Anaerobic Coffee: Everything You Need to Know

a split picture of anaerobic coffee beans on the right after processing and regular coffee on the left.

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The coffee industry is constantly changing. Anaerobic processing, in which coffee ferments without oxygen, has recently been tested by innovative coffee growers. This unique method, which encourages experimentation and refinement, yields a wide range of flavors, none of which are exactly alike.

It’s been billed by some coffee experts as the next big trend in specialty coffee. Anaerobic coffee, with its different and exciting flavor, could shake up your whole coffee routine. Read on to learn more about its taste, how it’s created, and how and where to find it.

What Is Anaerobic Coffee

Anaerobic coffee is very different in style and flavor, but why? This comes down to some critical differences in the way the coffee beans are processed.

You may know that beans are fermented as part of their journey from plant to cup during harvest and processing. Fermentation is a natural chemical process that happens when sugars and water are mixed creating a microbial metabolism and carbonic maceration.

I know, big words that don’t mean anything. Simply put, beans contain fruit sugars and, when soaked in water and helped along with the addition of yeasts, the coffee fermentation process begins.

Coffee fermentation is necessary to remove the mucilage (the remnants of the outer part of the coffee fruit) from the bean. But, it also changes the flavor of the beans at the same time.

Fermenting coffee methods and practices are part of the reason why coffees can taste so different. One of these fermentation methods is known as anaerobic.

4 stainless steel airtight containers for anaerobic processing of coffee beans

How Is Anaerobic Coffee made

The most crucial difference between anaerobic and aerobic is where the fermentation process happens. Most coffees are aerobically fermented, this is when pulped coffee is macerated in containers open to the air.

Anaerobic Fermentation, however, usually occurs in sealed, oxygen-deprived containers.

This method farmers use involves an airtight tank with a one way valve as a sealed environment often stainless steel tanks with a regulated temperature inside. Another difference is that the pulp of the cherry is often removed before fermentation. In other methods, the whole cherry is fermented before the pulp is removed from the bean.

To create anaerobic coffee, the very best beans are selected and the pulp removed. Next, the beans are placed into barrels or tanks with water and yeasts, where they will spend the next 48 hours to 10 days. The containers are then sealed and placed in a cool, often temperature-controlled environment.

Why seal the containers? Firstly, because it gives coffee producers much more control over the process. It allows them to experiment with different quantities of yeasts or temperatures, for example.

Once a preferred method of anaerobic fermentation is agreed upon, the use of sealed containers also makes it much easier to recreate a batch and consistently produce the same flavors again and again. This helps a producer gain an excellent reputation for their coffees. 

an infographic of the anaerobic process showing how they use oxygen-deficient environments to ferment the coffee beans

What Happens To Coffee Beans During The Fermentation Process

Fermentation is the primary goal to remove the mucilage layer, which contains polysaccharides (pectin), and reduce the water content of the beans. On the other hand, fermentation can improve the coffee’s quality provided it is adequately controlled.

Anaerobic coffee is poured into a glass cup with a handle.

What Is The Flavor Profile Created By Anaerobic Fermentation

Anaerobic coffee has incredible and unique flavors profile from traditional coffee, which can be attributed to the method by which it is produced.

As you can probably guess, the process of making anaerobic coffee involves the coffee steeping in its juices for an extended period of time. This allows the flavors to penetrate and imbue the coffee bean with their essence.

The result is a coffee bean with a fruity flavors than you would expect from a typical coffee. Anaerobic coffee can have a range of distinct flavors based on the additives used and the bean used to brew the coffee itself.

Anaerobic coffees, on the whole, have a creamier flavor than regular coffee and generally don’t taste sour or bitter. This doesn’t mean that you lose the flavor profiles of standard coffee that you love so much, but the richer, fruitier taste will be far more prevalent than they are now.

Pineapples, cherries, and lemon can be found in the flavor profile. It all boils down to how hard the producer works to ferment that particular coffee.

Are Additives Used During Anaerobic Environment Fermentation

Some producers like their beans isolated because of their distinctive flavor; others combine additives to enhance the flavor and alter how the fermentation progresses.

(Anaerobic impregnation, the second method, employs herbs, cacao powder, dried fruits, and other flavorings) without any additives. These are all-natural ingredients.

Are There Any Benefits To Drinking Anaerobic Coffee

Anaerobic coffee has no discernible health advantages. But, on the other hand, anaerobic coffee has the same health benefits as regular coffee. So, what’s the point of consuming anaerobic coffee? First, the flavor is entirely different, you receive a creamier, tastier version of your regular cup of coffee.

Anaerobic coffee may not be to everyone’s taste. It can taste strange if you don’t enjoy fruity overtones. However, anaerobic coffee is an excellent alternative if you dislike bitter coffee or want a more constant flavor in whatever you’re drinking.

We believe that if you enjoy coffee, you should give anaerobic coffee a shot at least once. You may adore it. On the other hand, you may find it repulsive. You’ll never know unless you give it a shot.

A more complex process means it is more expensive than other coffees. Still, if you try a few different varieties from the major manufacturers, you’ll discover a whole new world of coffee flavors. Isn’t that the real reason we drink coffee in the first place? Every cup reveals something new and exciting!

What Makes Anaerobic Coffee Unique

There are a few things that make anaerobic coffees stand out from the crowd.

The Flavor

Anaerobic coffee tastes are known for their expressive, flavor-forward. They aren’t as rich as some coffees but aren’t super-light either. Anaerobic coffees are often fruity in flavor and are a little naturally sweet.

They offer intense aromas as well as big, bold flavors, making them perfect for specialty coffee recipes.

However, within the group of anaerobic coffees are some significant differences, too. A range of flavors comes from subtle differences that vary between producers and the country of origin.

The parent plant of the coffee bean offers a crucial difference as well. The bean variety and how it is grown will have a significant impact on flavor. It’s well worth exploring a few of the different types of anaerobic coffees available. 

The Method Is Labour-Intensive, But Worthwhile

Anaerobic coffees take time and effort to produce. Therefore, the producer’s chosen method is always a result of painstaking trial and error. Then, once a method is agreed upon, it must be carefully replicated every time.

Consider the process of anaerobic coffee production similar to the making of fine wines, where anaerobic environment fermentation also plays a vital role.

4 farmers handpicking the best coffee cherries for anaerobic processing

Anaerobic Coffees Represent The Very Best Farming Practices And Production

With the attention to detail required to ferment coffee beans anaerobically, you can expect that coffee farmers are using the very best practices, from the sowing of the seeds right through to the roasting of the beans.

A commitment to anaerobic fermentation represents the pinnacle of the coffee production world; therefore, you can expect outstanding results.

How Should You Drink Anaerobic Coffee

If you want to make great coffee at home, experts agree that a French press or a pour-over coffee maker is the best option. However, there are a few more “must-dos” that they suggest for the best outcome.

I love using my Chemex to make a cold brew with them since the creamier coffee works perfectly with, the longer brewing process needed for cold brew.

Making this the wrong way will result in it tasting sour. Due to this, coffee drinkers are missing out on the true potential of the beverage.

I recommend buying whole beans and grinding them yourself to get the best flavor. When using a grinder, you can fine-tune the grind size until you achieve the desired sweetness. This lets you customize the flavor to suit your tastes, he says.

Also, make sure to use the best water possible since water chemistry has a significant impact on the outcome.

When possible, use filtered water because the mineral composition of municipally supplied water changes regularly, this affects the flavor. One of the most challenging aspects of brewing superb coffee is choosing the right amount of water to use.

Make sure the coffee to water ratio is correct to get the best flavor out of a coffee like this. As a result, there is more leeway for mistakes, mainly because the brewing style is more challenging to adapt to.

To regulate the dose, you need to dial in a lot of variables. But, as a result, you will obtain consistent outcomes. For example, one spoonful of ground coffee to six ounces of water is my favored proportion.

Two Varieties Of Anaerobic Coffee Try

Here are three examples of fine anaerobic coffee from around the world.

Third Wave Coffee

This year’s collection is the best yet. The apple pie and cinnamon flavors are still present, but the aftertaste has a berry quality, like blueberry jam.

Don Luis Eduardo Campos established his coffee plantation at Piedades del Sur, Alajuela, after completing his university studies in 1984. Don Luis is always looking for new and better ways to produce coffee. The notion of an anaerobic fermentation to extract the coffee’s naturally present flavors through a controlled fermentation process came to him about ten years ago.

His anaerobic coffee was ready after six years of testing and study. The anaerobic micro-lot’s distinct flavors and aromas result from the unusual processing procedure used to create it. Hand-picking mature beans with a Brix degree (a measurement of sugar concentration) around 26 is the first step in the process.

To maximize anaerobic production, cherries should be picked when they are ripe so that their sugar content is high. Then, using an anaerobic fermentation technique, the de-pulped coffee is placed in stainless steel containers with all of its mucilage, where it is fermented without the use of carbon Dioxide.

Lactic and malic acids are developed in a specific sequence during the procedure, which results in an incredibly nuanced flavor. Once it’s ready, the coffee is sun-dried to a crisp.

Red Rooster Coffee Ethiopia Worka Sakaro Anaerobic Natural

When it comes to berries, this anaerobic process coffee is hard to beat. Strawberry takes center stage, with blackberry, raspberry, and rose to make appearances as secondary flavors. There will be a lot of chocolate flavor and a creamy texture to this drink. Ethiopia Worka has been a favorite of ours for a long time.

This anaerobically processed fresh crop excites us significantly. To begin the fermenting process, ripe cherries are packed in unique plastic bags and shipped from the Gedeb producing region, where they are hand-picked and put through many rounds of sorting before being shipped.


Why not see what variety of anaerobic coffees you can find? Step into an exciting new dimension of coffee flavors you may never have experienced before. I ignored anaerobic coffee’s for a long time and when I finally got around to trying them I regretted waiting so long.