This series celebrates our highest scoring coffees grown on nano lots, created by some of India's most visionary producers experimenting with innovative processing techniques. All of our unique, limited edition coffees are lightly roasted to preserve and highlight their beautiful fruity notes.
ABOUT THE FARM
Riverdale Estate is located in the Eastern Ghat mountains, in Yercaud, Tamil Nadu. This is the first year we have partnered with Riverdale and have not only been very impressed by its emphasis on quality but also by the way in which the farm’s owner, Prakashan, experiments with his coffees. The farm sits at an altitude of 1400-1450 metres and has a beautiful natural stream meandering through it, which, rumour has it, is from where the farm’s name stems.
Prakashan took over Riverdale’s operations in 2005, and his belief in constantly learning and wanting to implement the best techniques drove him to spend some time on a Columbian farm to learn about new processing methods. We had a quick word with him about what drives him and excites him about his coffee.
Q + A WITH PRAKASHAN BALARAMAN, OWNER, RIVERDALE ESTATE
Q: What excites you about coffee?
A: Coffee connects people, brings together communities and starts the day for millions of people around the globe. As a coffee producer I feel so blessed and humbled to grow coffee for everyone who enjoys drinking it. I find it really exciting to produce unique tasting coffee which generates curiosity among coffee drinkers!
Q: What did you learn about coffee when you were in Columbia? And how different was it from what farms in India follow?
A: Growing coffee in India has its set of pros and cons. Our agricultural practices and technologies are more advanced, we have access to fertilisers, and disease control mechanisms are in place, so that is really great. However, the varietal of coffee plants grown here are Chandragiri, SLN-6 and Cauvery, while other coffee growing nations have a larger variety of plants. Altitude plays a very important role as well. The Shevaroy region has relatively lower elevations compared to African and South American speciality coffee growing regions, and higher elevations aid in slower bean development which often yields more flavourful coffee.
Q: When you look into the future in 20 years, how do you see the Indian coffee industry? What are your hopes for it?
A: By bringing a variety of different coffees and flavour profiles to the table, we hope to educate and give Indian coffee drinkers a diversity of choices. It’ll be great to see more varieties of coffee planted and grown across the country in the future. At Riverdale Estate, our hope is to produce some of the best coffees that can compete globally.
Q: In order for India to be thought of as highly in coffee production as countries like Ethiopia or Columbia, what do you think needs to change?
A: Innovation is key in creating unique coffee offerings for consumers here. We also need to get a deeper insight into the preferences of Indian coffee drinkers. Price, plant variety, research and education about various brewing methods for customers are also areas that need to be worked upon.
Q: We’re starting off our Producer Series with your amazing Papaya fermentation process. Could you walk us through this process a little?
A: In a nutshell, Papaya Processing involves washing hand-picked cherries in natural spring water and using real papaya fruits to ferment the ripened cherries in air-tight bags for 72 hours. To ensure that there is consistency in every lot, the temperature and PH levels are monitored very carefully. After the fermentation is complete, we sun dry the cherries on raised beds for 25-30 days.
Q: What stood out to you about this coffee?
A: This coffee has sweet, juicy notes which is rare to find in any other processed coffees. It is very unique to papaya processed coffee.
Q + A WITH OUR ROASTERS
Scoring a coffee 85 or higher is as much a tribute to the farms as it is to the roast profile. We asked Shreyas Chitnis, our Quality Control Manager and Head Roaster, a few geeky questions about roasting Riverdale’s offering.
Q: What excited you or surprised you about this coffee?
A: We’ve been trying to source coffee from Riverdale Estate for the last few years and are so thrilled to finally have them as one of our partner farms! The combination of being able to finally source coffees from Riverdale, as well as getting our hands on their experimental lots was very exciting.
When we cupped the sample, it quickly became evident that this coffee would score quite high!
The coffee was layered, its aroma was intense and fruity to begin with, but it opened up much more as it cooled a little. There were notes of mango, various kinds of berries, kiwi and grapes. Once we tallied our scores, not only did this lot score high, it was the highest scoring coffee for us in 2020. With a cupping score of 85+, we’re so excited for our customers to get their hands on this unique offering!
Q: Were there any challenges that you faced while deciding a flavour profile?
A: Fortunately, not. It was a surprisingly quick and straightforward process of deciding a flavour profile and nailing the roast profile from the beginning given the quality of the coffee.
Q: How did you roast this coffee? Were there any flavours that you were trying to bring out or mute?
A: For this coffee we knew it was full of intense sweet tropical notes, with very prominent acidity, so we went for a longer caramelisation and a slightly longer first crack time. This enhanced the sweetness and aromas of the coffee by giving it time to softly develop those characteristics. Being a natural light roast coffee we didn’t want to develop it for too long after first crack and roast out those fruity notes. Also, it was important to keep that bright acidity to create a balanced and complex brew.
Q: What’s your preferred brewing method for this coffee?
A: I’d recommend this coffee as a pour over.
Q: Do you have a preferred recipe that you follow for this?
A: Here’s my personal favourite recipe for this coffee:
- 17g coffee
- 250ml water.
- Water Temperature: 93 degrees celsius
- Total Brew Time: 3 minutes + 30 seconds.
Start the timer, pour 125ml water and stir 4-5 times. Let the coffee bloom for a minute. After 1 minute, pour the remaining 125ml water.
Q: Describe this coffee’s taste notes in 3 words.
A: Tropical, layered and delicious!
|100g (approx. 1 cup)
|8 (Cold Brew; Very coarse - similar to ground peppercorns)
|1L ( approx. 4 + ¼ cups)