- Black Tea
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This particular wet processed microlot is composed of coffee from the 2022 harvest on Nkonge hill. At 2000-2200 meters above sea level, Nkonge is one of the highest elevation collines that deliver to Heza - resulting in slow cherry maturation that tends to benefit cup quality. While Passenger’s green buying team has selected coffees from all the Heza hills in past years - many of our all-time favorites have come from Nkonge.
- Long Miles Coffee Project
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Here are the basic steps of the Long Miles team’s typical approach to wet processing at Heza:
- During the harvest season, handpicked coffee “cherries” are delivered to one of the Long Miles washing stations by local farmers.
- The cherries are checked/sorted for consistent ripeness and individual farmer deliveries are received, weighed, and recorded by the Long Miles team to ensure lot traceability and calculate farmer payment.
- Coffee cherries are then passed through a McKinnon disc pulping machine to remove the fruit from the seeds.
- Freshly pulped coffee seeds are fermented in open air tanks filled with clean water (i.e. “wet fermentation”). The reason for the fermentation stage is to help remove the sticky, sugary layer of mucilage that remains on the surface of the coffee seed after the fruit has been removed by the pulping machine. Yeasts and bacteria in the air, on the fruit, and in the water play a key role in breaking down the sugars in the coffee’s mucilage.
- After 12-18 hours of wet fermentation, the coffee is washed in grading channels (removing defective seeds and sorting by density) at which point the mucilage has been completely cleaned away and a handful of formerly sticky coffee seeds feel smooth to the touch, like river pebbles.
- At this stage, the coffee undergoes a post-fermentation soak in clean water, usually for 8-10 hours.
- Following the soak, the beautifully processed coffee “parchment” is spread out on raised beds and carefully dried in the sun until the coffee reaches its target moisture content. Drying is usually completed in approximately 30 days.
- Freezing Coffee: Why We Do It And What It Involves
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Thanks to Passenger’s practice of preserving our green coffee inventory in an off-site freezer facility, we are able to curate our menu with an archival (rather than strictly seasonal) focus. At the time of writing, we are excited to add this beautiful 2022 Nkonge harvest selection to the Reserve Lot menu - creating a unique opportunity to taste it alongside a pristine Heza Foundational selection (also from Nkonge hill!) from the previous year’s harvest.