Dear coffee people
This September, with our coffee subscription we land in Indonesia to discover two distinct coffees recently added to our menu. A Wet-hulled Queen Ketiara and a Pulped natural Rende Nao Flores
- Queen Ketiara
The first, “Queen Ketiara” is an atypical Sumatran arabica from the Gayo Highlands. Indeed, in contrast to the classic Sumatra profile dominated by notes of earth, and spices, this beautiful coffee displays fruit tones ranging from cherry and grape to citrus papaya and pineapple. The Queen Ketiara, named after the Ketiara cooperative comes from one of three main growing areas of the island, the Aceh province (North Sumatra). In common with the typical Sumatran coffee is the creamy and very heavy bodied and the wet-hulled process. This latter, traditionally known as giling basah, combines elements of the washed and natural processes. According to the World Atlas of Coffee “after picking the coffee is depulped and after briefly dried. Instead of drying the coffee to a moisture content of 11-12 % as the other processes do (fully washed, pulped natural and natural), in the semi-washed process the coffee is only dried to 30-35%. It is then hulled, stripping off the parchment and exposing the green coffee beans beneath. The naked beans are then dried again until they are dry enough to be stored without the risk of rotting”. (J. Hoffmann, The World Atlas of Coffee, p.37)
This process reduce the overall acidity and increase the body of the Sumatran coffees making them particularly suitable for espresso blends. on the downside, this process creates a lot of unwanted and “dirty” off-flavors such as earthy, woody and musty. Moreover, the beans are usually broken and partially damaged by the fact that they are hulled when still very humid. There is disagreement in the industry whether the clarity of the coffee should be preserved by using other processes or this should be considered as inseparable from the terroir of the origin.
We loved so much this coffee that we decided to use it in our espresso blend N°3. Learn more about the Queen Ketiara coffee in the attached coffee postcard.
2) Flores Manggarai (100% robusta from Rende Nao/Flores)
What? a 100% robusta ?? How you dare???
Indonesia does not only produce arabica but also robusta. The cultivation started when coffee leaf rust became a serious problem on the arcipelago destroying the harvest of the more fragile arabica species. Robusta, also know with the botanical name Coffea canephora is generally an inferior coffee due to its lower content of sugars but it can cope with many of the common diseases which affect the arabica. It grows at lower altitudes and higher average temperatures. It is cheaper and safer to farm and this matters if you are a grower which earn a living out of coffee.
What you have received this month is a fine robusta from the Island of Flores, about 300km to the east of Bali. The Island has a mixture of active and dormant volcanoes, which have a positive effect on the soils. We got this coffee thanks to our supplier This Side Up which with this project proved that finest robustas deserves a place in the specialty coffee industry without disturbing the sleep of the coffee snobs who refuse to consider it an ingredient worthy of their coffee recipes.
On This Side Up website we can read… “Not only does the island (of Flores) boast a range of unique robusta varieties, but that the quality of these “fine robustas” is already known worldwide. ASNIKOM, a locally owned cooperative in the regency of Manggarai started something as radical as intuitive: process robusta with the same machinery and standards as arabica – and we vowed to pay them the same premium as they would get for fine arabicas. In 2017, the first results came in: a spicy, very full bodied robusta that is pleasantly bitter because of its caffeine content, sweet chocolaty and very clean.”
This year’s crop was sourced from three families within a single village of Rende Nao. The coffee was processes as pulped natural: the coffee cherries are handpicked in the morning and pulped immediately by sunset on site. Each families have these huts in the middle of the plantation to pulp and semi dry the coffees before taking them to the final drying.
Learn more about the Rende Nao Robusta from Flores http://thissideup.coffee/rendenao
Photo credits: Zita Dusa (Pelan Beans)
I hope you enjoy these coffee as much as we do. Just play with them with different brewing methods and recipes. Try both of them with and without milk and try to use the Robusta for your next tiramisu. You will agree with us, it tastes much better!
See you next month!
The NCR crew