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Torréfacteur Neon Coffee Roasters

Fincas Mierisch Laurina Cold Anaerobic Natural (Low-Caf) - Nicaragua

Fincas Mierisch Laurina Cold Anaerobic Natural (Low-Caf) - Nicaragua

Regular price $21.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $21.00 USD
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Region: Jinotega

Flavour notes: strawberry, orange, tonka beans

Variety: Laurina

Altitude: 1200m

The Mierisch family has been producing coffee for more than 110 years, making them one of the oldest coffee farming families in Nicaragua. For the past 5 generations, the family has been both innovating and steadily improving the efficiency of their systems, which has allowed them to design special farming techniques at scale with precision lot traceability and to grow and process world renowned, rare coffee varieties with both distinctive and exceptional processing methods. 

The Mierisch family has several farms, producing their coffees across 11 fincas in Nicaragua and 3 in Honduras. Their coffees are renowned around the world; from their lauded Los Favoritos Auction and winning 1st place twice in a row at the Cup or Excellence in Honduras is not only a testament to their dedication, but also to the hard work and understanding of the importance of striving for quality at every step.

Located in the department of Jinotega, you will find Finca La Escondida nestled at the base of a mountain. This farm is home to the ‘varietal garden’ of the Mierisch family, where they test out new varieties before deciding if they are worth planting on one of their farms. This specific Laurina plot is called Ojo de Agua and it is the only plot that is irrigated due to its close proximity to a river. This helps to speed up the flowering stage, thus leading to an earlier harvest, making this Laurina one of the first varieties to be picked in each season.

Laurina is a rare, low-caffeine variety of Arabica coffee that has its origins on Réunion, near Madagascar. This coffee, which has only ⅓ of the caffeine of regular Arabica coffee, which gives the coffee its sweet taste (caffeine having a bitter taste). It is also known as Bourbon Pointu, so named for both its island of birth (the island of Réunion was formerly called Bourbon) and the elongated and pointed shape of the coffee.  In nature, caffeine essentially acts as a coffee plant's inherent insecticide. So as Laurina has less caffeine, it makes it more challenging to grow and harvest, leading to the variety’s scarcity and well merited fanaticism.

The Fermentation Process: Cold Anaerobic Natural

From the Farm:

Anaerobic fermentation simply means fermentation without the presence of oxygen. But going even further, its actually redundant to say “Anaerobic Fermentation” since biologically speaking all fermentation is anaerobic. It would be like saying wet-water. Hence, internally, we refer to this process as Fermentation at Low Temp, but marketing wise Cold Anaerobic has a nice ring to it. It begins with only picking optimally ripe, blood red, cherries. We placed floated and rinsed whole cherries into juice barrels (due to their food safe interior) with no water and covered with a lid. It’s important to note that we made sure that the lid would seal the barrel air tight so as to prevent any oxygen from entering the barrel. The lid was modified by drilling a hole in the middle and attaching a PVC pipe and valve. Using our industrial vacuum, we sucked out most of the remaining oxygen inside the barrel. We then attached plastic hosing to the valve and connected it to a water bottle (that was punctured at the top) filled three quarters of the way with water. By leaving the valve slightly open this creates an airlock whose purpose is to suck out any carbon dioxide that will be produced by the
coffee during fermentation.

Next, we placed the barrels inside a 6m X 9m X 3m cold room we built inside our warehouse. It is run by two industrial AC’s which keep the room between 6C and 10C. We let this lot of cherries ferment for a period of 60 hours.
After spending 60 hours inside the cold room, the cherries are spread out as a thin layer on our patio under 100% sunlight where they will spend for two days. The cherries are moved three to four times a day, always making sure not to damage the cherries. After spending two days on our patio they were transferred onto African beds inside a greenhouse. The cherries finish drying on the African beds after 30 days. So total drying time was 32 days when they reached a humidity level lower than 12.5%. Once the cherries reached our desired humidity, they were transported inside of our well ventilated warehouse where they were allowed to “rest,” or age, for a month as dried cherries. This allows for the humidity level to homogenize within all the beans. We then proceeded to hull the dried cherries, and then allow the “oro” or green beans to rest/age for another month. This second resting period allows for the flavors to balance out.
The cherries entered the barrels as a blood red color, but they changed into a darkish maroon after spending 60 hours at low temperatures. Cup-wise the first thing we noticed was that the profile was much cleaner, meaning the flavors were easier to identify. We also noticed a higher, but delicate, acidity. Naturals tend to display a fuller/heavier body, yet we’ve found that this process balanced the body with the newfound acidity. Some of our results were confirmed by Songer & Associates, Inc. who expressed that cold processed coffees had a “cleaner acidity.” In the anaerobic environment we are encouraging the growth of microbes that do not require oxygen to carry out their metabolic process by creating an atmosphere without oxygen and controlling the temperature. Some of these microbes include lactic acid and yeasts, such as saccharomyces cerevisiae (used to ferment beer and wine). Lactic acid will help in increasing the acidity of the coffee1. Since our most of the coffees increased in acidity, we can expect there to have been a significant amount of lactic acid produced during the fermentation.
The coffee bean is a living organism, and the substance spectrum found in a living organism is determined by their metabolism. Our goal was to slow down the metabolism of the coffee bean by allowing it to ferment at cold temperatures. However, we do not want to stop it entirely. If the rate of fermentation is too slow this could lead to the development of butyric acid. We want to avoid butyric acid fermentation, as these types of acids produce unpleasant flavors and odors. We are aiming for alcoholic or lactic acid fermentation. This slower rate of the metabolic process will lower the risk of over-fermentation, allow us to prolong the length of time of fermentation, and produce a cleaner cup profile with increased acidity.
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