Sabio lab magic


Our quality control process is a 12-step process that starts in our plantations and ends at our quality control lab, where we carefully choose each lot according to our clients’ preferences. Paying attention to detail in each step creates the perfect conditions to produce an exceptional lot of coffee. Read on and learn more about THE SABIO 12!

Coffee cherries must be picked at its ripest when they have reached a dark-red color. Allowing cherries to ripen fully provides the time necessary for sugars in the coffee fruit to ferment, leading to a more complex and sweeter cup. Because coffee fruits do not ripen all at the same time, we take all the picking rounds needed to make sure we hand-pick each cherry at its best. The picking time also matters, and for our lines Néctar and Alquimia, we make sure to only use cherries that were picked in the early morning to avoid unwanted fermentation in our micro and nano lots.  

picking the ripest cherries, we take them to our wet mill where they go through a floating selection process in a water tank. The best and most dense cherries stay at the bottom of the tank, while the under ripe, over ripe, or defective cherries float around with dirt and other foreign matter. When the cherries
mature slowly at the right altitudes, the coffee plant produces quite dense beans, making density a key indicator of quality.

Depulping is the process of separating the coffee seeds from the outer layer of flesh and at Sabio Coffee, we take it seriously. Our Penagos UDC-7500 Bourbon Plus is an advanced coffee pulping and sorting unit that pulps fully ripe cherries through its patented vertical pulper with smart waterless pulping channels. It also separates partially ripe cherries with its unique separation technology and sieve design. This unit incorporates a pulp remover that separates the excess pulp from the pulped coffee to make all subsequent processes more efficient, it also comes with an improved demucilager to obtain a cleaner parchment with minimal damage.

The Sabio Lab Magic starts unfolding here! Fermentation is a metabolic process that uses sugar and either the absence or presence of oxygen. When carefully managed, fermentation has a positive impact on the coffee’s quality and different fermentation methods induce different metabolic reactions which can affect the chemical compositions of the coffee beans and their attributes. Whether we are processing a washed, natural, honey or experimental lot, we closely monitor pH levels, mass temperature and brix level during the fermentation process to create essential sensory characteristics and to make sure we start the drying process at the optimum time. Depending on the lot size and processing method, drying can be done mechanically in “guardiolas”, on raised beds, in the greenhouse or patio. The drying process can last anywhere from 20 to 35 days until the beans have reached a moisture level between 10% and 12%.

After the coffee has been dried to its optimum moisture level, we store all our lots in parchment anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks in our warehouse, this time of rest aids in stabilizing the humidity in the beans. We store all our parchment in Ecotact bags to prevent the coffee from losing its attributes, while we constantly monitor the humidity percentage to make sure the beans are not
drying out or recovering moisture.

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The next step in our quality control process happens in our screen separator. During this step, coffee is separated in up to 4 different sizes, depending on specifications of the lot being processed. This is an important step because bean size is an indicator of bean density which
plays a vital role in the quality of the cup.

Our densimetric tables separate beans of the same size
with different densities.

The densimetric tables are essential in the preparation of an exceptional batch of coffee as this steps aids in the elimination of slight defects and some defects by color, making the work of the electronic sorter more efficient and accurate.

Our 10th step is color-sorting! At the Sabio Lab, our electronic sorter separates by color the defective beans that could not be detected in any of the steps before. The color of each coffee bean is quickly measured using a camera system and depending on the wavelength measurements being used the beans are either accepted or rejected, creating a sorting accuracy that is unachievable by any other method. Our electronic
sorter can detect and eliminate coffee beans that are white, unripe, broken, insect damaged, or black.

Hand-sorting is one of the most essential steps throughout our entire quality control process. Hand-sorting is a meticulous and extremely labor-intensive process; however, careful hand-sorting ensures perfection, and it provides much needed employment opportunities for women in our coffee growing communities.

The Sabio 12 culminate at our Cupping Lab! Here, all
our lots undergo a rigorous physical analysis and numerous cupping rounds.
Constant cupping allows us to compare coffees against each other and to get a better understanding of each lot, so that we can create the perfect coffees that match our clients’ specific profiles and needs.