Who is at the Edge of Processing

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Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby HuntSlade on Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:58 pm

I mean, who is experimenting with processing and has the resources both fiscal and scientific to back up the projects and findings? You guys have to know who is putting their innovation dollars into processing.
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby HuntSlade on Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:43 pm

150 views from arguably one of the finest groups of coffee minds in the world, and not a single reply? Do we not know what's going on in processing or are we just not telling? I want to learn!!
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby Alistair Durie on Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:13 pm

150 views doesn't mean those are views by members. Also, I think perhaps your question is a little open ended. There are a huge number of growers experimenting with processing techniques, could you be more specific about what you're looking for?
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby HuntSlade on Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:53 am

Actually, knowing who just a few of those huge number of producers are that are experimenting with processing would help me refine the broad question into several more focused questions. I have only a rudimentary understanding of processing basics at this point, having never been to origin and seen first hand the processes themselves. The few texts that I have had access to have given me that much, but I think i can learn much more from having a dialog with some individuals that are actually pushing innovation in processing. Of course, there is no replacement for face-to-face and hands-on experience, but reading and conversing will just have to do for now. I would just like to know who are some of the more prominent people doing this now, so I have a jumping off point to continue my search for coffee understanding. Otherwise, I am likely to be openendedly awash in the Googlean ocean of rabbit trails. Thanks for any help or guidance, all.
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby Robert Goble on Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:06 pm

Processing is a big open ended word itself can be unique to a country, region, climate, culture or even farm/co-op... Pretty much everyone in specialty coffee that is on the ground or participating at origin is engaged in some fashion at improving processing or at least quantifying what various processing metrics produce the coffee we so desire. As for the Edge of processing -- processing has many edges (often again unique) so there's no one edge or single point. Think of it more like a circle where those on the inside are expanding outwards across the whole of the circumference to redefine the limits of knowledge. Maybe pick a region or a broad processing method - like dry processing - and engage in dialogue about that. But I would first spend my time in the dreaded google sea making sure I can come to the table with some demonstrative understanding of where things are - then focus your questions or discussion on the areas you are less sure about or want to know more about. If you bring something to the table you are more likely to invite participation. There are lots of folks here doing and working with others that are doing amazing things on the processing fronts - bring something to the table and I'm sure they'll be pleased to be engaged by you. I wish you luck because I too would love to know more about what the state of the nation (or nations) is as it relates to processing.

R.
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby nick on Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:58 pm

Daryn Berlin is doing a type of processing that I've never heard anyone do before. I don't remember if he has a Coffeed account to talk about it here. *shrug*
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby SL28ave on Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:23 am

Daterra is clearly one. The SPREAD Project has facilitated some neat experiments in Rwanda. Of course there are many others, each with their unique strengths.

These days simple things are going a long way, such as small-scale Colombian farmers drying their coffee on ventilated raised beds rather than concrete patios. VIRMAX knows a lot about that.

Good luck!
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby phaelon56 on Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:30 am

HuntSlade wrote:150 views from arguably one of the finest groups of coffee minds in the world, and not a single reply? Do we not know what's going on in processing or are we just not telling? I want to learn!!

I was one of those 150 views and opened the thread in order to learn what details you were in search of and in what areas of processing. There was no additional clarification and thus, like others, I did not reply. It should also be noted that, like many in this forum, I have no direct exposure to processing at origin but read threads like this in order to learn.
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby HuntSlade on Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:27 am

Thanks Nick and Peter - I have found a couple of leads to run down and yours just added to the pile. I have found that when I am ready to dig deeper into a subject, all I have to do is find the innovators and studying their work will very often include a comprehensive knowledge of the traditionally accepted methods of the work being done as well as the whys and hows of the new approaches they are pursuing. Thanks for not playing the 'must be this tall to ride' game that plagues some corners of the industry. I'll post back with some findings.
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby HuntSlade on Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:56 pm

Nick - window-screen-on-the-heat-vent-pulp natural method - HA! Fantastic! Thanks for the laugh
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby Sandy on Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:26 pm

Ditto on having read the post and having no information to contribute.
Perhaps this subject would be a great opportunity for the Barista Guild to share with its members!

Miquel Meza seems to have a lot of information and is currently working in Hawaii. Perhaps he would chime in- (or you can find him on Facebook).

Also, i've found that Scribd has what seems to be more accurate and thorough information than what i've been able to scrape from google- for instance:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/13237376/coffee


Great topic BTW. Something we all (especially us Baristas) should but don't always know more about.



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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby Robert Goble on Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:40 pm

http://www.jimseven.com/2010/02/10/the- ... ment-98291

Here's another link the a great discussion about naturals on James' Blog.
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby HuntSlade on Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:10 pm

Yeah - the naturals debate on Jimseven has been great to keep up with. I love it when heavy hitters kick a subject back and forth like that - I get so many things to look up and research from it, not to mention the knowledge and experience that just pours out of them.

Sandy - Meza's name keeps coming up in the processing search, so I am hoping to hook up with him.
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby Jon Brudvig on Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:36 am

Ninety Plus.
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby HuntSlade on Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:50 am

I have tried to contact Ninety Plus a half dozen times over the last year and never got so much as an email in return. Is there a secret password or am I just not holding my tongue right? I hear great things about the company and product but have never been able to get into the website or get anyone on the phone. Still holding hope, though.
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby R Miguel Meza on Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:54 pm

what is it that you really are trying to learn about processing, what is your goal? who is the market for this coffee? i have done more experiments than i can count at this point with variations on fermentation and naturals and pulped naturals and even additives in processing. i can tell you a lot of what not to do and how to do things well with certain styles but there is no magic formula for creating great coffee. what will work best for you depends on the environment, resources and equipment you have access to. i'd be happy to point you in the direction of some things to try , but ultimately it will take a lot of experimentation, cupping, more experimentation and more cupping and hard work to refine various processing styles to work best in your situation. for example if its very humid or wet and you don't have access to some sort of heated or green house building or mechanical dryers you are likely to have problems doing pulped natural or natural coffees. or may only be able to do them during certain parts of the season when the environment is appropriate and you have the space and manpower to attend to them properly.

best of luck. if you have any specific questions on certain types of processing and can tell me a little more about the what your trying to accomplish and what you have access to resource wise i'll be happy to point you in the right direction of some things to try
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby Peter G on Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:21 pm

Hunt-

Sorry it's taken a while to respond. It's a big question, and there are lots of answers.

True, there are lots of coffee farmers out there at the moment who are doing ad-hoc experiments on their own farms, discovering how processing impacts their own coffee. The intention and desire is to enhance the quality of the coffee on their own farm, and explore the enhanced flavors (and enhanced income) that can come along with better/different processing. Often, these experiments are supported by a roaster-partner, who may help design the experiment, do the cupping, buy the experimental coffee (good or bad), etc. Here are some individual farmers (or farms or cooperatives) who I have firsthand knowledge of who have done this kind of experimentation:

Aida Batlle, Abdullah Bagersh, Graciano Cruz, the Peterson Family, CENFROCAFE Peru, Miguel Meza...

The roasters/buyers I know of who have supported this kind of work are Intelligentsia, my company (Counter Culture), Novo Coffee/Joseph Brodsky/90plus, Willem Boot...

I am sure I have left lots of names off of the above, and I apologize to anyone I have met who I left off this list. I look forward to farmers/buyers who have supported this kind of experimentation to add to the above list!!! Please let us know if you are doing this kind of work!!!

Now, the above cannot fairly be called "research". It is very specific and practical, aimed at a particular farm or a particular buyer, and meant to be useful ,NOT scientific. Scientific research is a different thing and requires a different standard of design and analysis. Scientific bodies who do research are often funded by a coffee-growing country's government, like the Colombian Coffee Federation's research lab, CATIE in Costa Rica, ITRI in Indonesia, CRF in Kenya, ISIC in El Salvador, etc. etc. etc. You might also check out international players like CIRAD, CIAT, and ASIC. Confused by all the acronyms? Me too. ASIC would be a good place to start, but be prepared to put on your research cap. Unfortunately, not much of this kind of research is available to (or understandable by) the ordinary coffee professional. This is a problem, but there is an exciting development aimed at changing this (see the end of the email for a teaser). One thing deserves mention here: beginning in 2006, Intelligentsia and Counter Culture (forgive any perceived self-promotion, I'm just trying to share) cooperated with the PEARL/SPREAD project to do a series of research projects in Rwanda in processing. The experiments were collaboratively designed, and overseen by Dr. Tim Shilling. Results were shared with the Roasters Guild members at the 2007 and 2008 Roasters Guild Retreats, and at the SCAA Symposium last year. I mention this to point out that it is possible for all roasters/buyers to collaborate with researchers and support real scientific study. Big, big multinational buyers often support research, but rarely share the results. I prevail on all Specialty folks to do our best to share the results of our work. Coffeed has been a great clearinghouse of this so far, as have the Roasters Retreats. SCAA Symposium was designed for just this purpose.

And here's where I get to tease you guys: a project is afoot that may change the way coffee research is done, and what is available to the coffee community. It's a big deal, and it's building. The project will be unveiled at this year's Symposium. I hate to be cagey, but I can't really say any more just yet. Come to Symposium or be in contact with someone who will be there to learn more. I'll share as much as I can with you guys as things evolve.

Mysteriously yours, I hope this has been some help Hunt,

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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby Peter G on Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:25 pm

p.s. Hunt...

As you go through the wonderful process of learning and questioning, I strongly suggest that you post specific questions up here. This creates a scenario where people who know the answer can post it, or opinions, or whatever. Everyone gets to read the discourse, and it contributes to the total intelligence of our community. I know that was a big part of Alistair's idea when he started this thing. Most people are afraid to ask, but please do! I think it is good for all of us.

Peter G
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby ninetyplus on Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:54 pm

Very interesting commentary here. Saw our name mentioned and wanted to post a clarification.

Ninety Plus Coffee is a producer-based entity with coffee development projects. Ninety Plus provides ongoing feedback and participates in collaborative decision making in processing protocol/organizational shifts at the ground level. It also works heavily in the tasting-lab analysis and in a market relationship/distribution capacity for the green coffees it develops.

Ninety Plus Coffee is distinct from Novo Coffee - a Colorado-based roaster and retailer known for purveying leading specialty roasted coffees throughout North America.

Ninety Plus processing science has been developed collaboratively with producer partners in Ethiopia and Latin America. The Hartmann family in Panama and the Zamora family in Guatemala can be added to the list of NP processing science collaborators.

NP is on the west coast this week for those interested in tasting new project coffees for 2010.

We learn more with every experiment. We live for the discovery.
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby HuntSlade on Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:30 am

Thanks to Steve Holt at Ninety Plus for the phone call and spending some time with me talking about NP's approach to coffee development and the experimentation that goes hand in hand with that.

I think what I have learned from researching the many companies and individuals that you have all mentioned is that the the natural, wet, and pulp natural processes of preparing coffee are as fluid as the individuals who carry out this work. It appears that these "families" of processing have as many branches as a family tree and are tweaked and adjusted, not just from origin to origin or even farm to farm, but from picking to picking and even day to day as is necessary. In fact, I feel like I have uncovered just enough of the reality of all of this to earn to right to get buried in thousands of hours more of study! I really hope to be in various origins soon to observe and perhaps take part in processing as it is done wherever I may end up.

Thank you all for the leads you provided. The rabbit hole is indeed deep.
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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby Mike Gregory on Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:29 am

I would also recommend getting in touch with the mill El Borbollon in El Salvador; they would be happy to talk with you.

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Re: Who is at the Edge of Processing

Postby Emily Oak on Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:33 am

At the end of 2009 we participated in a study group/processing experiment being run out of Indonesia by the University of Sydney and the Australian Government.

You can read more here:

https://www.aasca.com/news/eastern-indo ... l-welcome/
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