Controlled Fermentation: flavor and technology in beans


Control, technology and scientific methodologies. These are the characteristics and advantages of Nucoffee's controlled fermentation process.

A result from another partnership with the Universidade Federal de Lavras (UFLA), the project puts into practice a research designed to select microbial populations associated with coffee processing; assess the positive effect of selected microbial strains on different coffee species and coffee-growing areas; and understand their physiological roles for improving the quality and safety. All this to benefit both the producer and the end consumer with tastier and better scored coffees.

With this in mind, the investigator Rosane Schwan, technical coordinator of the controlled fermentation project, selected a bank of yeasts likely to influence the coffee´s taste and aroma. 

Unlike other processes, in which the microorganisms used in fermentation are the same as those used for beers and wines, in Nucoffee's controlled fermentation process, the selected microorganisms that have emerged over the last 20 years come from the coffee environment itself (microbiota). 

“We have more than 3,000 microorganisms to be tested and selected so as to bring positive results to the sensory profile of processed coffees,” says Rosane.

Controlled fermentation is a process carried out on freshly harvested or pulped coffee cherries, under controlled conditions, resulting from the action of microorganisms added as starter cultures. It can be divided into the following steps:

1. Control of beans;
2. Selection and innoculation of yeasts to coffee;
3. Monitoring of the process;
4. Drying

The controlled and monitored use of such microorganisms provides better results in the post-harvest of crops.

“Controlled fermentation enhances the beans, enriching their sensory potential, and providing more floral and fruity coffees, with differentiated flavors,” explains the UFLA investigator.


Differences in the controlled fermentation coffee flavor wheel 

After the research controlled fermentation process, the characteristics and scores of beans have been analyzed, achieving an improvement of more than 4 points, exceeding the reference score of 85 points.

In addition, their sensory nuances have obtained other scores.
“We are confident because, unlike the empirical processes that render good results in one year, but do not replicate the results in the following year, the controlled process with starter cultures proposed by Nucoffee, which we call Controlled Fermentation, offers consistent results in the sensory profile year after year”, highlights Juan Gimenes, Nucoffee’s Marketing and New Project Manager.


First controlled fermentation micro lots available

The first bean micro lots undergoing controlled fermentation were made available to partner roasters of Nucoffee in early October.

Beans of four species (Catuaí Vermelho 144 and 51, Catuaí Amarelo 62, Acaiá Cerrado 474/19) came from eight different Brazilian regions, uniquely in the State of Minas Gerais:

1. Capelinha;
2 and 3. Vargem Bonita;
4 and 5. Campos Altos;
6 and 7. Coromandel and
8. Carmo de Minas.

“The lots available for sale are derived from tests carried out with Nucoffee producers. In this first year of technology validation, the proposal is to return the full sale amount to each of the producers in a transparent manner”, states Gimenes.


About the controlled fermentation research

To potentiate and diversify the sensory quality of coffee, the controlled fermentation research was carried out in loco, with yeasts collection, control of starter cultures and time, temperature and pH monitoring.

In this research, the species Saccharomyces cerevisiae (CCMA 0543) and Torulaspora delbrueckii (CCMA 0684) were used, providing the natural coffee microbiota from different Brazilian origins, in the following types of coffees: Coffea arabica L. and Coffea canephora, Natural pulped and natural. 

More than 200 samples from the Southern regions of Minas Gerais, Mantiqueira de Minas, Cerrado Mineiro, Matas de Minas and Montanhas do Espírito Santo were investigated.


Offer list Nucoffee

Are you interested in Nucoffee's controlled fermentation beans? Keep an eye on our Offer List. Information is available on Nucoffee portal and is also updated and emailed to our partners.