Triple Ferment Process and Green Coffee Grading - Kenya Style
The Triple Ferment Process, also known as the 72-hour process, is a crucial part of the wet processing method used to produce high-quality coffee in Kenya. The process involves three stages of fermentation, each with its unique purpose.
The first stage is called the primary fermentation, which begins immediately after the cherry is pulped. During this stage, the coffee beans are left to ferment for around 24 hours, allowing enzymes to break down the sticky mucilage layer that surrounds the bean.
The second stage, or secondary fermentation, involves washing the coffee beans to remove the remaining mucilage and transferring them to a clean fermentation tank for another 24 hours of fermentation. This stage is crucial in removing any leftover impurities, resulting in a clean and bright coffee flavor.
The third and final stage is known as the tertiary fermentation, which is sometimes referred to as "resting" the coffee. In this stage, the coffee is washed one more time and left to soak in clean water for up to 24 hours to remove any lingering fruit flavors. This results in a cleaner and more distinct flavor profile, with the unique and powerful flavors that Kenyan coffee is known for.
The Triple Ferment Process is just one example of the meticulous attention to detail and commitment to quality that sets Kenyan coffee apart. By carefully managing each step of the process, Kenyan coffee producers are able to create exceptional coffee that is sought after by coffee lovers around the world.
In addition to the meticulous processing methods, the quality of Kenyan coffee is further ensured through a grading system that categorizes beans based on size, density, and defects. The most well-known grades are AA and AB, although there are several others.
Kenya AA grade coffee consists of the largest beans, which are known for their bold flavors, intense aroma, and bright acidity. These beans are typically associated with the highest quality and often fetch a premium price on the market. Kenya AB grade coffee, on the other hand, represents beans that are slightly smaller in size compared to AA, but still maintain a high level of quality. These beans exhibit a similar flavor profile, with a balance of acidity, body, and aroma.
Some other coffee grades in Kenya include PB (Peaberry), C, E, TT, and T. Peaberry is a unique, round-shaped bean that occurs when a coffee cherry produces only one seed instead of two. These beans are considered a specialty and often exhibit a distinct flavor. The C, E, TT, and T grades consist of smaller and lighter beans or those with more defects, leading to a lower market value.
The grading system in Kenya plays a vital role in maintaining and promoting the high quality of Kenyan coffee, ensuring that only the best beans make their way to consumers and helping to preserve the unique flavors and characteristics that Kenyan coffee is celebrated for.