Carbonic Maceration Process Coffee

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:

• Initial selection: coffee cherries are first sorted to remove low density floaters.
• Airtight storage: the cherries are placed in an airtight tank with a one-way valve, ensuring a controlled oxygen level.
• Controlled fermentation: depending on the producer's approach, the carbon-rich environment is either created by the natural off-gassing from the cherries or by introducing CO2 directly into the tanks. Whether using whole cherries or pulped seeds, enzymes and microbes break down sugars, releasing carbon dioxide and alcohol, which shape the coffee's flavor profile.

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.