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Producer Series 2021: Kickstarting The Year with Ratnagiri Estate

Posted by Srishti Sabharwal on

This autumn, we’re back with our most-loved curation of coffees which lives at the intersection of cutting edge coffee processing, highest quality of green beans and the most complex flavour profiles in the cup. Our first limited edition release this year comes from Ratnagiri Estate — a farm that gave us 3 different lots for our Producer Series last year.

Ratnagiri Estate is a Rainforest Alliance certified farm that thrives in the Western Ghats in Southern India near Bababudangiri, the place where coffee in India first originated. For over 90 years, generations of the Patre family have looked after this farm and turned it into an estate known for its rich ecosystem and experimental nano lots.  

 

Last year, we closed our Producer Series with Ratnagiri Estate’s Anaerobic Natural coffee, and we’re so thrilled to be back with Lot 6 sourced from the farm yet again! 

Lot 6 | Yeast Anaerobic Natural 

Our first lot for 2021, Lot 6 from Ratnagiri Estate is a naturally processed coffee with a unique twist that makes the coffee shine with a complex and floral flavour profile. This light roast has flavour notes of cranberry, hibiscus, Java plum and pear, with  balanced acidity and slight sweetness. As with all experiments, there were (obviously) some risks involved in producing this nano lot. Here’s what Ashok and Divya Patre from Ratnagiri Estate have to say about bringing this coffee to life. 

“This was an exceptional lot for us as we have introduced a new strain of yeast and regulated the fermentation process very meticulously. This coffee was also dried very slowly for 26 days and rested for almost two months before milling. We knew the coffee was something unique when we smelled the green beans after milling.” - Ashok Patre

Producer Series Lot 6 was picked on 22nd January 2021

Blue Tokai: What inspired you to experiment with different processing techniques?
Ashok: It has always excited me to witness the many different flavour profiles that coffee processing can yield. I always wanted to produce coffees with unique taste profiles such as the ones grown in Central America. This is what inspired me to get innovative with experimental processing techniques, and my journey has just begun!  
 
BT: What is something about growing coffee that you wish people knew?

Ashok: I don’t think that a lot of people know that growing coffee is extremely difficult in the current climatic conditions that we are seeing. Coffee requires a very unique climate with the daily difference between maximum and minimum temperatures staying between 14°C. Only when this is achieved will the coffee flourish. We are seeing that this difference in temperature is now being reduced due to climate change, which will have a disastrous impact on growing coffee in the years to come.

BT: How do you think climate change will impact the future of farming? 
Divya:

Climate change is the biggest threat to coffee, especially to Arabica. We’ve been witnessing the drastic effects of climate change for the last 10 years at the farm. Firstly, we don’t get the April showers on time. Secondly, we have extended periods of rain during the monsoon. We don’t have distinct seasons anymore! The average temperature has also gone up by 6-7 degrees. This is a very serious issue not just for coffee but for everyone and we need to address it as a global community.


 

BT: Lastly, could you tell us how you’re enjoying this lot and which brewing method would you recommend? 

Ashok: I usually enjoy my coffee brewed in an AeroPress or V60. I’m brewing this lot using a Chemex and absolutely loving it! 

Roasting this nano lot was no easy feat, so we spoke to Santosh Kunchal, our Lead Roaster to understand how he roasted this coffee.

“Amplifying the flavour notes was one of the first things we wanted to do with this. But this coffee also has a heavy body with malic acidity which we wanted to highlight. So, a long roast with short roast time in the drum after the First Crack helped us in achieving a thick texture and pleasant acidity.” - Santosh Kunchal

BT: When you first cupped this coffee, what were some of the attributes that stood out to you the most? 

Santosh: When I first tasted this coffee, it was the delicate and layered flavour notes that attracted me to it. It has got a lot of complex notes of fruits.   

BT: How did you decide to roast this coffee? How was it different from roasting any naturally processed coffee? 

Santosh: We usually roast natural coffee with a longer soak time and increased caramelization with less DTR% (percentage of time the coffee remains in the drum after the first crack). The same applies to this coffee as this it’s a natural coffee with anaerobic fermentation. However, this wasn’t as easy as it sounds. At first, I tried a very short roast to enhance acidity, which would work with some softer naturals, but as this coffee is rather dense it resulted in overpowering flavours of lime and was pretty sour. By the next roast I knew that I needed to lengthen the start of the roast and Mailliard phase and really caramelise the sugars to bring out the sweeter characteristics. 

BT: How would you describe this coffee in 3 or more words for our customers? 

Santosh: Fruity, balanced & delicious!

To try our Producer Series coffee from Ratnagiri Estate, click here.


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