but the group of Brazilian farmers' visit to Colombia showed that both fermenting and washing coffee can contribute to improved cup score when the goal is sensory quality over quantity of production.

Ruggero Pisa Simonini Spada runs Fazenda Tecad, part of CBI Agropecuaria, Lta, in Capelinha, Minas Gerais. This was his second trip to Colombia, and after seeing raised drying beds in Huila in 2017, he returned to Colombia to gather final observations before modifying Tecad's post-harvest processing.

"Previously we just produced pulped natural coffees. Now, we follow this process: 12 hours in cherry, 36-hour fermentation after deputing, bath in cold water to stop fermentation, centrifuge to remove mucilage, four to five days drying on patio," Spada explained.

Fazenda Tecad was originally planted for industrial volume production, but the growing demand for larger volumes of specialty coffees means that tweaks in processing --through the addition of fermentation or washing stages--open opportunities for commercial farms to produce specialty quality coffees in both microlots and macrolots.
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Title Annotation:NEW & NOTABLE: TEA & COFFEE REPORTS BREWING WORLDWIDE
Comment:Brazil's Farmers Apply Colombian Specialty Production Techniques.(NEW & NOTABLE: TEA & COFFEE REPORTS BREWING WORLDWIDE)
Author:Northrop, Rachel
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Geographic Code:3COLO
Date:Sep 1, 2018
Words:589
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