COLOMBIA TOLIMA FOREST GRAPE CO-FERMENT, Onyx Coffee Lab
This is truly an expectation setting coffee. Co-fermentation is a trend within coffee processing wherein fruits or spices are added alongside the coffee during the fermentation phase. In this case, dehydrated grapes were added into the tank, imparting a strong flavor of grape. Onyx Coffee Lab roasts all coffee using Solar Energy, and each bag is made with 100% renewable plant-based resources. Available in four sizes: 4 Ounce, 10 Ounce, 2 Pounds, or 5 Pounds.
Variety: Castillo, Colombia
Process: Fermented with Grapes, Raised-Bed Dried
Elevation: 1600 Meters
Cup: Grape Soda, Confectioners Sugar, Dark Chocolate, Punchy
Forest Coffee is a group of young coffee producers who have begun to buy both cherries and processed coffee from around Colombia. Their goal is to “innovate through the experimentation of new coffee processes, creating unique profiles, with special and exotic flavors, sharing all the knowledge collected through years with the source, our farmers so that their produced green coffee can be connected and recognized with roasters around the world.” Owning several farms themselves, their knowledge runs deep from traditional coffee processing and agricultural techniques. The premiere farm has been El Vergel, where they grow Gesha, Pacamara, and many other expotic varieties. They have collaborated with coffee professionals around the world to bring projects forward like Koji fermentation, and their latest foray is co-fermentation. (Read more on this process below.)
This coffee is grown on a neighboring farm in Fresno, Tolima. It is more commonplace now for producers to purchase cherry from neighboring farms to process, as it’s an efficient way to maintain volumes on the farm while experimenting with innovative processing methods.
“Infused. Co-fermented. Innovation. Problem.” These words are often used to describe the process of co-fermentation. This is not a new practice (producers in some regions have been adding Cinnamon to fermentation tanks for years.) However, this new trend of applying different additives to fermentation or drying has taken off in the past few years. This polarizing practice involves adding anything from essential oils to fruit to spices to green coffee in order to create a dominant flavor profile that carries to the brewed cup. The cases have been argued whether the market drives these or the production of them creates demand; either way, this is one side of coffee production and processing that is being explored. As a roaster, the cornerstone of this processing method is transparency and a do-no-harm approach with infusions, ensuring the end consumer is aware of the alteration of the green coffee structure and, therefore, the brewed coffee.
The actual processing applied to this coffee is straightforward: there is an initial pre-fermentation of the cherry, followed by a depulp and a five-day anaerobic fermentation which includes macerated grapes. The fruit esters penetrate the permeable structure of the green coffee, providing a lasting and pungent flavor through the drying process, roasting, and brewing. This process has caused quite a stir within certain circles of the specialty community. Still, it’s always been essential for us to share the many facets of coffee, especially when they’re as delicious as this offering.