Curating our Coffee blends
It starts in January every year. People gather round and converse in a peculiar Kannada dialect found in north Karnataka, sipping a hot glass of filter coffee to start their morning appropriately. The coffee pickers, the unseen heroes of the day, settle down. They arrange their bags, change into their working attire and head out into the estate like warriors, each team with their territory.
While they have their little gig of laughter and storytelling, they drop the ripe red cherries off the stem on to a thaat (opened polypropylene woven bag) laid beneath the coffee plant. It sounds like raindrops falling on a tin roof. The other territory is captivated by a group of silent pickers listening to old melodies of Dr. Rajkumar. At the end of the day, all the cherries are collected and brought back to the open field behind the house paved with clay.
Once harvested, the coffee cherries are processed. This operation removes the skin and pulp from the java beans. There are two ways of coffee processing used widely: natural/drying and wet/washed.
The delicate gold which is the main ingredient in all our blends. When roasted appropriately, this queen of coffee beans brings out the inherent fruity, nutty, chocolate flavors, et al. into your cup of coffee. Arabica coffee is processed via the wet/washed method. In this technique, the cherry's outer layer has to be separated from the seed before drying.
1. The cherries are sorted to ensure consistent ripeness.
2. Then they are washed in large basins before heading to the pulper
3. The pulper is a machine that squeezes the fruit and separates it from the skin. The skin is used as a fertilizer for the plantation
4. The seeds move into fermentation tanks, where they are left to ferment the remaining mucilage.
5. Fermenting the beans adds flavor to the coffee and makes it easier to remove the mucilage from the beans.
These are procured from our neighboring estates, and are processed naturally. Traditionally, they are processed by leaving them out on the patio to dry in the sun. The cherries are raked and turned throughout for 10-15 days. Once they are properly dried, they are sent to the mill. The seed and the outer skin is separated in a huller. Whenever you guzzle a bold and full-bodied java, its flavor is enriched due to the presence of Robusta processed naturally. We use a little proportion of Robusta beans along with Arabica to curate our French and Dark blends to make them full-bodied and bold to give you a lively feel with every sip.
As we come to the end of January, the coffee has been processed completely. The plantation is getting ready for next year’s harvest. Coffee plants need generous rain for budding. These showers are induced using sprinklers that stand tall at various spots in the estate. Water is drawn from a nearby pond, which also blesses us with a variety of fresh aquatic fauna for our consumption.
It is fun to run around the estate, with appropriate childish glee, when the sprinklers are on. The smell of water falling on dry earth takes you to another dimension of nirvana altogether. Often, you get carried away in the fresh coffee garden and forget your surroundings; lo and behold, you have fallen prey to the sprinkler. Voila, you are soaked with water while still breathing in the aroma of the ripening coffee berries around you.
Have you seen acres of tiny white flowers with a little green in the background? Well, that's how the plantation looks like after watering. It's a sign that next year's harvest is a bumper crop. As you take a walk through the estate, you’re transported to a garden filled with jasmine bulbs. These flowers dry off, making way for budding coffee cherries.
We take a small batch of the processed coffee beans to my pal's roastery, where we cup the coffee. This is done to score the coffee. The embedded taste notes of our coffee are discovered in this process. Having scored our coffee, we embark on a mission like mad scientists, mixing and experimenting with different permutations and combinations of roast levels, grind sizes, blend mix, and filters to create the final blends to suit the diverse coffee drinkers' taste palates.
Cupping is a process that we follow strictly before curating our blends to ensure that we offer only the very best coffee to our customers. However, our coffee never disappoints because of the meticulous care that we take.
The processed coffee beans, filled in gunny bags, are sent to the roastery. We roast our coffee with precision in tech loaded Probat roasting machines imported from Germany. The temperature and other parameters are monitored with a laptop that is wired to the roasting machine.
After the beans are roasted, they are left to de-gas. Later, they are ground, filled in drip bags, and packed in foiled thick material to retain their freshness. You can judge the same by seeing the frothy layer in your coffee when you brew your next cuppa.
If you’ve reached this section of this little blog, you’ve now embarked on a journey with us as we curate our signature blends and bring this amazing coffee to you.
What say we liven our day with a hot cup of coffee and keep spreading the joy?