BH Unlimited Update, Aug 4th 2022.
Have you ever stopped to think about what the real dream job in coffee is? For sure when I first started in coffee, the roaming green buyer certainly seemed to have it all. Or it could be the Head Barista job at our Arabic translation partner’s new cafe venture in Beirut (what a gorgeous bar). Well, this week in the BH office, there is no doubt who has the dream job in our company. Our writer/researcher Tom Hopkinson has been in Colombia over the last few months helping us put together the Coffee Buyer’s Guide to Colombia . And while he was there, the marvellous Lucia Solis announced that she was organising the first ever Fermentation Training Camp . So you guessed it, Tom got to go to the camp — anyone apart from me jealous? — together with a cohort of extraordinary coffee people. Baristas, producers, roasters, not just from Colombia, but from all over the world, turned up to learn about Lucia’s approach to coffee fermentation.
Fermentation Campers en route to the coffee farm
Lucia has kindly invited us to share with you a few tips and tricks that she passed on to the group during their week in the mountains of Risaralda, Colombia. One unusual element Lucia demonstrated during the camp was a lactic fermentation.
Lactic fermentation is the secret to many well-known pickled or fermented foods around the world, such as kimchi or sauerkraut. To get sauerkraut going, you just add a bunch of salt to cabbage (a little over 2% by weight), then you mush it around for a bit and then just let it do its thing. How is this relevant to coffee, you may ask? At the Fermentation Training Camp, in order to learn more about Lactic Acid Bacteria, they literally pickled freshly pulped coffee, then of course they roasted and cupped it with some quite surprising results. Here are Tom’s trail notes about his fabulous week in Risaralda. And if you were thinking that ‘pickled’ was a typo of ‘picked’ — then you’d be mistaken.
There is — as yet — no packaging or storage technique that can entirely prevent beans from fading. Proper storage can stop your beans from going rancid, but nothing can completely prevent coffee flavour from fading over time. Researchers have tried vacuum packs, protective atmospheres, and even freezing — but so far, there is no magic bullet.
There are however some things roasters can do to make sure that the coffee they buy is stable, and to keep that coffee in good condition for as long as possible. This week in Roasting Science , we explain what happens to green beans as they age, and take a critical look at the research around green bean storage.
Quick link: If you wish to take your reading one step further on this subject, take a look at Professor Steven Abbott’s recommendations for protecting green coffee , too.
The Coffee Buyer’s Guide to Colombia
Meanwhile in Colombia , we tackle three very different regions: Chocó, Cundinamarca, and Huila.
Huila has been at the forefront of a dramatic transformation in the Colombian coffee industry over the last few decades. Colombia’s traditional coffee-growing heartland has given way in importance to the southwestern departments, especially Huila. The smallholder farmers in this region have come to dominate Colombian coffee production in both quality and quantity.
The narrow shape of the Magdalena River Valley is thought to contribute to Huila’s distinctive cup profile. Join the course to find out why
Cundinamarca, the department surrounding Bogotá, represents the other side of this transition. It was once one of the most important growing regions in Colombia, home to farms of a million trees or more. Those large farms have given way to smallholders, and while the department still produces nearly half a million bags, it is much less prominent than it once was.
In this week’s lessons , we track some of the causes and effects of this great upheaval in Colombian coffee production. We also take a brief look at the state of coffee production in Chocó — one of the wettest places in the world.
BH Unlimited subscribers have advanced access to each new chapter as the production progresses.
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At BH we never do ads for other company’s products on our website. There’s no product placement in any of our courses, newsletters or blog posts. Our only income comes from what you pay for your subscriptions. When you see machinery or coffee gear mentioned in any of our educational material, or featured in our course videos, we have chosen to use that equipment because we like using it, because we think it’s historically significant in the evolution of the espresso machine, or because it shows you something you need to see about modern coffee culture. It’s as simple as that.
The Coffee Buyer’s Guide to Colombia
Growing Regions of Colombia
CBGC 1.09 • Chocó
CBGC 1.10 • Cundinamarca
CBGC 1.11 • Huila
As always, we're just an email away if you have any queries! Have great weeks and we look forward to seeing you next time.
To the Boundaries of Coffee,