Hi again, coffee peeps !
Earlier last year, I was lucky enough to participate in a unique coffee cupping (tasting) session, featuring “cultured coffee” in Japan.
What is cultured coffee ?
Cultured coffee is a “new” process such as washed/natural/anaerobic.. used on green coffee beans, before roasting. Cultured can be translated as “fermented“; in the case of cultured coffee, the coffee cherries are stocked in tanks with sugar, fruits or spices. After some time, the flavors will stick to the beans.
It is an interesting take-on coffee process, as my friend was pointing out; many coffee farmers are harvesting not only coffee, but also some varieties of fruits in nearby fields. They are trying to reuse the waste and create an eco-system on their lands, therefore using the unsold fruits for fermentation to create a new source of income.
You can read more about the fermented (or cultured) coffee trend here.
Even though the beans used can be graded “specialty coffee“, there were cases where cultured coffee was not accepted as “specialty”; since (natural) flavor is added, it is difficult to judge the actual quality of beans. It is not possible to use such coffee for some competitions as it can be seen as “cheating“.
At the cupping session, I got to try two types of cultured coffee. One was fermented with oranges and pineapple and it tasted just like a piña colada ! And the other was fermented with cinnamon and other spices, tasting exactly like what you would expect of a chai tea.
I personally enjoy trying out new coffee experiences and get a taste of what tomorrow’s coffee could be.
Browsing Japanese roasters, I found out that Trunk Coffee had a limited series of cultured coffee, and one in particular caught my attention : Colombia Monteblanco Passion Fruit Washed (international shipping available), imported through Clearpath Coffee.
Being a sucker for tropical fruits, I just had to buy this one !
The smell was very floral and reminded me of french violet candies and ripe mango.
It was super fruity and not as sweet as I may have expected ! Definitely felt the mango & light passion fruit, like a tropical purée (minus the sugar) and fresh raspberry notes. It is very similar to anaerobic particular taste, something winey.
Not the kind of coffee you would drink daily nor in a latte, I think it’s best as in black (V60, Aeropress..).
My best recommendation would be to pair it with a (rich !) key lime cheesecake on a sunny afternoon, or a light seasonal sakura treat we can find around this time of the year in Japan.
Have you ever tried cultured coffee ? Can it still be recognized as specialty coffee for you ?
I think it’s great for a special occasion ! I have my eyes on some cultured coffee from roasters in Europe, I will order soon to discover more.