There is no doubt that Colombia has become one of our favourite producing countries. We love the diversity on offer, range of processing styles and recent focus on scientific and experimental processing methods. Most of the amazing coffees we buy from Colombia come from very small farms covering ten hectares and are typically bright, juicy washed coffees. Over the last year we have been very fortunate to have had access to some amazing Colombian coffee beans from producers that have implemented experimental processing methods.

One of these is a thermal fermentation washed coffee from a farm owned and managed by Cesar Andres Ledesma. Cesar works on the farm located in the western mountain range of the Colombian Andes and lives on the farm with his wife and children. 

Thermal shock washed method:

This is an unusual post harvest processing method that we have not encountered before and involves using water at specific temperatures. It is a multi stage process:

  • Coffee was left to rest in bags for 24 hrs at a temperature of 19C
  • Coffee was then pulped to remove the outer fruit layer and fermented in water at a temperature of 24C for 36 hrs
  • Coffee was washed with water at a temp of 40C 
  • Coffee was cooled by washing with water at 12C

Once complete the coffee was dried in a mechanical drier at a stable temperature of 32C until it reached a moisture content of 11%.

Mechanical drying experimentation has become more popular recently as the temperature can be controlled very carefully. While drying on raised tables is often believed to yield the best results this might not always be the case as the coffee can get very hot during the day and quite cold at night. Drying at a stable, even temperature helps producers to maintain full control over the drying process. 

What was particularly interesting about this processing method is that the coffee scored an incredible 86+ points. Although Colombian coffee beans are known for their high scores using only the very best varietals, harvesting and processing that can achieve these results.

In this case it was the Castillo varietal that was selected for processing and this varietal is not know to achieve such high cup score. However, this is proof that very selective harvesting and controlled post harvest processing can have some outstanding results.

We hope to have more amazing Colombia coffee beans like this in the future!