Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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scored higher than the benchmark sample. I have tasted samples that I would not say are better or worse, but were unique and totally different expressions of a coffee. And I have tasted samples that have used yeast that I do not appreciate as much as the non-inoculated sample. I would hesitant to tell anyone, 'Your coffee is going to be better in quality using yeast-inoculated fermentation,' but I also would say it is possible." For her part, Rachel has spent some time playing with the yeast samples she took home from France, but she hesitates to draw any fi rm conclusions yet. She says she "certainly found some differences, mostly marked in the aromatics of the Geshas, but I need to repeat this cupping at least once. In addition, I'm a little hesitant to come to any conclusions on this based on such little information—our trials were very small. We had previously cupped the Catuais [that had been inoculated with the yeast] and cupped them again last week, and found larger differences the fi rst time than the second time. In fact the second time, the differences in Catuais with and without yeast were negligible." Aida continues to be curious about the potential of this kind of fermentation, and has demonstrated the inoculation process with producers in Costa Rica, Brazil, and Mexico. Though she worries about the high price tag that comes with large-scale yeast inoculation—as much as $1.40/pound of coffee—Aida is focused on the future. "We've already seen the potential of [yeast inoculation] increasing the shelf life of green coffee," she says, referencing experiments she has conducted herself over the past year at J. Hill. "But it's not like we've seen [yeast inoculation] take coffees from an 80 to an 84, for example." She has taken Oro, Cima, and her favor- ite, Intenso, to producers in Costa Rica, Brazil, and Mexico with whom she works under the Aida Batlle Selection distinction. "Aren't we talking about running out of specialty because of climate change?" says Aida. "I'm confi dent there is a solution here—we're just at the beginning of fi gur- ing out its best application. But there's still so much work that needs to be done. This is just the beginning." Perhaps using yeast inoculation in coffee fermentation isn't as essential for elite producers—for 90+ coffees. If it has the potential to both improve quality and profi le, as well as offer a consistency and effi ciency in the process of fermentation that the coffee industry hasn't had up until now, however, it's got to be worth investi- gating—that's the way Aida sees it. "Fundamentally at this stage, I want more people testing it out," says Tim. "I want to see people push as far as possible to see what it can do. I do think there is something important and powerful in the intentionality that using yeast in fermenta- tion can bring. The idea that fl avor can be crafted and controlled more at this moment in processing is in itself a win for using yeast for quality." "I do think there is something important and powerful in the intentionality that using yeast in fermentation can bring." —Tim Hill What does fermentation really mean? Fermentation is a biological process whereby yeast and bacteria trans- form sugars into energy and fl avor compounds. Fermentation occurs in every form of processing. It is an opportu- nity to impact fl avor. Fermentation is a natural process that happens without human inter- vention. Winemakers actively choose whether they will risk a spontaneous fermentation (natural wine) or select their microbes and control the process. PHOTOS BY AIDA BATLLE Yeast rehydration and inoculation for wet coff ee process. 92 barista magazine

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