The methods of processing coffee beans in many ways affect how the resulting drink will taste. Of course, there are more, but coffee is most often processed using the dry method, the wet method or the honey method. However, they have been growing a lot lately various experiments and carbonic maceration is just one of them. It is a very unusual way to turn freshly picked coffee cherries into a unique product that lovers of quality coffee will really enjoy. This method has been around for quite a short time, its origin dates back to 2015, when it was introduced by barista Saša Šestić at the World Barista Champion. But what is this processing about? What are the differences here? In this article, we will describe to you in detail what makes carbonic maceration so different and why, together with other experiments, it is slowly becoming a phenomenon.
The fundamental difference occurs during fermentation
Coffee cherries must be left to ferment after picking. This step is really important not only because of the thorough separation of the remaining skins from the grain, but also for the resulting taste of the espresso. Classic fermentation, which we are used to with those "ordinary" processing methods, takes place with the wet method in tanks, where the partially cleaned grains are placed. It is different with carbonic maceration. Saša Šestić, who won the Barista Champion thanks to this processing method, let himself inspire with wine. Fermentation during carbonic maceration takes place with a great deal of carbon dioxide.
All sorted coffee cherries are moved undamaged into airtight containers, which are filled with carbon dioxide without the presence of oxygen. This will ensure that the fermentation of the coffee cherries starts inside and the processes of decomposition have no escape. The parchment that protects the coffee bean absorbs much more flavor thanks to these chemical phenomena and this will very favorably affect the taste of the result - your favorite espresso. However, maceration takes significantly longer than other processing methods. Since it is working with undamaged cherries and not with crushed or nearly removed ones, this process can take months. It is very individual, many factors are decisive here - for example, the size of the cherries. It is also important to mention that although the carbonic maceration comes from the winemakers, alcohol does not occur in coffee. But for this to actually be the case, process temperatures must be strictly monitored. It must be noticeably lower than for wine drinks.
At the moment when fermentation with the help of carbon dioxide is finished, it continues very similarly to the dry or wet method of processing. Both of these classical methods are suitable for carbonic maceration. In any case, it continues by drying or removing the pulp of the cherries from the coffee beans.
How does coffee processed by carbonic maceration taste?
This question is very important and probably interests you the most. Each style of processing infuses the resulting coffee with a completely different palette of tastes, aromas and tones, which subsequently surprise you with each cup. After carbonic maceration, the coffee beans become absolutely luxurious a touch of wine or even whiskey. Here you can feel the distinctive berry fruit and delicious sweetness in dimensions that no other processing can provide. The coffee beans had a lot of time to absorb these flavors thoroughly. It is not for nothing that Saša Šestić won the world coffee championship in 2015 with this processing method.
Other benefits of this modern trend
Nowadays, the coffee market is already oversaturated with classic names, processes and offers of coffee, which can lead to a complete commonality of products. Thanks to these experiments, we can breathe a completely new life into the coffee industry. Differentiation from diverse competition is the main goal of the vast majority of roasters and coffee distributors. And no wonder. Discovering new and new tastes and innovations is much better than always sticking to the familiar ones.
Whatever kind of coffee you like, beans fermented by carbonic maceration are definitely worth a try.