DECAF (HONDURAS + EAST TIMOR BLEND)
Finca Altos de Erapuca is a new coffee farm and was established in 2008 and in December 2014 only its second crop was harvested. Previously the land had been given over to cattle but with an altitude of 1,300 to 1,360 meters above sea level, owner Carlos Refrain Paz Sevilla, recognised the land’s great potential for producing coffee. With many years’ experience in coffee, through the management of other family farms, Carlos planted the farm entirely with Catuai making the farm something of an oasis in a land of Cattimore – the varietal that has greater rust resistance but much less complexity in the cup.
The farm is located in Copan, on the slopes of Honduras’s second highest mountain – Erapuca. It’s a dramatic volcano-like mountain with its conical shape and though the slopes don’t benefit from mineral rich volcanic ash, the land is fertile with rich soils. The mountain’s peak reaches 2,255 meters above sea level. Finca Altos de Erapuca is a big farm since there are 264 hectares of protected rainforest but upon 24 hectares there is an abundance of healthy looking catuai. There are some signs of rust, as in almost all cases in Central America, but Carlos is managing it well enough to expect a crop of around 2 containers between December and March when the coffee will be harvested. Carlos believes he must protect the land for future generations and has made the brave step of running the farm in compliance with organic production rules and methods. Finca Altos de Erapuca is now both Rainforest Alliance and Organically certified.
Eratoi 2 lot is produced by 15 small holders reside in Eratoi village in south west of Asia’s newest independent country, East Timor. The farms are located at an altitude of 1600m to 1700m above sea level. The village name of “Eratoi” comes from a local Mambae language meaning “rich in water” and as the name indicates, there are ample water available which makes wet-milling less difficult than other villages.
Eratoi village itself has 42 coffee growers and they are separated into 3 different groups; Eratoi 1, Eratoi 2 and Eratoi 3 to conduct meticulous quality assurance protocol. Thus, the numbers do not indicate the superiority nor inferiority in quality.
Being led by Senhor Laurentino Soares, Eratoi II members pay great degree of attention to harvest only fully ripe cherries and avoid contamination of defective ones. Only fully ripe cherries are hand-picked and the harvest finishes just after lunch to process all the cherries within the same day. All the harvests of the day go through a floater selection to eliminate insect damaged beans followed by a de-pulping (wet-processing) with a traditional pulping machine that each farmer possess. After the cherries are removed, parchments are sorted again with a floater selection and fermented for 36 hours. Parchments are then washed, sun-dried on drying tarpaulins and dry-milled after the curing period of minimum 30 days.
THE SPARKLING WATER DECAFFEINATION PROCESS
This process was first discovered by a scientist called Kurt Zosel at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research in 1967 as he was looking at new ways of separating mixtures of substances. In 1988, a German decaffeination company called CR3 developed this process for decaffeination whereby natural carbon dioxide (which comes from prehistoric underground lakes) is combined with water to create ‘sub-critical’ conditions which creates a highly solvent substance for caffeine in coffee. It is a gentle, natural and organically certified process and the good caffeine selectivity of the carbon dioxide guarantees a high retention level of other coffee components which contribute to taste and aroma.
The process is outlined below:
1. The green beans enter a ‘pre-treatment’ vessel where they are cleaned and moistened with water before being brought into contact with pressurised liquid carbon dioxide. When the green coffee beans absorb the water, they expand and the pores are opened resulting in the caffeine molecules becoming mobile.
2. After the water has been added, the beans are then brought into contact with the pressurised liquid carbon dioxide which combines with the water to essentially form sparkling water. The carbon dioxide circulates through the beans and acts like a magnet, drawing out the mobile caffeine molecules.
3. The sparkling water then enters an evaporator which precipitates the caffeine rich carbon dioxide out of the water. The now caffeine free water is pumped back into the vessel for a new cycle.
4. This cycle is repeated until the required residual caffeine level is reached. Once this has happened, the circulation of carbon dioxide is stopped and the green beans are discharged into a drier.
5. The decaffeinated coffee is then gently dried until it reaches its original moisture content, after which it is ready for roasting.
There are several benefits to using this process for decaffeination:
· The agent used for extracting the caffeine is entirely natural and the process can be classified as ‘organic’ due to the complete lack of chemicals used throughout. There is also no health risk by consuming coffee that has been decaffeinated in this way.
· The way the process works means the other compounds in the green bean are left untouched, meaning decaffeination has no effect on the flavour and aroma of the finished product. The carbon dioxide is very selective and doesn’t extract the carbohydrates and proteins in the green bean which contribute to flavour and smell.
· The cell structure of the green bean and the finished roasted bean is unchanged which is of great advantage when working with speciality coffees.
· The by-products are 100% natural and recyclable.
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