Opal Bold is an exciting new style of coffee for Vietnam. Wet-hulling is traditionally only found in Indonesia, but the altitude, latitude, coffee varieties, and smallholder farmer culture makes Vietnam a perfect candidate for this distinctive style of coffee. Additionally, all the farmers for Opal Bold participate in LIFT. There are about 100 LIFT farmers in Da Lat, about 30 of whom are women owned and managed. These producers receive technical assistance, free of charge, from agronomists to help improve quality across the entire supply chain.
Opal Bold is similar in style to Indonesian coffees, but we find it to be cleaner with a more complex acidity. The work done by the Mercafe team in Vietnam to increase quality is extraordinary. Opal Bold starts with the same coffee used in Lotus Washed, but it is processed in a very different way. The coffee is washed and dried in the same manner, but halfway through drying the parchment is removed (thus “wet- hulled”) before being dried the rest of the way.
Because of the extreme heat in Vietnam, it is very difficult to manage without over-drying or using commercial dryers. To combat this, they built a 2-acre greenhouse with special shades to reduce UV strength by 50%, which keeps the temperature below 30C. This slows drying and gives the coffee the distinctive blue hue for which wet-hulled coffees are known. It takes approximately 20 days, and four quality checks by our cuppers, to process a coffee lot from cherry to Opal Bold, but the time and effort are worth it for a unique coffee we’re excited to bring to you.