How Does Fermentation Affect Coffee Flavour Development?

In 2015, Sasa Sestic won the World Barista Championship with a coffee that had been washed carbonic macerated, an innovative fermentation method. Two years later, he has his own farms and is consequently even more interested in fermentation.

In fact, last month, he spoke at Re;co in Budapest on the impact of controlling fermentation on flavour development, coffee quality, and price sustainability. He agreed to provide us with some information about his presentation.

coffee beans

Why Do We Need to Talk About Fermentation?

One thing that Sasa is firm about is that we know so little about fermentation – but it’s so important.

At Re;co, he said, “While travelling all over the world, tasting coffees and experimenting with processing with over 50 producers, and also on my farms, I realised that there are a lot of inconsistencies in traditional processing techniques. And most of these inconsistencies are coming from fermentation.”

In fact, he explains, “[Fermentation] is where we have increased, and also decreased, the quality of coffee, in some instances, by eight points.” When most specialty coffees cup somewhere between 80 and 92 points out of 100, eight points is a phenomenal difference.

coffee fermentation

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