Carbonic maceration is a unique coffee processing method, inspired by techniques from the wine industry, which can result in some incredibly distinctive and flavorful coffees. The term "carbonic maceration" indicates that the coffee has been fermented in a carbon-rich environment. So how is it made? There are three main steps:
This technique can bring forth a spectrum of flavors. The carbon-rich, sealed environment promotes internal enzymatic breakdown of sugars in the cherries, giving these coffees vibrant fruit notes and wine-like flavors. The mouthfeel tends to be smooth and velvety as a result of the production of alcohol, which thrives in low oxygen environments. However, the exact sensory characteristics can vary widely based on the coffee's origin and specific conditions during fermentation, as well as roasting profile.