Fourth wave in a coffee cup
Fermentation techniques that involve anything from fruits to alcohol are giving the brew a new high.
From whisky barrel-aged coffee to fruit-fermented beans and innovative experiments in farming, fermentation and drying the fourth wave of coffee is set to spring a surprise. The brew is going artisanal. There is an increased focus on how it is grown, nurtured, processed as well as how it is being roasted. Sunalini Menon, Asia’s first woman professional coffee taster, and President, Coffeelab Ltd, Bengaluru, says: “Artisanal coffees are unique in taste and are always available in micro quantities."
Such coffees are identified with sustainable practices in cultivation and prepared with care, precision and high-quality roasting.” Something like this is happening at Baarbara Estate, currently managed by the fourth generation of coffee growers from Chikmagalur, Karnataka.
Through their brand The Caffeine Baar, they are seeking to serve many coffee explorations to enthusiasts. Poojya Prasad, the co-founder, says, “We have worked on a unique fermentation process involving pineapple, which has given good results. To start with, pulped coffee beans are mixed with pineapple for a select number of hours.
The natural juices and the skin of pineapple, ferment the coffee beans. This process is monitored in a controlled environment. Once it’s complete, the mixture is dried on raised beds over several days. The coffee is monitored at each interval, resulting in batches with varying depths and notes of flavours.”
Roasters are having a field day. Take for instance, Maverick and Farmer Coffee Roasters, who have introduced new coffees that unlock more than what species, terroir or roasting can offer.
By intervening in the growing, processing, drying, blending and roasting stages of coffee (without any artificial additions), the endeavour is to explore different kind of tasting notes Indian coffee can offer. “We work on micro-lot coffees,” says Ashish D’ábreo, the founder-partner at Maverick and Farmer Coffee Roasters. Last year, they began work with fermentation and used ingredients such as fruit, yeasts, and cultured bacteria for the fermentation process. Abdul Sahid Khan, the training manager at Lavazza Training Center, India, adds, “Being passionately connected between coffee products and a need for eco-consciousness, have coffee roasters sourcing whole beans in small batches through direct and fair trade.
Many of the coffee roasters and importers today partner with handpicked farmers, and even reinvest into the farmer family’s land/business.” Research is at the cornerstone of these innovations. Located in Sakleshpur in Karnataka, Harley Estate, an extension of Harley Plantation Research Institute (HPRI), Asia’s first private research facility dedicated to coffee, is a lab where coffee-related experimentation goes on round the year. The purpose is to improve plantation management techniques and develop unique processing methods.
“We have, over the last couple of years, created over 50 processing methods, each bringing out different aspects of the coffee. We also conduct educative sessions for those who are in the coffee business,” says Chandini D Purnesh, Director, Classic Coffees. Coffee also has a health angle that is often overlooked.
Green coffee, for instance, is different from regular coffee and is the natural unroasted form of Arabica Coffee grains, said to have three times more antioxidants and lesser caffeine compared to black coffee.
“It boosts metabolism and provides support and strength to achieve health and fitness goals, that serve you in the long-term,” says Amit Tyagi, Founder and CEO, Neuherbs India. So the next time you sip on a cup of coffee, don’t forget that the long journey of the bean to cup has had several turns and twists to create that perfect flavour you love.
Sidapur Coffee and Culture Museum
“If you want to educate yourself on all things coffee, a visit to Sidapur Coffee and Culture Museum at Evolve Back in Chikkana Halli Estate, Coorg, will take you on a journey of fascinating discoveries. The museum has different sections that talk of the story of the founding Ramapuram family, the history of coffee in Coorg, how coffee is cultivated globally and how to brew the perfect cup of coffee. This also features the culture of Coorg and its close association with coffee cultivation. Our hugely popular programme, Coffeeology, is a daily live session on the art and science of gourmet coffee, where visitors can observe and experience the making of an assortment of coffee preparations from
around the world.”
Jose T Ramapuram, Executive Director, Evolve Back