The Future - Chocolate Covered Strawberries
The Future has been a beloved staple on our year-round menu for quite awhile now. With it, we have been able to showcase excellence in processing techniques, particularly in regard to anaerobic fermentation. In the past, we have predominantly featured coffees from Colombia in this blend, though lots from Ethiopia, Costa Rica, and Peru have played a part in its conception as well. This year, however, we are shifting our focus away from the individual components of the blend and instead elevating flavor as the guiding principle for each creation.
You'll see several installments of this concept throughout the year, and today's release is the second in this flavor-forward series. At the risk of coming off a little "on the nose," we've named this delightful blend: Chocolate-Covered Strawberries ...just in time for Valentine's Day.
MEET THE PRODUCERS | In our efforts to re-imagine this iconic Valentine treat in coffee form, we blended two distinctly beautiful coffees from Colombia and Panama, respectively. Both lots underwent intense and interesting methods of processing which contribute to their uniquely wonderful flavor profiles, and their collective journey made them the perfect components for this cup.
Jairo Arcila (Quindio, Colombia) | The Arcila family coffee empire has spanned over 80 years in Colombia, and since 2015 they have focused their efforts on producing, sourcing, and exporting some of the finest specialty coffee in the country. As producers, they specialize in alternative fermentation processes, and Jairo in particular is renown for his interesting and impeccably executed processing experiments. He prides himself on achieving unique flavor profiles that are not common among Colombian coffees, and this strawberry maceration inoculation lot (say that ten times fast!) is yet another triumph in that endeavor.
Jose Porta (Chiriquí, Panama) | For this lot, our friends at Creative Coffee District (CCD) partnered with Jose Porta, a newcomer to the industry who's already making waves in the Chiriquí region of Panama. Although he's only been working in coffee for a little over two years, he is passionate in his pursuit of agricultural excellence, and his partnership with the processing wizards at CCD is proving to be a very (forgive our pun here) fruitful one.
TRUST THE PROCESS | Jairo could likely co-ferment coffee in his sleep! We've featured several of his co-fermentation experiments on our menu over the years, both as stand-alone offerings and as invaluable contributions to many of these such blends. For his strawberry-kissed Castillo lot, the coffee cherries are pulped before being placed in sealed plastic bags for a round of extended anaerobic fermentation. The coffee ferments in mucilage alongside a mixture of honey and dried strawberries for about 72 hours. After the co-fermentation period, the cherries are pulped and spread out to dry on raised beds alongside their macerated strawberry friends until optimal moisture content is achieved.
For Jose's coffee, the processing gurus at CCD implemented a fermentation strategy known as Dynamic Cherry. In this process, the cherries were spread out on a warm patio for two days prior to undergoing fermentation. This step reduces the moisture content in the bean so that there is not enough water available to promote bacteriological reactions outside of the bean, but there IS enough to aid enzymatic ones within it. The purpose of all of this is to decrease the risk of fungal development in those early days, and it also serves to prolong the fermentation process considerably. This particular lot underwent anaerobic fermentation in plastic bags for 83 hours - though some batches have taken as long as three weeks! The coffee cherries are then spread out on patios for drying, until 9.2% moisture content is achieved.
TAKE A SIP | In terms of flavor, this coffee is bookended by the components of its namesake. On the nose, you'll immediately experience a pronounced strawberry aroma, and the first sip is full of red fruit and sweetness, reminding us of strawberry jam. The finish is sweet and silky, reminding us of craft chocolate - the special kind you can only get at bean-to-bar operations, like Videri Chocolate Factory here in Raleigh. Together with that delightfully wine-y component from Jose's Catuai lot, this coffee also reminds of something we love to enjoy with chocolate-covered strawberries: a red fruit-forward wine with a chocolatey finish, like Malbec. Cheers, lovers.
Origins | Armenia, Quindio, Colombia | Boquete, Chiriquí, Panama
Producers | Jairo Arcila | Jose Porta
Farms | Finca Santa Monica | La Alquería
Processes | Strawberry co-ferment | Dynamic Cherry
Varieties | Castillo | Catuai
Elevations | 1500 masl | 1460 masl