If you pay attention to the coffee market, then you will know that a lot of good things in the world of coffee come from Costa Rica. Costa Rica is often at the forefront of coffee experimentation.
In recent years, they have really started to focus on producing anaerobic coffee. So, what is it? How is it made? Why would you want to drink it? All of those questions, and a couple more, will be answered on this page!
What is anaerobic coffee?
Anaerobic coffee is a coffee that was fermented in an environment that lacks oxygen.
Now, fermenting coffee isn’t anything new. All coffee gets fermented. However, normal coffee will be fermented in an oxygen-rich environment. The coffee beans will often be spread out over a larger area. The beans will then ferment a little bit (the sugar is broken down by the water).
This is what helps to develop the flavor that coffee is known for. Fermentation is the key to proper coffee notes. If it goes wrong, then the entire batch of coffee has been wasted.
Anaerobic coffee is different. As we said, it is not fermented in an open-air environment. Instead, it is thrown into massive containers. CO2 is pumped into them, and the oxygen is forced out.
The coffee will then be left to ferment in this oxygen-deprived environment. This creates a completely different taste for the coffee bean. We will talk more about that in a short while.
How is anaerobic coffee made?
The process of making anaerobic coffee is fairly simple, assuming that you have the right equipment available to you.
The main piece of equipment in anaerobic coffee production is a stainless steel tank. This tank has been designed to be completely sealed from the outside. This means that once the oxygen has been removed from the tank, nothing else can get in.
The process of anaerobic coffee starts with the coffee being pulped. This means removing the seeds from the coffee bean. Those coffee beans will then be added to the bottom of the tank.
The next step is for the coffee producer to grab the mucilage. This is part of the coffee cherry that surrounds the seed. It has a honey-like consistency to it. This is all squashed down into a very thick gel. This part is important.
The producer may opt to add some extra flavors to the mucilage at this point. This can add different flavor profiles, something you can’t really do through normal fermentation.
When the gel has been made, the coffee mucilage will be spread all over the seeds. The tank will then be sealed at this point. Some producers may completely remove the oxygen. However, if the tank has been sealed properly, this isn’t a requirement. The fermentation process will convert that oxygen to CO2 (Carbon Dioxide), so the oxygen will disappear pretty quickly anyway.
The fermentation process can take up to 24-hours. How long it takes will be dependent on what the producer is trying to do. They will regularly be checking the acidity of the fermenting mixture. They may add extra additives to the mix to balance everything out and create a more consistent flavor.
One of the major benefits of the anaerobic coffee making process is that the producer has a lot more control over the fermentation process. They get a control that you could only ever dream of if you were fermenting coffee normally.
This means that the taste of the coffee, once the process has been nailed, should be quite consistent. It is never going to be influenced by the outside environment, the quality of the air, or how hot it is. All of this can hamper the taste of normal coffee.
If you look at anaerobic coffee being made in Costa Rica and elsewhere, you will see that the fermenting coffee is often checked by the producer. Their goal is to help maintain proper PH levels. This is what creates that consistent taste.
How does anaerobic coffee taste?
Due to the way in which anaerobic coffee is made, it has a different flavor profile from your standard coffee.
As you can probably guess, the process of making anaerobic coffee means that it is going to be stewing in its own juices. This allows the flavors to really impregnate that coffee bean.
The result is a coffee bean that has a far fruitier taste than you would normally get from coffee. In fact, anaerobic coffee can have a variety of different flavors depending on the additives that have been put into the mix, as well as the base starting bean.
Most anaerobic coffee tastes a bit creamier than your typical coffee. It will also have lost a little bit of the bitterness. Not so much that it doesn’t taste like coffee, but the sweeter, fruitier flavors are going to be a lot more prominent. Some people have likened the taste to pineapples, cherries, and maybe even a touch of lemon. It is all about how the producer works to ferment that coffee.
Why drink anaerobic coffee?
There are no real health benefits to trying anaerobic coffee. Any health benefits that you get from anaerobic coffee are also going to come from standard coffee too. So, why drink anaerobic coffee? Well, it is because the taste of it is completely different.
Anaerobic coffee is probably not going to be for everybody. If you do not like those fruity notes, then anaerobic coffee is going to taste odd. If you are not a fan of the bitterness of coffee, or you prefer a far more consistent taste to whatever it is you are drinking, then anaerobic coffee is going to be perfect for you.
In our opinion, if you are a coffee lover, you should try anaerobic coffee at least once in your life. You may love it. You may hate it. You won’t know until you try. It isn’t the cheapest coffee in the world due to the more complex way that it has been made, but if you can try out a couple of different types from the main producers, then you will end up getting a coffee experience that you never thought you could have. That is the true joy of drinking coffee, right? There is something a little bit different around every corner!