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Pursuits
Coffee

The World’s Best Coffee Makers Are Turning to Moldy Beans

Koji and Japanese fermentation help accentuate a brew’s sweetness, fruitiness and complexity.

 
At Hatch in Ontario, Canada, koji coffee is on the menu.

At Hatch in Ontario, Canada, koji coffee is on the menu.

Source: Hatch Coffee

Chefs generally want to keep mold out of their kitchens, but they make an exception for koji. For around a decade, the fungus has been a secret weapon for trailblazing chefs like Rene Redzepi at Noma in Copenhagen, used to ferment grains, cure proteins and impart umami to dishes both sweet and savory.

Now, the culinary world’s most popular mold is poised to become the biggest trend in the specialty coffee world. Enterprising producers believe the multipurpose ingredient can improve on mediocre coffee beans, and produce a better-tasting caffeinated cup.