My Wapaia adventure!
The post-harvest process used by a producer can have both a positive and negative impact on the final profile of a cup of coffee, but when is it positive or negative?
The answer is quite simple, and that is when it does or does not meet all the characteristics you are looking for in a cup of coffee. Just as the process can enhance sweetness, acidity, body, red, yellow or floral fruit flavours, it can reduce or balance them.
Which processing technique is best?
No processing technique is better than another, but some processes are more widespread than others due to various factors: climate change, economic resources, production and processing costs, environmental impact, availability of resources, and because some processes are more suitable or express themselves better than others.
After several years of work, the producer knows and understands this perfectly.
It is also interesting to ask: what is going on behind my cup of coffee, what impacts do these processes generate in their production and transformation environments, how sustainable can washed, honey or natural coffee be over the next ten years in a country, region or farm?
Because of these and other questions that arise every day, Belco strives to develop processes that give a cup of coffee its full glory, while having the least possible impact on the environment and society.
That's why in this article we introduce you to WAPAIA 2.0 coffees, a work originally developed.
By way of background...
Belco has started a commercial relationship with the COCASAM cooperative (Cooperativa Cafetalera San Marqueña in Honduras) from 2019, with a container of FTO washed coffee, under the commercial name "WAPAIA coffees". The name WAPAIA comes from the Misquito dialect, which means "growing together".
And we have grown little by little...
Currently, the COCASAM cooperative works with Belco on two containers of washed coffees and this year we made a small variation in one of them but...did you know that...?
The COCASAM cooperative was born in 1988 with 16 producers and today there are more than 150
More than 90% are organic producers and the rest are in transition to organic
99% of the producers in the municipality of San Marcos de Colón deliver their coffee to the cooperative (if not 100%)
And this year, COCASAM wanted to venture out with Belco to develop its first batch of NATURE coffees!
This is the variation we are talking about.
This year we decided to take on a small challenge together: to process two batches of natural coffees, 25 bags of the red Catuaí variety and 25 bags of yellow Catuaí.
How did it go? I'll tell you all about it.
Historically, these washed coffees are cupped around 82-83 points.
What were our challenges/goals?
To reduce water consumption in the processing of washed coffees. The cooperative has a record of using about 5 litres of water to obtain one pound of washed coffee. In addition, the reduction in water consumption benefits the communities surrounding COCASAM's washing station and helps to conserve water resources.
Develop a new process technique. Traditionally, all coffee processed by the cooperative is washed coffee
Develop a new sensory profile. Indeed, we wanted to know the behaviour of these coffee varieties through a different process.
Improve the quality of the cups. This is a very subjective issue because, as I mentioned earlier (at the beginning of this article), just as the post-harvest process can increase, decrease, strengthen or reduce the characteristics of a coffee and, above all, it can adapt or not to the tastes of different consumers.
Have these challenges/objectives been met?
Yes, we have achieved them one by one. We have managed to reduce the water consumption used to treat a pound of coffee in the natural process by up to 90%; we have developed a new post-harvest treatment technique, we have broadened the sensory profile of these coffees and their quality has increased in the cup...
It was hard work but not impossible and for our first experience together it was incredible.
Want to see the method?
Here are some pictures of what this great adventure was like.
Finca La Florida
CATUAÍ Red & Yellow
Support for selective picking
Process: CATUAÍ Red & Yellow Drying
Drying & Control
Quality control of harvesting and sensory control of drying: Welcome to your natural coffee!
And after a few months of rest for these coffees, the quality control was carried out at the Belco El Salvador agency, where Erick Pastrana (responsible for quality control at the COCASAM cooperative and Q Grader) participated in the sensory evaluation, which allowed for a deeper and more critical feedback of these coffee varieties.
In the following table you can see the behaviour of the experimental varieties in the two treatment techniques.
And so this 50 bags of coffee will be enjoyed by all those who wish to take part in our adventures in the countries of origin, for a better coffee growing and the preservation of environmental resources.
In this chain, we can all grow together, or rather, we can all be WAPAIA
#WhereSourcingMakesSense #WhereCoffeeMakesSense #FieldDivision #Belco503