Treshell wrote: > I believe you're referring to immature undeveloped beans, also known as
So could you or ? Talk more about these floaters? Do they like any Origin
flavor? How are they used? How would we know they were floaters?
When the coffee cherries are picked they get dumped into a tank of water. Under-ripe and bug chewed cherries tend to float, and they are siphoned off through a pipe high up on the tank. The wet mill doesn't waste time depulping them, they are channeled to a spot on the drying patio by themselves. After drying they get dry milled and sold as low grade coffee, which ends up sold in the country of origin, mainly, and sometimes go into cheap decaf or flavored cans or bricks and exported. Some floaters don't float enough to be removed during the first stage of wet milling. Maybe there's high demand to get a heavy harvest processed quickly and the tank is too crammed with cherry, sometimes they just get stuck to good ripe cherry. and get pulled down to the pipe lower down that moves the good cherry away to a second tank to be depulped , then fermented and washed A good dry mill is able to sort out most of the bad beans, but unless they get double milled a few get through and if
the percentage is very low their off flavors aren't noticeable in the cup.
Dry processing the cherries relies totally on the people hand sorting when placing the cherry to dry, and the dry mill to finish the sorting later. I think that in Brazil they rely mostly on machine sorting. Some places like Yemen are only now getting around to building and using modern dry mills, and Ethiopia also has been behind in that regard. Hand sorting in those countries is an important source of jobs for many people, mainly women.
If you travel to Central or South America, and drink a cup of coffee at a rural market stall (or even the home of a small scale coffee grower) it's likely that you'll be drinking a brew of roasted floaters. Sometimes the aftertaste can be pretty ghastly, sometimes just a bit of a bite to it, and ok with enough sugar. An acquired taste.
Another type of floater that I've only read about, is a specialty bean from Brazil, selected from cherry that completely ripens and dries on the trees. The final late harvest gathers these, and they will float and be somehow graded out from the ones floating due to bug holes and such, then sold for high prices to a particular market.
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