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Thread: The mucilage on my coffee beans hasn't come off yet!

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    The mucilage on my coffee beans hasn't come off yet!

    I've got my own coffee tree here on the Gold Coast in QLD and I've recently harvested some beans from it. I took off the skins and then put them in water to remove the mucilage from them. Every site I've read has said this should only take 2 days at the most, yet here I am a week later, and my beans are still very slimy! The days have been averaging in the low twenties inside the house. I read that temperature affects the fermenting time, but nowhere have I read of this taking a week or more. I don't know what to do at this point, and I'm afraid my coffee may end up ruined if it's not already!
    herbie likes this.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Hi Jim and welcome to Coffeesnobs.
    I live 40 km north of Brisbane and I have found that the only way get rid of the mucilage in 2 days is to put the beans in about twice their volume of rain water, add a sprinkle of dried yeast granules and gently warm in the microwave till they get to about 35 degrees,
    making sure I stir them well.
    I then leave them out in the sun all day to keep warm and at night rewarm them again and then warm them again the next day stirring them well.
    After about 48 hours I wash them in a garden sieve with a pressure hose and spread them out on fiberglass fly screen racks to dry for a
    couple of weeks.
    There is lots of good information in the "Growing Coffee" thread of the forum.
    Cheers,
    Herbie,
    trentski likes this.

  3. #3
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    Wow, thanks, Herbie! I would've never thought to do that. I'll buy some yeast right away and try your method. Let's hope they are salvageable!
    herbie likes this.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    Well, after a few days using your method, Herbie, they're still slimy to the touch. Washing them did not remove the mucilage, though scratching them with my fingernail does remove some of it. Suffice it to say, I'm not doing that to every single bean I have. I'm just going to try drying them out....maybe they will be okay. I do doubt they will turn out good, though. I wonder what's wrong with my beans? Perhaps the initial week or so in plain water had something to do with it? It's hard to say. On a different note, I couldn't see where this "Growing Coffee" thread was that you mentioned. Could you please link it here for me?

    Kind regards,

    Peaceful Jim.
    herbie likes this.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Hi again Peaceful Jim,
    I finished fermenting another batch of beans today and after washing they still felt slippery but there is no visible mucilage and once they have dried they are quite OK.
    Some people use "honey processing" where the beans are left to dry with the mucilage on but I worry about mould etc in sub tropical environment.
    I have never seen more than 3 days recommended for fermentation and have no idea what submerging beans for longer than the 4 days I tried once will do. From memory they were still OK.
    The "Growing Coffee" thread is about 2/3rd of the way down the "General Coffee Related" topic page on the "Forum Home" page.
    There are 11 pages about growing coffee.
    Hope this helps ,
    Cheers
    Herbie.

  6. #6
    Senior Member GrahamK's Avatar
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    You should not need to add any extras. 24-48 hours should be enough if you want to use washed processing. I use honey processing, briefly steep them in water initially and remove any floaters, which generally have no substance, and could become "stinkers", then I dry them with the mucilage on. Humidity + dampness can be an issue, (I'm in Brissie), in which case I stick them under a sunlamp arrangement, (actually use the bathroom heat lamps), for a while to help prevent any mould forming. I also bring them in at night or cover them at least.

    My biggest issue at the moment is the possums have found them again this year. They held off for a few years after I 1st used netting, but they are back this year. Unfortunately the do not spit the beans out in neat piles, otherwise they are quite efficient little pulpers. Unlike civets they do not swallow + poop.

    Best of luck, there is info here on this forum, as well various places on the inter-web.

    Graham
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  7. #7
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    Thanks once again, Herbie, and thank you, Graham. Coffee growing and production is definitely an art form...one which I have yet to master! I'll keep trying!
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  8. #8
    Senior Member GrahamK's Avatar
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    Not a madly cost effective hobby, considering the effort required and the fact you eventually get only 14% of "roastable" green bean from the original fruit picking. i.e. 86%+ loss after pulping, drying & hulling. But it's a bit of fun and you get to understand a fair bit about the whole process. And also understand why Ozzie green is either hard to get or expensive due to the labour intensity.

    GrahamK
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  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    My biggest issue at the moment is the possums have found them again this year. Unfortunately the do not spit the beans out in neat pile[/QUOTE]

    Stay Resilient Graham....These little raiders are due to switch focus to my magnificent (and cant be too far away) Mango Tree again soon ( maybe not soon enough for you tho)
    And Maintain the Rage! Despite the introduction of 'Pay Wave' cards these little bandits have never got theirs out yet!

    PS And Good Luck to you Jim stick at it ...growing your own greens, harvesting roasting grinding and producing your own shot with totally your own harvest ....well that's Gold
    herbie likes this.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Nov 2006
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    Brisbane Northside
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    Hi again fellow coffee growers.
    We have possums too but they don't worry our coffee cherries, I think only because I feed the wild birds seed which I replenish every evening.
    Mangoes -- I have a little mango tree which is loved and had 2 mangoes on it which I thought I had securely covered but the little b------s tore through it and had a feast!
    Hopefully lesson learnt.
    Cheers
    Herbie.

  11. #11
    Junior Member
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    You guys are absolutely right. It's not at all cost effective and it's labour intensive...but quite frankly I'd be happy drinking a cup of my own home grown coffee, even if it didn't taste that great (yet). The whole experience is just something you either love or don't, and I certainly am loving it!
    GrahamK and herbie like this.

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