The Colombian National Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) is seeking a patent for its new Ecomill coffee washing technology, which the organization says eliminates wastewater contamination during the de-pulping or processing stages.
Developed by the group’s National Centre for Coffee Research, known as Cenicafé, Ecomill also uses far less water than the Cenicafé-developed Becolsub technology that the FNC had been promoting to its farmer members for years, the group says.
Carlos Oliveros, a lead researcher at Cenicafé says that the Ecomill process uses between 0.35 and 0.6 liters of water per kilogram of dried parchment coffee (cps), representing one tenth or less of the amount of water used in traditional manual agitation processes. The process involves natural fermentation through the use of pectinolytic enzymes, which are often used at multiple stages in the wine-making process.
The Bogota-based FNC is currently promoting Ecomill as a sustainable and efficient solution to the more than 500,000 coffee-growing families within its membership, saying it’s viable for “standard export” coffee, as well as high-end specialty-grade coffees.