Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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In October of 2017, a group of specialty-coffee heavyweights arrived in Toulouse, France, home of the Lallemand pilot lab and plant. There was Aida, of course, and Zack, as well as celebrated Panamanian producer Rachel Peterson of Hacienda La Esmeralda, and Tim Hill, director of coffee for Counter Culture, who has been executing fi eld studies with producers at farms around the world for more than a decade. The group also included Laurent, mentioned previously; Alex Brooks, who works for Scott Labs in Latin America, where he trains and supports producers in the use of yeast in coffee processing; Gordon Specht, a huge driver of the Scott Labs yeast program for wine both when he was em- ployed by Scott as well as in his current work at Lallemand; Margaret Fundira, who manag- es the LalCafé project from South Africa and has an extensive background in wine-yeast microbiology; Ann Julien-Ortiz, a key player for characterization of yeast and genetic profi ling for Lallemand; Nathalie Sieczkow- ski, the R&D project leader for Lallemand's coffee application; and Francine Vidal, who is in charge of making commercial sense of the coffee-project for Lallemand, which includes understanding the needs of the coffee-pro- duction market and the value chain. I tagged along for the ride. Aida, Gordon, and Zack worked together to assemble the group with a few specifi c goals in mind: The fi rst was to dive into yeast selection, production, and characterization to improve global knowledge of the organism, but also to get alignment with the application in coffee. Aida wanted Tim and Rachel to get up close and personal with the specifi cities of coffee yeasts so they might consider yeast inoculation's potential impact on large-scale coffee processing. On their side of the table, the Lallemand and Scott Labs teams hoped to gain a better understanding of what industry leaders like Rachel and Aida on the producing end, and Tim in the buying and roasting segment, were looking for not only at the processing stage, but on the cupping table, as well. For five days, Rachel, Tim, and Aida took part in intense discussions and classroom sessions with the group wherein we went deep into Lallemand's ongoing research in coffee processing using selected cultures as well as exploring the analog between scaling microbiological technology in the traditional worlds of wine and coffee. Note: Lallemand isn't the only company manufac- turing yeast, of course, though it is the only one we found focusing specifically on coffee applications. Still experiments are being conducted using other brands of years. For example, self-described coffee-fermentation designer Lucia Solis, who used to work for Scott and is now an independent contrac- tor exploring yeast studies with prodcers throughout Central and South America, uses other yeasts in her work in addition to LalCafé yeasts. (See sidebar on page 86.) Back to France: We visited Lallemand's R&D labs in Toulouse, then hit the road for Mont- pellier, where we would learn from CIRAD researchers such as head of coffee research Benoît Bertrand, and also Nöel Durnad, whose study is heavily concentrated on biochemical aspects of coffee. We spent a sunny morning at the National Institute for Agricultural Research's wine-research station, INRA Pech Rogue, touring the experimental vineyard and winery where director Jean-Michel Salmon explained protocols in pruning and processing grapes in relation to coffee. Finally, we spent an afternoon at the ICV Group's Montpellier location, where we gleaned some of the process of wine analytics from an impressive team of oenology consultants. Clockwise from le : Jean-Michel Salmon (le ) gives Tim Hill, Aida Batlle, and Rachel Peterson a tour of INRA Pech Rogue's experimental technological facilities, where experiments in delayed fermentations which allow alcoholic fermentations under controlled conditions with online acquisition of fermentation kinetics take place. At CIRAD, the group explores a warehouse fi lled with experiments and scientifi c posters developed for the French agricultural research and international cooperation organization. CIRAD's coff ee-related research is aimed at developing and promoting coff ee-production standards in line with the principles of sustainable development. Aida Batlle and Tim Hill conduct experiments with the LalCafé yeasts at the J. Hill mill in Santa Ana, El Salvador, in February 2018. Photo by Chad Trewick. 90 barista magazine

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