Soaking Coffee Beans in Honey?

Honeyed Robusta? Interesting!

When it comes to commercial coffee production, Robusta is the king. I guess it is attributed to its huge fruiting capacity, ease of cultivation, pesticide resistance and wider choice of growing lands. Excelsa and Liberica have low fruiting capacity while Arabica is picky on its growing altitude. Arabica is well raised in mountain areas and is the choice of specialty coffee makers.

Coffee can be sweetened during cup preparation. As in adding sugar to boiling concoction or individual cup by drinkers preference. Instant coffee in sachets and bigger packs are often added with sweetener, milk and other flavorings before packing. Kind of fast and convenient but strips away most of the inherent flavor. Whatever, there must be fewer people who are very particular with the taste. Instant coffee is a boom business.

I saw the post on Coffee Roaster Forum, with short provided description. Based on my understanding, it was whole unmilled Robusta soaked in honey. Robusta usually undergo dry processing – harvesting then immediate sun drying. Soaking maybe done before drying or after, then re-drying. The latter is more labor intensive but may allow better absorption. Removing the husk first will surely save on precious sweet liquid.

So why add flavor before the coffee is sent to roasting chamber? The roasting temperature for sure will degrade and evaporate those. A method with more sense is spraying flavor right after roasting. When the freshly roasted coffee is in cooling stage. If vanilla flavor is sprayed, there is a good chance it will be carried over to cup. However, if coffee beans was soaked in vanilla solution, dried, then roasted. Do not expect a vanilla flavored coffee after. For light roasted coffee, maybe. I might do some testing once our own built drum roaster is in operation.

I also heard this trick with cacao beans. Adding fruit flavors such as calamansi and mango during fermentation process. In artisinal setting where makers roast their bean light. Flavors added during fermentation may survived roast. Even more chance for raw chocolate makers, beans never undergo roasting. Ohh! I remember. There is a thing called “green coffee”. I mean literally selling the ground green coffee. In this case, any infused flavor is surely retained to great extent.

Honey flavor may not be the real intention. Roasting is a complex process. One of this is sugar caramelization. Reinforcing the sugar content by soaking in honey may improve the end flavor a lot.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Coco Royal: Basil Seeds with Honey Juice

This bottled juice drink has several distinct features.
coco roya basil 1The bottle design is like a shortened baseball bat. It seemed it was the design guy’s inspiration.
It has an easy to open cap using a pull-up ring. A feature similar to easy-open can. It was my first time seeing it on a bottle. A crown needs a crown remover or any other special out of the world tricks. A screw cap is easy to remove but can get stuck sometimes making the consumer hand reddish. Has the advantage of closing the bottle again and save the unconsumed contents. On the bright side, nonreturnable cap suggest that it should be consumed immediately after opening, prevents tampering and possible spoilage arising from re-stored juice.
Has suspended small seeds. Examine it closely and notice the equally distributed seeds, which are similar to dragon fruit’s.
coco royal basil close upWhat makes the seeds suspend in a honey juice? Every seed is coated with jelly.
The product label is nice but clearly not suitable for cold moist environment. It absorbs water and damages easily even with careful handing.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Honeys: Pulot Pukyutan, Lukot etc…

Inside the public market. The wild honey cost 60 pesos per bottle. The pukyutan honey cost 120 per bottle. They are of the sizes and contents, packed in gin lapad bottle.

pulot pukyutan in gin lapadThere are four types of honey known to me. The reason why pukyutan honey cost twice as much lies within.

The cultured honey. Cultured does not mean fake or it is manufactured in laboratory. Cultured means the honey is produced by domesticated honey bees, Apis mellifera. They are house in boxes. This specie is not native to our country. It is more productive than our native Apis cerana and have  lesser tendency of absconding.

The next three are wild honeys:

Lukot honey/pulot ng lukot. Small black flying creatures about as big as regular termites. They are often found in tree cavities. Hard to get if the tree is alive, easier if dead. This honey is sweet with a slightly sour blend. Produce the least amount of honey. Lukot never stings.

Wild honey by Apis cerana. It is the counterpart of cultured honey by Apis mellifera. The bees are two times smaller and produce lesser honey. Often found in tree and rock cavities. Sometimes found residing in your own home. Some beekeepers are able to raise Apis cerana. University of the Philippines, Los Baños is teaching how to raise both Apis cerana and Apis mellifera.

We used to hunt lukot and Apis cerana honey when we were kids. I have never found or heard lukot honey for sale.

The pukyutan honey. The honey that can only be gathered by brave hunters. The locals are calling them the killer bees. Anyone who accidentally touched their hive will be chased to verge of death. The whole hive is claimed to be able to kill an adult carabao.

Pukyutan never reside in cave or cavities. They are found clinging on tree branches  and building their comb which can be as wide as six cubit feet refrigerator. They produce the most amount of honey.

Gathering is done at night when the bees are believed to have low visibility. Bees are driven away by huge smoke produce by burning woods and fresh leaves. The honeycomb is then cut while the bees are fleeing.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Why Process Honey into Powdered Form?

Have you seen or used honey powder?  I have never seen or used one. I encountered it only on letters – on the package of canned health drink.

honey powder

The purposes of processing. 1) To extend product shelf life so its going to be available in other places or in the same place in future time. 2) Improve the quality of an inferior product or salvage leftovers.

Why process honey into powdered form? It is a shelf stable product. Only needs extraction from comb and good glass jar. Chemical spoilage under ambient temperature is unlikely. The range of invading microorganisms  is narrow. So why process it into powder?

Possible reasons.

1) Powdered form after spray drying greatly reduced the volume. It saves packaging, storage and transport costs. Can be packed in a lightweight laminated films.

2) Ease of use. Using powder is easier than liquid. The difference might not be significant but the small different matters.

3) Adulteration and cost reduction. A liquid honey can be adulterated and adulteration of powdered form would be easier. The powdered form looks like cornstarch. The two fit well. Honey supply is scarce, the demand is high and the cost is stiff. Adulteration will  increase the supply, meet demands and raise profits.

If honey powder will be available in my place, I will never patronize it. Heat treatment destroys nutrients. It is evident on color appearance. It should be light yellow to golden to dark brown. The honey powder color is clean white.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

It Should Be A Single Ingredient Product

The following foods are supposed to be single ingredient products. However due to processing issues and merchant dishonesty, purity might not be possible.

1) Fruit juice. The term sap and fruit juice are synonymous. Sap literally means a fruit extract. A pure form can only be taken by extracting your own fruit choice. During processing – water is added to add volume, preservatives to prolong storage life & artificial flavorings and nutrients to compensate for loss due to processing and dilution.

2) Honey. Very sweet and thick liquid gathered by bees from plant flowers. Some dishonest merchants are adding water and sugar syrup to increase income. A honey might be made with real sugar syrup. In areas where nectar sources are scarce, bees can be fed with syrup. The same is also fed during rainy weather when bees cannot fly to gather foods.

3) Sugar. Made by crystallization of sweet plant sap like sugarcane, beat, coconut and sugar palm. Might contain traces of sodium and other chemicals due to refining and bleaching.

4) Coffee. Popular coffee varieties are Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa and Liberica. Your favorite bean might be a single variety or a mixture of two or more. They are still pure coffee. However, it can be adulterated by a coffee like bean called chicori.

5) Vinegar. A product of acetic acid fermentation of alcohol or fruit wines. Not all vinegar from grocery shelves are natural. Some of them are just mixture of glacial acetic acid, water and cloudifier.

6) Roasted peanuts. How peanut is roasted?  Place the carahay over medium flame stove. Drop the peanuts and stir it continuously to prevent scorching. Continue until crunchy. Based from my observation, roasted peanuts often refer to deep-fried peanuts with salt, garlic and chili.

7) Milk. Who will ever forget the popular melamine scandal. The powdered milk was mixed with melamine – a substance for making plastic wares.  Fresh cow’s milk is pure but shelf stable brands are made by combining wide array of ingredients. Take a look  at ingredient listing of popular milk powders.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.