WHAT IS PURA CEPA?
The word “sustainability” is thrown around like it’s goin’ outta fashion, but Pura Cepa is the real McCoy when it comes to the “s” word. They’re using science in next level ways to improve the quality of coffee & of lives at every point of the supply chain.
YOU BUILT A WELL!
A big thanks to everyone who got behind the Pura Cepa Uganda coffees last year. The sales’ sustainability levy helped build this well, which was the community project decided upon by Rwenzori elders.
On the ground partner Andres Latorre gives the rundown:
BEFORE THE WELL WAS INSTALLED, WHERE WAS THE COMMUNITY GETTING THEIR WATER?
The only way to get water was walking to the local stream or river which is highly contaminated.
HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO THE WELL?
The population is around 28,000 people who now have access to this well. It’s drilled to 65 metres so they’ll have water throughout the dry season.
ANY WISHING WELL WORDS?
Sadly there are very few projects like these. They don’t need much money nor work. I really hope we can continue these sorts of investments in every single community we buy coffee from.
GIMME ME MORE DEETS ON HOW PURA CEPA IS SHAKIN’ THINGS UP
We really believe they’re game changers, so back in 2019 we grabbed 5 of their special Uganda lots.
This year, we’re featuring Pura Cepa Colombia This newest batch comes from the original Pura Cepa site in Colombia. We’ve chosen a Carbonic Maceration lot, a technique borrowed from Beaujolais where cherries are loaded into steel tanks, inoculated with esther yeasts & lactic bacteria, to delicious effect!
IMPROVING COFFEE ALL ROUND
Their work is all about upping coffee’s grade & having a positive impact on lives along the supply chain. How? Through a full circle approach to sustainability (economic, community, enviro), which means making things peachy from ground to grinder.
This also means that coffee that usually wouldn’t make speciality grade can (& will again, year on year ’cause of the controlled & repeatable nature of what they’re doing (see more on that below)). This in turn means producers & farmers get paid premiums, which has a huge impact on their lives.
IMPLEMENTING NEW FERMENTATION PROCESSES
Much like a great tutor, their weird n wonderful processes have helped tonnes in improving this Uganda coffee’s grade. Plus, these new coffee processes are also bringin’ to the fore delish new flavours & textures.
USING WINE SCIENCE!
They’ve cooked these new coffee processes up by borrowing from wine science. This tech helps to improve fermentation & drying – the two main areas where the biggest inefficiencies in coffee production lie & where any number of variables may cause a huge impact on the final quality of the product. This ensures things are controlled & repeatable. A bit like using scales & timers instead of just wingin’ it.
PSSSST, WHAT EXACTLY IS FERMENTATION AGAIN?
Put in simple terms, fermentation is when sugars and starches are broken down and become acids or alcohol (in the case of wine etc).
TELL ME MORE ABOUT PURA CEPA’S FERMENTATION INNOVATIONS…
This processing technique is also directly borrowed from wine science & those in the know will tell you it’s heavily associated with the French wine region of Beaujolais. In this case, the whole coffee cherries are loaded into those stainless steel tanks again without water & inoculated with their special kefir. In this environment the cherries convert oxygen to CO2 & this in turn creates pressure in the tank causing some of the cherries skin to split. This deoxygenated environment allows those specially selected bacteria & esters to intensify and further develop the flavours of the coffee.
FERMENTUM AQUA BATCH
A type of fermentation that’s done minus oxygen (anaerobic). This O2 free state is achieved by submerging depulped coffee cherries underwater into a cocktail of esters & lactic bacteria crafted to enhance the most desired flavours of the coffee, then controlled in enormous stainless steel tanks.
That’s the aqua of the name, now to the batch. These big ass tanks are filled in batches of 3 (‘cause it takes 3 go’s in 3 days to fill those bad boys). The layers all develop unique flavour profiles, with the bottom layer coming through with a winey vibe, while the top is all sparkling crispness. Mix it all up & you’ve got balance & complexity in one.
This one is a mix of fermentation processes, in this case with oxygen (aerobic) & without oxygen (anaerobic) but sans the impressive tanks (see Aqua Batch). Instead, the whole cherries are laid out on massiveraised beds & sprayed with a “kefir” of lactic bacteria & esters. This process manages to be a twofer ‘cause the cherries are out in the open & oxygen exposed, while the spray permeates under the cherry skin to ferment in an anaerobic environment.
This process is straight up aerobic fermentation. The ripe cherries have the skin removed to expose the fruit pulp, which is then sprayed with a special kefir (that blend of lactic bacteria & esters specially selected to bring out the best flavours) that interacts directly with oxygen ‘cause there’s no skin to trap it in & cut off the flow of O2.