Coffee flowers are a necessary byproduct of the coffee production process that are usually discarded once the coffee cherries are harvested. However, these flowers can be used to make Kombucha – a healthy fermented drink that’s popular in coffee shops around the world.
Brazilian roastery Isso é Café has partnered with TCHÁ Kombucha to release a coffee flower kombucha drink called Tchá Flor de Café. Here’s why this could present interesting opportunities for the market.
Lee este artículo en español Una Tostaduría de Brasil Lanza la Kombucha de Flor de Café
Why Flower Kombucha?
Traditionally, kombucha combines tea leaves, a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), and sugar, which is then aged to create a tangy, slightly effervescent beverage. Tchá Flor de Café is made with a combination of green tea and coffee flowers harvested from a forest near Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (FAF) Coffees, an organic coffee farm in Mococa, Sau Paulo.
Felipe Croce is the Co-founder and Director of Coffee at FAF Coffees as well as the Founder and CEO of Isso é Café. He explains that coffee flowers make a natural choice for kombucha, as they possess a unique aroma and taste that could easily be used to create flour, alcohol and soap products. Kim Guerra, TCHÁ Kombucha’s Head Brewer, describes the taste Tchá Flor de Café as a harmonic mix of mild acidity and jasmine notes, with the citrus aroma of hibiscus tea.
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How Coffee Flower Kombucha Is Made
Kombucha is typically quick to put together and can be enjoyed after a few days of aging. The preparation required for Tchá Flor de Café is slightly more complex. Felipe explains that the region where they get their coffee flowers only has three to four flowerings per season and that the flowers much be harvested after they’re pollinated by bees but before they start falling to the ground. This leaves a narrow gap where the flower is at its best, and any extreme weather can also cause them to fall or become degraded and sticky.
Once the flowers are collected, they’re dried on shaded, raised beds, to keep their sweetness intact. After this, they’re infused separately to the green tea. While green tea steeps at temperatures of up 93°C/199,4°F for up to 30 minutes, coffee flowers require a short brewing time and lower heat to avoid bad flavours being created. After this, they’re fermented with a SCOBY for about a week at 25°C/77°F. Once the drink has reached its desired acidity, it’s refermented for carbonation, and then refrigerated or consumed.
The Current Market For Coffee Flower Kombucha
While TCHÁ Kombucha only started producing their full catalogue of drinks in 2020, Kim says that “the demand is only increasing and more and more, arous[ing] the interest of enthusiasts from both the world of coffee and the world of kombucha [as] it’s a very interesting way to economically explore the coffee flower.” Felipe also believes that “economics will come with the success of the sales. We’ve already been able to create quite a buzz around the product.”
How Can Coffee Producers Get Involved?
While harvesting coffee flowers for kombucha might seems like a natural way for producers to benefit from something they’d normally discard, Felipe cautions that those wanting to get involved requires special care and a different approach to production. He explains that “the harvest of the coffee flowers takes a lot of time [and] asks for careful and delicate fingers so not to damage the newly forming coffee buds [that] weigh next to nothing.”
Despite harvesting been challenging, TCHÁ Kombucha and FAF Coffees have other advantages at their disposal, and both have benefitted from partnering with the other. TCHÁ Kombucha gets to align itself with an established brand like FAF Coffees and benefiting from exposure via their website, and FAF Coffees benefits from getting adding traction to their other products whenever someone searches for more information about TCHÁ Kombucha online.
Ultimately, as Felipe says, “it’s all about creating a coffee culture with consumers. It’s about connecting with people… who aren’t already coffee geeks and bringing them into our amazing specialty coffee community. Sometimes the best and quickest way to do that is collaborating with brands that complement coffee.”
Enjoyed this? Then Read How to Profitably Serve Cold & Sparkling Drinks in a Coffee Shop
Photo credits: TCHÁ Kombucha
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