Exciting new flavour profiles are emerging from the Australian subtropical coffee industry as alternative processing methods are starting to unlock the potential for this traditional ‘plunger’ style coffee to produce the flavour complexities and extra body required to suit the rapidly expanding ‘espresso’ market.
The move to investigate new processing techniques began in 1997 during a visit by Dr Ernesto Illy to the production region in the hinterland behind Byron Bay. Dr Illy, Italy’s world renowned coffee ‘espresso guru’ demonstrated that the whole coffee cherry which had been naturally dried had the characteristics required to target the espresso market.
Since then, leading producers have used professional tasters to guide the development of harvesting and processing systems to deliver the distinctive flavour profile of coffee from this unique region for both the plunger and espresso markets.
This one year RIRDC project attempted to demonstrate the effect of each of the five maturity stages of cherry had on final taste when processed and tasted separately.
Results from taste tests confirmed that the prime red stage of coffee cherry maturity produced the highest and most consistent taste scores for the five flavour attributes, sweetness, balance, body, flavour and aftertaste.