by Brewls Team
In my opinion he is more than this title…I had the opportunity to meet him in Budapest at World Coffee Events and Ι was impressed by his simplicity.He was courteous and he discussed and explained everything.He is the man with the greatest knowledge of all the stages of coffee production.Of course, I am talking about Sasa Sestic,the most famous man of the coffee industry,World Barista Champion 2015,founder of ONA Coffee and Project Origin,Barista Coach and Coffee Consultant.
Brewls:Which is the secret for a perfect espresso?
Sasa:To achieve great tasty espresso we do need to be able understand and also control all variables starting form farm process drying , hulling roasting grinding coffee machines water and of course we need to have exceptional pallets and we need to be exposed to tasting amazing coffees so we know what bench mark is .
Brewls:You have tasted a lot of espresso throughout your coffee career, which is the one that you remember and why?
Sasa:At the moment there are 3 espressos that blew my mind:
Sudan rume I served in WBC ,
Finca Deborah espresso served by Berg Wu and
Hugh Kelly’s Morgan estate,which he served in Australian barista competition 2017.
Brewls:Describe me ,please the carbonic maceration processing on coffee..Which characteristics gives this process method to coffees,in which coffees suits more and how you had this idea for your coffee in the World Barista Champion that you won?
Sasa:I had this idea to make a style of fermentation that can build new flavour experience consistently, every single time. Imagine the best attributes of washed and natural process coffees in one cup, with amplified terroir and varietal characteristics. I wanted to create a technique where we can add more aroma, flavour, tailor the taste, balance of acidity and sweetness, and even increase quality of these. And also, even more importantly, I wanted to create a process that we can replicate on farm level every singe time.
After many trials and errors, we came up with completely new coffee process, but this technique has been borrowed from wine industry,which we call Washed Carbonic Maceration.
The way it works is we start by pulping cherries in stainless steel container; the reason we use stainless is to increase clarity. Then, we moved this container indoors, so we can control temperature. I learned that with different temperatures, we have flexibility to control taste,balance, intensity and the complexity of acidity vs sweetness. For example, if we wish to have more acidity, we should ferment at lower temperature or for more sweetness higher temperature.
When we seal the containers, we encourage aromatics and add new flavour complexities. This means that we have attracted not only LB bacteria’s and sarcomysis yeast, but also wild yeast ,this together adds more floral notes in coffee .Finally, we remove oxygen from this environment. Because of this, we reduce the breaking down of sugars and slow down growing bacteria; so, we can afford to have such long fermentation without attracting any unwanted acidic acidity. With long fermentations just like with naturals we build more aromas and different layers and complexities of flavour, since we have no oxygen we maintain clarity in cup.
I believe that there is no perfect coffee varietal and there is no perfect process. However, if we can better tendencies of the flavour complexities in different varietals, we can better know how to control fermentation we will be able to create great coffees. And once we set right parameters we can replicate this process , consistently.
Brewls:As a green buyer you are travelling a lot in farms,recently you got your own farm..Can you tell us about people's life in farms?
Sasa:Peope that live and work on farms live very simple life. Of course every country is different lets take of example our own farm in Nicaragua. I decided to buy farm there not because farm is high altitude ( it is only 1200 to 1350 m ) but because I want to connect more with people there and work with them together to improve coffee and also their standards of living. We have over 25 workers at the farm .
We need to understand that majority people that work on farm people that pick and process coffee do not share same love for coffee like roasters and baristas they are in coffee because this is way of surviving for lot of them . ( I am not talking about people that own farms just pickers )at larger farms they live on farms usually in shared rooms sometimes up to 16 people in smallish rooms . Food is organised by owners of the farms. They start working at 6.00 to 6.30 and finish at 3.00. Rest of the day they spend on farm relaxing, looking after their kids doing their garden looking after their animals ….
They usually work for 6 days and have Sunday off. It is not easy to be picker and to work on farm wages are very small around 5 to 6 dollars per day. They do not have their own transport so they need to relay on owners to buy goods , clothes form them if they need anything form town.
Brewls:Finally,as a man that you researching many things daily,which is the most strangeness thing that you met in your daily routine and you were intrigued to search it more,because i think that in coffee industry everyday we are learning something new..
Sasa:We had improved a lot as industry in last few years we have better coffee machines grinders baskets roasters software but we still need to understand more about how to control water this is something we do not have solutions yet . And we need to learn lot more about fermentation of coffee we need to start applying controlled fermentation and to understand how to bring our different flavour complexities through fermentation.
(photos :Sasa Sestic facebook profile)