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Kicking off our Producer Series 2022 with Snakehead Naturals by Kerehaklu Estate!

Producer Series aims to highlight the outstanding efforts of some visionary Indian coffee producers. These coffees are a celebration of our most innovative and highest-scoring coffees from select farms across India. We work closely with the producers to source some of their best and most uniquely processed coffees, and roast them for you.

Launched in 2020 with 5 coffees, the Producer Series featured 7 coffees last year,  sourced from our partner farms - Ratnagiri, Riverdale, Kerehaklu and Harley Estates. From anaerobic fermentation to black honey processing, we featured the most innovative processing taking place on Indian farms,  and this year is no different. We have some tasty and exciting coffees coming up and are beyond excited for you to try them!

Lot 1 – Snakehead Naturals

Click here to get Lot 1- Snakehead Naturals from Kerehaklu Estate.

Our first coffee of this season, Snakehead Naturals, is from the charming Kerehaklu Estate — no stranger to being featured in our Producer Series! Producers Ajoy and Pranoy Thipaiah chose to process this lot naturally. This time, they used the spring-fed freshwater from their lakes to create a different environment for the coffee cherries. The Thipaiahs named this lot after the Snakehead, an ode to a native fish species that live in Kerehaklu, to represent the processing of these coffee beans under water.

The roastery story

Our roasting team visited the estate back in November 2021, just as the harvest season was going into full swing in Chikmagalur. During their trip, they took a deep-dive into the new post-harvest processing experiments being undertaken at Kerehaklu Estate. Pranoy had upped the processing practices by installing a parabola-shaped canopy to combat the unseasonal rains and get more control over the drying stage of the coffees. They also witnessed a few fermentation experiments and learned about the thought-processes behind each of them.

Fast-forward to January 2022 with Pranoy taking a trip down to our roastery in Gurugram, carrying samples of some of his best naturally processed coffees. During the cupping, four samples were booked on the spot but out of these four, one really stood out for its clarity, sweetness and high cupping score. The coffee was immediately chosen for this year’s  Producer Series.

Senior roaster, Shreyas Chitnis, wanted to roast this light enough to highlight the complex notes of blueberry and peach, but also wanted to give the coffee a balance with medium body and no perceived bitterness. “Crisp, clean fruity notes are what I look for in a high-quality natural coffee”, Shreyas explained.

The processing story

On being asked what he looks for in a high-scoring coffee, Pranoy says, “I’m always on the hunt for clarity and cleanliness in the cup because I don’t like to encounter funkiness without understanding it. In the Snakehead Naturals, our aim was to pick up the coffee’s discernable tasting notes without overwhelming the palate at the same time”. What helped him with this goal was monitoring the fermentation time and thickness of the fruits during the process of drying. “Going for relatively small-medium lots with a great degree of ripeness helped to guide the microbes to achieve desired results”, he adds. 

Growing and processing any coffee is challenging because one has to get so many variable elements just right to achieve the desired result. This fact is magnified when it comes to these limited edition coffees since these extremely small lots are processed under highly controlled experimental conditions, making them much more special and expensive. The climate has not been kind lately, which has resulted in a lot more humidity and lack of dry winds due to the rain.

This has shortened the window of being able to process natural coffees, and the producers could only start experimenting with honey and natural processed coffees from December 2021 onwards. Despite climatic challenges, they are hopeful that there is a bright future ahead for producers in India to start taking new, innovative steps such as introducing inoculants, sugar sources in fermentation tanks and other ways to find a common ground between experiments and definitive results.

Limited edition Producer Series coffees are always exciting for everyone involved, right from the producers to the roasters and to those of us who get to brew them. We’d love to hear any questions you may have and what you think of these exceptional coffees which we are so excited to share with you.


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