We are so excited to feature Ligature Coffee from Orlando, FL as our guest roaster for July. The "fed-batch washed" process Colombian coffee we've selected for you is a remarkable innovation in processing spearheaded by Lizardo Herrera and his peers in Huila, Colombia.
We like to think of this particular coffee as one that's ushering in a "fourth wave" of specialty coffee: a new era that puts more power, respect, and resources into the hands of coffee producers and their teams.
About the brilliant producer behind this coffee:
Lizardo Herrera is a founding member of a collective of producers called La Real Expedicion Botanica (LaREB for short). LaREB is a collective of producers who represent themselves in the global coffee market. Through this collective, they are able to set their own prices and have profit sharing, as well as clearly define the degree of their involvement in the export/import process as they want. The collective not only includes producers, but agronomists, roasters, baristas, etc who all work together a collaborative environment to further innovation and market reach.
What is Fed Batch?
This coffee is a Pink Bourbon varietal and is processed a bit differently than standard washed process. The term “Fed Batch" is from bioreactors but is not as esoteric as it may seem at first.
Like a normal washed process, the coffee is harvested at peak ripeness then depulped, put into wash (fermentation) tanks where yeast and microbes in the water will actually feed on the left over mucilage on the coffee bean, then the coffee is taken out of the wash tanks and dried till the correct moisture content is achieved. Normally the harvesting, depulping, and washing all take place on the same day. This is where Fed batch comes in to play.
After cherries are depulped and put into the tank, fermentation begins. Then instead of emptying and drying, the next day’s pickings will be depulped and put into the fermentation tank where yesterday’s batch is still fermenting. The new batch contains plenty of more sugar and mucilage, so the fermentation process is kept alive instead of dying off. For Lizardo’s coffee this happens over the course of 5 days. What this creates is a gradient of fermentation in the lot that is mixed together and adds additional depth and interesting flavor characteristics.
Fed Batch processing is great example of a solution that not only solves a problem (the problem of less available pickers) but also adds value (flavor complexity).
About Ligature Coffee:
Ligature is a small-but-mighty specialty coffee roaster in Orlando, Florida, founded by Chris Mock. Chris truly walks the walk when it comes to ushering in the "fourth wave." He works hard to source all of their coffees transparently from producers that are paid well and are proud of the work they are doing.
We were also really inspired by Chris' application of the asset-based community development model into how he builds relationships with coffee producers. It's such an empowering lens through which to source coffee and support the experts at origin. Take a look at our Instagram Live chat with Chris to learn more!
You can also read more about Ligature's approach to transparency here.