QUESTION: What is carbonic maceration coffee? I just saw an ad for some and I don’t even know what to think that is. – Paul S
ANSWER: Carbonic maceration is actually a wine making technique that has been around a long time that was adapted for coffee processing. It’s also sometimes called anaerobic fermentation. That means that the coffee beans are fermented without oxygen. Ripe coffee cherries are placed inside a hermetically sealed stainless steel tank and left to undergo an anaerobic fermentation. Such fermentation process brings out a more intense aroma and flavor, according to the companies that sell this type of coffee.
There are different approaches to carbonic maceration. Some growers will just put the coffee cherries in a sealed tank and let it naturally ferment, which creates a carbon dioxide rich environment. But other growers will actually flush the tank with CO2 to speed up the process, because fermentation can take a long time with no oxygen otherwise.
Growers will also sometimes try to change the temperatures to affect the outcome. But some growers still keep it very simple and just add the coffee cherries to a sealed tank and let it create its own CO2 over time as it ferments with no temperature controls.
Here are some interesting carbonic maceration coffees you should consider trying to see what you think! Some of these types of coffees have won awards, so we think there’s probably something to it.