Guatemala La Senda - Carbonic Maceration - Online Exclusive!

Guatemala La Senda - Carbonic Maceration - Online Exclusive!


Guatemala La Senda

An outstanding and experimental extended fermentation nano lot from Finca La Senda. Blueberry and buttery caramel notes.


Region: Acatenango
Variety: Typica Bourbon
Altitude: 1700-1850m
Processing: Carbonic Maceration
Producer: Arnoldo and Maria Eugenia
Harvest: February 2019


This coffee comes from Finca La Senda in Guatemala and is a highly experimental ‘carbonic maceration’ process. I hope you are ready for some science!

The term carbonic maceration comes from a traditional wine making technique most associated with the Gamay grape in the Beaujolais region. Instead of being crushed and fermented with yeasts, whole grapes are placed in a sealed barrel. The weight of the grapes in the barrel crushes those grapes at the bottom and the sugar in their released juice slowly reacts with the natural yeasts on the skin of all the grapes to begin fermentation. A by product of this fermentation is that Carbon Dioxide is created and its density forces any oxygen out of the fermenting vessel.

This carbon rich, oxygen free environment allows for a much slower, anaerobic fermentation period as the risk of spoiling is vastly reduced. The CO2 also permeates the skin of the whole grapes and kickstarts fermentation within the grapes before they are crushed.  The result of this is highly fruity wines that are low in tannins.

For coffee, the theory behind using a similar process is to create the intense fruit flavours of a natural process coffee with the clean and refined body and feel of a washed coffee.  

At La Senda the whole coffee cherries are placed in a sealed tank that has been ‘carbon flushed’ using fast acting yeasts that quickly ferment the natural sugars from the coffee creating an anaerobic, oxygen free environment that can begin fermentation in the whole cherries.

After 5 days the cherries are removed and pulped, then the pulped coffee beans are placed back into the tank for a further 12-17 days of anaerobic fermentation before being washed and dried.  

The result of this is a much, much longer total fermentation time than is normal for coffee. Most coffees are fermented for between 12-72 hours. This process results in a fermentation time of 420-528 hours!

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