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The Roasters Pack

Frank Torres and 100-hour Anaerobic Natural Fermentation

01/11/2023

Frank Torres’ farm, Finca La Indonesia, is located in La Union, Nariño, a small town in western Colombia. This farm has been in the Torres family for over 40 years. Torres now oversees the production of coffee on seven of the farm’s eight hectares.

“Thanks to the efforts of farmers like Frank, this area has been transformed from one of illicit trade and violence, into a resilient community dedicated to growing specialty coffee,” shared Jeff Fleming of Apex Coffee Importers.

Torres grew up on Finca La Indonesia and every Sunday would go into La Union to help his parents trade their crops. He began his own coffee career as a green coffee buyer for exporters and importers. He has also worked for Starbucks’ specialty coffee program and is a certified Q grader.

This experience has helped Torres develop his family’s traditional coffee farm into one that is now renowned for its innovation and creativity. Over 90% of Finca La Indonesia is organic, allowing him to preserve soil conditions and keep bacteria and pests away from his crops.

Torres also has innovative practices when it comes to processing coffee. For example, this coffee went through a 100-hour anaerobic natural fermentation.

“Anaerobic fermentation means that it is fermenting in a closed container. He measures the Brix content that develops in the coffee, which gives Torres control over what flavours develop in the coffee,” Rufus Cavan, the co-owner of Cavan Coffee told us.

Brix is a unit of measurement that describes the dissolved sugar content in a solution. This is used in winemaking to determine the sugar content in the grapes and therefore the potential alcohol level. In the case of coffee, the sugar presence is important to know because it impacts the aromatics and the overall flavour profile.

The anaerobic process involves Torres storing the coffee cherries in pressurized plastic tanks. The pressure is released periodically every 5-6 hours. The temperature in the tanks is monitored and as a result, he has complete control over the entire fermentation process, which is rare for coffee producers.

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