Let's start at the beginning: What is fermentation and what happens to the coffee during fermentation?
Aerobic processing (vs.) Anaerobic processing
In "classic" aerobic processing, the sorted coffee beans are filled in a water basin for about 12 - 36 hours.
The process of anaerobic coffee can be done either with the whole coffee cherry or with the already washed (honey-style) coffee bean. This means that the beans are removed from the coffee cherry. These coffee beans are then placed on the bottom of the tank.
The next step is to extract the so-called mucilage, a part of the pulp that has a honey-like consistency.
The mucilage is then spread on the coffee beans and the tank is sealed. CO2 is then added to the tank and the oxygen is removed.
The fermentation process can last up to 96 hours. The acidity of the fermenting mixture is checked regularly. After the desired fermentation time and the achieved PH value, the beans are further processed. This can then be done using the usual processing methods natural, washed or honey.
One of the main advantages of anaerobic coffee preparation is that the farmer has much more control over the fermentation process. This means that once the process is complete, the taste of the coffee should be fairly constant. It is not affected by the external environment, the quality of the air or the heat. All of these can affect the taste of regular coffee.
Since anaerobic coffees ferment in their own juices, the flavors can soak into the bean. The result is a coffee bean that has a much fruitier flavor than you normally get from coffee. In fact, anaerobic coffee can have a variety of different flavors depending on the additives that have been added to the blend as well as the source bean.
Most anaerobic coffee tastes a bit creamier than typical coffee. It has also lost a bit of bitterness. Not so much that it no longer tastes like coffee, but the sweeter, fruitier flavors will be much more prominent.