Returning to Thailand

By Stuart Grant

We're very excited to say that Stu will be returning to Thailand to visit our partners in the La Mai project next week.
This trip will coincide with the peak of the 2013 harvest in the region, which means we will be able to see a whole lot of coffee being processed.
Coffee processing is fascinating and complicated! The aim is to dry the coffee bean (evenly) before it "goes off" (eg. by fermenting inside the fruit, or going mouldy etc.). The predominant method is the washed method or wet-processing, where the fruit is removed, then the beans are soaked until the sticky mucilage comes off, then they are laid out to dry.
This year our partners will also be trying honey-processing, which is where the beans are laid out to dry immediately after fruit removal. They are still covered in sticky mucilage which means they need almost constant raking & turning on the drying racks. By leaving the mucilage on, the drying happens differently, typically giving resulting coffee a fruitier sweetness and more viscosity. There are hundreds of factors involved in getting the above process right: Where/how are the cherries grown? When picked, were they perfectly ripe? Is the pulper clean, and is it removing the fruit adequately? Is the temperature and humidity optimal for drying the coffee? Is it being raked/turned often enough? And many more. Stu is not an expert in this field by any means, but by participating in these experiments he hopes to learn more and to be a part of the continual improvement of this and other coffees that we source. No doubt there will be many blog posts to follow!