Cordillera De Fuego Costa Rica Anaerobic



We taste Poached Pear and Snickerdoodle Cookies.

This Costa Rica coffee goes through an experimental fermentation that creates a sweet complex flavor.

anaerobic coffee fermentation process

anaerobic natural coffee process

costa rica tarrazu coffee sign for anaerobic coffee fermentation

About the Coffee Farmer

Luis Eduardo Campos is no ordinary coffee farmer. He is constantly evolving and innovating. This anaerobic coffee fermentation process micro-lot from Cordillera de Fuego is a hallmark of our Costa Rican offerings and one of the long-standing gems of Luis’ farm. He owns two mills. One for dry process and one for wash process.

He releases many exceptional micro-lots from his own coffee farms, but many local producers bring their coffees to him from surrounding farms as well. Don Luis was one of the first farmers to experiment with low oxygen processing in Costa Rica. We love the explosive flavors of his coffees!

Every harvest season we are always eager to see what Luis and his team are up to. They do not disappoint. This year they bring us a coffee that has a fun, funky flavor and the balance of a subtle acidity. It tastes sweet with lots of peach and pear fruitiness.

In the cup, we taste cinnamon and snickerdoodle cookies, flavors and aromas that we have come to expect from a premium anaerobic coffee from Costa Rica.

What is Coffee Processing?

Coffee beans start out as seeds inside of a cherry growing on a tree. The “tree” is really the shape and size of a plant most people would call a bush. Removing the cherry from the seed (bean) can be a lot of work. Traditionally, this involves drying the cherry in the sun like a raisin so that the slow natural fermentation of the fruit separates it from the seed.

In the past, the fruit (cascara) becomes a tea or food product and the farmers remove the seeds to roast them and turn them into coffee beans. Whether or not to remove the fruit or cherry depends on the intention of the farmer and their team. This decision includes how much of the fruit to remove. How and/or how much of the fruit and its juices will be a part of that fermentation?

How long will the fermentation last? Will it be done in one phase or multiple phases? Experts must understand how to ask and answer these questions in order to exceed in their field.

Anaerobic Coffee Processing at its Best

The big difference between aerobic fermentations like dry/natural processing that takes place in the Organic Ethiopian Guji Kayon Mountain Natural is the ethyl alcohol output by the microbes involved and distinct organic acids that form, such as lactic acids, which give it a funky flavor profile. The coffee in this batch ferments in the juice (mucilage) they collect when it goes through the de-pulping process.

This is different than carbonic maceration processing. That is where the cherry is left in tact during fermentation. It is done in sealed stainless steel tanks instead of open air drying beds. It can grant the agronomist more exacting control of the fermentation environment.

  • Firstly, they hand pick these coffee cherries late into the harvest. For these semi-washed processing methods, in this case anaerobic fermentation, the cherries must measure at 26 on the Brix. Picking at this point late in the harvest requires great timing and precision. Any longer on the tree and these cherries would likely start to spoil. Hard work pays off though because these cherries have the optimal sugar content for fermenting via yeast and bacteria that will create deep, complex flavor profiles.
  • Secondly, the coffee cherries go through de-pulping and they seal them in stainless steel tanks with the mucilage (coffee cherry juice). As the coffee ferments, microbes consume the oxygen in the tank and release carbon dioxide, pressurizing the tank.
  • Finally, they sun dry all the beans after fermentation.

For more experimentally processed coffees check out our Ethiopia Daye Bensa Ashenafi Argaw Anaerobic Natural.