Farm: Finca Limoncillo
Producer: Mierisch Family
Process: Anaerobic Natural at low temperatures (see description)
Altitude: 850-1110 M
Certification: Direct Trade
Cupping Notes: Complex, Fruit Punch, Limes, Milk Chocolate, Raspberry Pie
Description:Fincas Mierisch has a long history of producing very high quality coffees. Coffee from Finca limoncillo was awarded 2nd place in the 2008 Cup of Excellence and has been used by two top 5 finishers in the World Barista Championship.
Named after the Limoncillo (a small type of lemon) that was already growing on the farm when it was purchased, the farm was purchased in 1930 after one of the Mierisch grandfathers made the transition from attending a military academy to civilian life. Limoncillo is the 2nd oldest coffee farm in the Fincas Mierisch group (Los Placeres is the oldest). Typica was the sole varietal grown on the farm up until the mid-1990’s, but due to climate change, unstable market pricing, and vulnerability to coffee leaf rust it was decided to diversify varietals and also focus extensively on quality over quantity.
The “Low Temperature Anaerobic Fermentation” begins with the same preparation as the traditional anaerobic fermentation. Next, fermentation tanks are placed inside a 6m X 9m X 3m cold room built inside the coffee warehouse. It is run by two industrial AC’s which keep the room between six and ten degrees Celsius. The cherries ferment for a period of 48 hours.
After spending 48 hours inside the cold room, the cherries are spread out in a thin layer on the patio under 100% sunlight where they will dry 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 the patio they are 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 the desired humidity, they are transported inside the 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. Cherries are then proceeded to be hulled and the “oro” (or green coffee) is allowed 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 48 hours at low temperatures. Cup-wise the first thing that is noticed was that the profile was much cleaner, meaning the flavors were easier to identify. There was also 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.”
The anaerobic fermentation is 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 coffee. Since most of the coffees increased in acidity, we can expect there to have been a significant amount of lactic acid produced during the fermentation.
All farms in the Fincas Mierisch group provide child day care services for workers and have access to elementary schools. Limoncillo, however, has its own primary school on site, and its own clinic. Child labor is strictly prohibited on all farms, and children are provided free meals during the harvest. Discrimination of any kind is also not permitted on our farms. Being an UTZ certified farm, yearly training is provided in better agricultural practices to employees which has helped increase yield and cup quality while also lowering production costs.