Colombia Circasia Edwin Noreña Double Carbonic Chili Mossto Fermented Honey Bourbon
I tasted this coffee at the Royal Coffee booth at SCA booth in Portland, OR and I was blown away. I never had a coffee like this and new I needed to get it. I had no problem paying the hefty price for this unique coffee. If you like unusual experimental coffee then you definitely have to try this coffee
Crown Jewel Colombia Circasia Edwin Noreña Double Carbonic Chili Mossto Fermented Honey Bourbon
Flavor Profile Cranberry, ginger, chili, mint, caramel, chocolate
Grower Edwin Noreña | Finca Campo Hermoso
Region Circasia Municipality, Quindío Department, Colombia
Elevation 1600 masl
Processes Double Carbonic Chili-Mossto Fermented, Honey process. Dried on raised beds.
For as ridiculous as this coffee’s name and processing imply, the cup doesn’t stray all that far from “coffee flavor.” I suspect this is partly because Edwin Noreña’s methods are intended to enhance the original flavors of the cultivar and terroir, rather than alter them.
It’s an interesting undertaking for this particular bean, as Noreña has leaned into a somewhat divisive flavor note and really pulled off what I think is an excellent example of fermentation innovation in a way that’s just balanced enough to be enjoyable but just unconventional enough to grab your attention.
Our word cloud is peppered with notes of various spices, ginger and of course chili rising to the surface. The coffee isn’t “spicy” per se, but rather seems to have the flavor without the heat of these unique tasting notes.
Beneath these flavors, cranberry, chocolate, and caramel provide structure for adjacent flavors like black tea, lemon, mint, and a candy-like sweetness. It’s a wild ride, but one that I’m legitimately fond of and thrilled to share with curious coffee drinkers ready to take the next step into experimental methods in coffee flavors.
This is an experimental coffee, co-fermented anaerobically with aji chili pepper infused mossto, from Quindío, Colombia, produced by Edwin Noreña on his farm, Finca Campo Hermoso.
The flavor profile is unconventional and we found notes of ginger, cranberry, chili, and dark chocolate.
Source Analysis by Chris Kornman with Charlie Habegger
Co-fermentation in coffee is highly experimental and wildly controversial, and it’s worth investigating what exactly this coffee is, how it’s been processed, and who is responsible.
Edwin Noreña is the farmer and inheritor of Finca Campo Hermoso, following three prior generations. Edwin’s contribution to the family legacy would be to convert the farm into a specialty coffee powerhouse, with a specific focus on fermentation technique and cultivar selection. Noreña is an agro-industrial engineer by trade with graduate-level studies in biotechnology and is well-connected and highly aspirational coffee producer who focuses on cultivating carefully curated varieties paired with precise processing methods, designed to express the most surprising, memorable, and delicious coffees possible within his resources. Finca Campo Hermoso concentrates on growing cultivars far apart from the nationally-distributed hybrids of Castillo or Colombia, or the traditional Caturra. Instead the farm has in production Pink and Yellow Bourbon, Sidra, Gesha, and Cenicafe 1, a relatively new resistant hybrid developed Colombia’s national coffee research institute of the same name.
Noreña explained his methods and philosophy recently in an interview. His audacious-sounding coffee could be taken as evidence of the producer’s (figurative) intoxication with fermentation’s power. However, for Noreña his application of these processes is intended to be in service of the coffee’s inherent flavors, emerging out of respect. “It was a development that we adapted from the world of wine to enhance the flavors of coffee, always trying to intensify each coffee process using the original coffee flavors.”
This is evidenced by Noreña’s reliance on the coffee’s mossto as a primary additive. He’s literally just adding extra coffee juice and selected microbes from a previous fermentation batch of the same cultivar. “Mossto is a catalyst that helps to accelerate, control and enhance chemical reactions during coffee fermentation,” he explains.
Ok, so what exactly is happening with this Carbonic Chili process? Let’s break it down:
Noreña picked this coffee from Bourbon trees, using a brix meter to selectively harvest, after which the cherries soak underwater for about an hour. Primary fermentation takes 96 hours and occurs in whole cherry, in a sealed tank, which is infused with Aji “Chili Mossto.” (Mossto, or “must,” is used here to indicate the runoff of a prior fermentation batch.) The coffee is then pulped and set for secondary fermentation with a fresh chili pepper mossto infusion for an additional 48 hours. This heavily fermented “honey” coffee is then taken to raised beds to dry for 22 days, followed by a controlled warehouse humidity stabilization for an additional 8 days.
The result is nothing like you’ve ever experienced before. As an avowed chili and fermentation enthusiast, there’s something about this coffee that resonates with me. I’m not ashamed to say that I love it, and I think you should try it.