Worka Chelbesa Carbonic Maceration
Process: Carbonic Maceration
We Taste: Peach, Black Tea, Bergamot
Vibrantly flavor-forward, yet balanced, with floral aromatics and notes of stone fruit and black tea.
About The producer:
This is another amazing coffee produced by SNAP Coffee in Ethiopia.
SNAP Coffee was founded by Negussie Debela, an Ethiopian entrepreneur who had been known for his success in the computer / digital industries prior to coffee. In 2016, Negussie was in Minnesota when he had a pour over of an Ethiopian coffee at a specialty coffee shop. Amazed by the quality, he decided to get into the coffee industry.
He returned to Ethiopia and dove in wholeheartedly, with a goal of becoming one of the best quality exporters of coffee in Ethiopia. He began by touring coffee regions and studying farming and processing, and then enlisting the help of Abenezer Asafaw, a young coffee professional, as his quality and coffee manager.
Together, they began managing coffee processing sites around Nensebo, Yirgacheffe, and Guj, bought land to build their own processing sites.
This coffee is from the kebele, or community, of Worka Chelbesa, located high in the mountains of the Gedeb region of Ethiopia. The area has risen to prominence for its coffees over the last decade. This is in large part why Negussie Debela (founder of SNAP) decided to invest in processing stations here when he entered the Ethiopian coffee scene.
Coffee cherries for this lot were harvested by hand and delivered daily by producers to the Worka Chelbesa washing station run by SNAP. All cherries are inspected upon arrival, with quality cherries approved and defects rejected.
This lot underwent carbonic maceration (CM), a process that's relatively new to coffee.
After the coffee is depulped, the cherries are submerged underwater in large tanks, weighted down with concrete blocks. This allows all the cherries to stay under water, producing a yeast fermentation in a relatively anaerobic environment—rich in CO2.
This process lasts for 96 hours, and the end result is a softer, wine-like acidity with balanced fruits & florals.
After the 96 hour fermentation period, the coffee is transferred to raised beds and dried for up to 2 weeks.
SNAP realized that when CM coffees are washed before drying, some of the brightness and fruit characteristics can be lost. So this year, they increased the fermentation time for a stronger impact.
Learn more about carbonic maceration below!
More About Carbonic Maceration:
All coffee processing involves a period of fermentation.
This aids in the process of removing the seeds from the fruits of the cherry, and can also contribute to flavor. The carbonic maceration technique used at Worka Chelbesa is similar to how some carbonic natural wines are produced, particularly in the Beaujolais region of France. As applied in Ethiopia, this method involves submerging whole coffee cherries in water under weighted screens. Some cherries at the bottom of the pile are crushed in the process, and the yeast released from these cherries produces the subsequent fermentation.
Based on the climate conditions, Worka Chelbesa cherries spend anywhere from 60-100 hours submerged in the water. Once the whole cherries have fermented sufficiently, the water is released and the cherries are sent for a light washing. After this, the coffee is dried on raised beds for 10-14 days.
As with Beaujolais and other "natural" wines, this style of carbonic maceration is known for rounding out the citric acidity, but also bringing complex fruit notes forward without some of the wilder fruit notes found in natural processing.