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Discover a new experimental method – lactic fermentation in coffee


The coffee market is increasingly vibrant with new and creative experimental processing methods. One of them is lactic fermentation in coffee, researched and developed by La Palma y El Tucán in Colombia. What’s special about this method? Let’s explore with 43 Factory Coffee Roaster!


What is lactic fermentation in coffee?


Lactic fermentation is simply understood as a type of anaerobic fermentation (fermentation without oxygen). In particular, bacteria that thrive in environments without oxygen such as lactic acid (LAB) will convert simple carbohydrates into lactic acid, carbon dioxide, ethanol or acetic acid.

For coffee, lactic fermentation is a processing process that allows anaerobic lactic acid bacteria such as Leuconostoc mesenteroides inherent on the beans to quickly produce and metabolize sugars in the mucus, creating lactic acid. As a result, up to 90% of the glucose and fructose will be transformed, causing the coffee flavor to increase (according to Felipe Sardi – CEO of La Palma y El Tucán in Colombia).

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Which lactic fermentation method is best for specialty coffee?


Currently, manufacturers often use two main lactic fermentation methods in specialty coffee: LAB starter vaccination and using 2-3% brine. These two methods are performed in a low-oxygen environment under strict control to promote healthy LAB growth.

According to coffee experts, fermentation using 2% salt water is the optimal way to create a delicious and attractive cup of coffee. Because LAB is salt tolerant or halophilic, it grows and develops in high salinity conditions and easily enhances the flavor of the seeds. However, for manufacturers, LAB starter vaccination is the best option to have a finished product that ensures quality in every aspect. Because overall quality is not only based on the uniqueness of flavor but also needs to ensure safety, consistency for the finished product and the most economical production process. With LAB starter vaccination, the fermentation process can be monitored and controlled more easily. Manufacturers can detect variables, make adjustments to avoid negative fermentation processes, and produce a product that is safe and tastes as intended.

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The taste of coffee after lactic fermentation


The lactic fermentation process in coffee changes the sugar content into lactic acid. This amount of lactic acid makes the coffee flavor special, hard to find in other commonly processed coffees. Depending on the fermentation technique, coffee flavor will develop in many different trends.

According to a recent study, lactic fermentation using LAB can give coffee a floral, fruity, creamy, buttery flavor. They can also produce a deeper sweetness with chocolate notes and a smooth taste. Meanwhile, salt-lactic fermentation tends to produce a cup of coffee with a rich mouthfeel. Powdered lactic fermentation often produces brighter tropical and floral flavors.

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Lactic fermentation methods in coffee may develop in the future


Lactic fermentation focuses on innovation and creating exceptional flavors. Based on these outstanding and novel flavor characteristics, manufacturers believe that lactic fermentation in coffee will certainly develop and become widely popular. Because the consumer trend for new experiences in coffee is increasing. Many lactic fermentation processes are easy to perform and have lower risks than other advanced processing methods. The ingredients in this method are also simple and readily available, such as sea salt, so roasters and consumers around the world can easily access them.

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However, many research experts know that lactic fermentation in coffee may only capture a small portion of the large market. Because according to new studies, this process may not improve the quality and coffee or enhance the experience for those who love traditional coffee flavors. Furthermore, the fermentation process has many complex variables, so it requires specific standards and strict control, ensuring maximum safety. Therefore, if it meets the necessary factors for testing processes, lactic fermentation can be popular and develop according to the trend of contributing to the development of diversity and uniqueness for the industry.

If you love the experience and unique flavors of specialty coffee, visit XLIII Coffee – The brand developed from the predecessor 43 Factory Coffee Roaster.

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