Agnieszka Rojewska has become the first woman to win the World Barista Championship, as well as the first Polish competitor to do so. Not only is her story inspiring, but she also used a coffee with an interesting and intricate story.
Our new World Barista Champion is one of the most accomplished coffee professionals in the world, winning not only the world barista title, but 3rd in the World Latte Art competition in 2017, the London Coffee Masters 2018 and the Polish Barista Championship on several occasions (to name a few). Now that she has won the world’s most renowned coffee title, many want to know more about the coffee she used to get there.
Agnieszka used a coffee from Project Origin’s latest experimental series, CM Selections. Available in four different categories, these coffees have been developed to allow coffees to express a higher potential in flavour expression.
So, what exactly are the ‘CM Selections’? ‘CM’ stands for Carbonic Maceration. It is a process that is generally used in winemaking, in which whole grapes are fermented in a carbon dioxide-rich environment prior to being crushed for their juice. We have adopted a method which also utilises carbon dioxide in order to push boundaries of fermentation and development in coffee.
The terms that we are accustomed to in the coffee world include natural, washed, honey, semi-washed and so on. These processing techniques use a variety of methods to extract the green beans/seeds from the coffee cherries.
The CM process does not replace these methods; rather, it adds another step in processing. For example, the CM Selections coffees are still identified as being natural, washed, etc but as they also do through this maceration process, we need to include that information too. So instead of being just washed, we say that a CM Selections coffee is carbonic macerated (washed).
The coffee used by Agnieszka Rojewska was exactly this – a CM Selections washed coffee from Mesina, Guji. Working with Meseret and Ayana from the ZB washing station in this town, we have found ways to use the CM process to further develop the flavours of this coffee through controlled fermentation.
This coffee was chosen by Agnieszka for her competition for its fruit qualities and sweetness. In her performance, she cited fresh soil, altitude and the CM processing as resulting in “more intense yellow fruit characteristics” and “extraordinary sweetness” in the coffees scored by the sensory judges.
Project Origin green bean buyer, Yanina Ferrerya says that the CM Selections coffees have been created as a means to provide competition-standard coffee to the general consumer.
“The idea of the CM Selections coffees was never to make a rare or expensive coffee – quite the opposite,” she said.
“They’ve been created with the intention of being able to share competition-level with customers on an everyday basis. At the same time, we are dedicated to making sure that the producers receive fair prices and recognition for their incredible work.”
New Zealand Barista Champion, John Gordon also used a CM Selections coffee for his performances in Amsterdam. Finishing in 6th place at the World Barista Championships, John’s performance focused on his experiences at origin as well as his passion for technology.
John saw the carbonic maceration technique as a way to improve the quality of coffee coming from the country, without the need for power.
“…I couldn’t help but notice the difficulties they face in processing coffee,” he said. “…this limitation in potential boils down to the accessibility to modern resources, techniques and technology.”
John said that he noticed that many washing stations and mills experienced lack of power, or power outages. He believes that the carbonic maceration process is an effective way to process coffee without risk of uncontrolled fermentation and without the need for power.
Carbonic maceration and CM Selections coffees have been well and truly recognised in the barista competition scene and we are proud to have been able to help these competitors on their journeys.
To learn more about the CM Selections coffees or to request samples, click here
Image: Jeff Hann