Our Producer Series is a celebration of our coffee producers’ commitment to innovation and quality and we’re so thankful for the love you’ve shown to the first coffee in the series! We’re aware that many of you missed the opportunity to get your hands on our nano lot from Riverdale Estate. If you’re on this page and reading this, you’ve reached the right place. We’re so pleased to showcase the second coffee in our series!
Sourced from one of our newest partner farms, Ratnagiri Estate, this coffee gets its naturally floral and tea-like flavours from Anaerobic Yeast Fermentation - a processing technique where yeast is added to coffee cherries. The unique floral flavours that this process yields include black tea, green apple, honey and coffee blossom. This coffee is heavy bodied with a long, sweet aftertaste, and is recommended for manual brewing.
Ratnagiri Estate is a Rainforest Alliance certified farm in the South Indian Western Ghats near Bababudangiri, the place where coffee in India first originated. The Patre family has looked after the farm since 1927 and their approach to farming has always placed ecology and harmony with the environment at the forefront of their work. Ratnagiri literally means ‘Pearl Mountains’ and gets this name from the dense Silver Oaks that tower over coffee plants, lending a silver hue to the hills where the farm sits.
We were so intrigued by the processing technique of this coffee, that we indulged Ashok and Divya Patre in a Q+A which led to us learning some very interesting facts about the risks that producers take when they experiment, and the effects of climate change on coffee farms.
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!
DIvya: I think that it is absolutely essential to process your own coffee as it allows you to really understand specialty coffee along with the range of flavour profiles that different processes yield. The downside of this, ofcourse, is that it is expensive, very labour intensive and requires excellent infrastructure facilities. Lastly, but the one that probably dissuades producers the most, there is always a risk of ruining the coffee.
Ashok: I really like the distinct flavour profile and aftertaste of the coffee that we get specifically from this anaerobic fermentation. It has a very well rounded body and silky mouthfeel. I find it very unique.
Divya: What really excites me about growing coffee is the fact that you can produce so many different flavour profiles within a farm so there is so much you can do to process the coffee and also there is always so much to learn.
Ashok: My biggest hope for the future of this industry is that we see the country consistently produce better coffees with very distinct flavour profiles.
Ashok: I really appreciate when roasters are more experimental in their roast flavours and give the discerning customer various options. I’d like to see more of this happening.
Divya: I’d like them to place more of an emphasis on brewing with Pour Overs and other manual brewing methods so that customers can taste the nuanced flavours in the cup.
Ashok: It’s not an easy path to take but if they want to improve the quality of their coffees, Producers must experiment with their coffees and find their sweet spot, and then continue to develop those processes further.
Ashok: I think that in India, we need to focus very heavily on post harvest processing techniques which play a vital role in the flavour development of our coffees. This is even more important for growers here as we do not have the soil and the micro climatic conditions such as those in Ethiopia and Colombia to help us inherently with our coffee flavors.
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 degrees centigrade. 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.
Ashok: The block that Blue Tokai customers will get coffee from was planted in 1994 and harvested on the 1st of March this year.
The perfect roast profile is essential in retaining the unique flavour profiles of green beans. We asked Asif M. Salim, our Green Bean Sourcing and Quality Controller, a few questions about roasting Ratnagiri Estate’s offering.
A: As this is a washed coffee, its flavour profile wasn’t overtly fruity. Instead, we found subtle notes of tea as well as floral notes of coffee blossom. The challenge here was to do justice to these subtle flavours and roast this coffee just right to avoid masking the floral notes. It took multiple trials to get this right, but I’m so delighted to be able to bring this coffee to life!
A: The processing of this coffee was very unique, a completely new approach of bringing in yeast and conducting an anaerobic fermentation. When we tasted this lot, we found the balance, cleanliness and flavour characteristics of this coffee to be incredibly impressive. This is very rare to find in most washed coffees available in India.
A: While evaluating the green bean sample for this coffee, we found it to be very clean and complex. The tasting notes of black tea, green apple, honey and coffee blossom were very subtle. At the same time, the coffee had a heavy body and long, sweet aftertaste. We carried out a short roast giving enough time for the coffee aroma and sugars to develop while highlighting the coffee’s clean acidity and juicy body.
A: Yes! I would recommend this as a Pour Over, and this is the recipe I follow:
Water temp 92℃
Start the timer and pour 100ml water under 15 seconds and swirl 4-5 times
Let the coffee bloom for 30 seconds
After 30 seconds add 100ml and top up to 200ml
At 1 minute pour the remaining 90ml water and top up till 290ml
Total brew time should be 3:30 minutes.
A: First of all, Ratnagiri Estate has a great reputation. They are definitely amongst the third wave of coffee producers who have been leading the Indian coffee industry to focus more on producing micro and nano green lots. Even though this coffee is a washed processed coffee, this particular lot has been fermented using yeast under anaerobic conditions. During our initial sample cupping, this coffee had a very intense aroma with floral and fruit notes, but in cuppings later on, the tasting characters extended to a juicy green apple like acidity followed by honey-like sweetness and black tea notes. The overall attributes of this coffee easily made it amongst the top scoring green lots we procure from this year’s harvest.
This processing has influenced this green lot in bringing out these delicate and clean flavour characteristics into the final cup. This entire effort and the experiments that went into creating this particular lot got me very excited! I was surprised to see how clean and complex a washed coffee has the potential to be, and I believe that this has set a standard for Indian Arabica coffees.
A: Sweet, delicate and balanced
To buy our Producer Series lot 2 from Ratnagiri Estate, click here.