This is an organic certified robusta, grown right alongside arabica plants in the Western Ghats mountains near Chickmagulur. Organic robusta is very hard to find which is one reason we don't often have one in stock. The varietal was genetically created to be able to grow at low levels with high yields, at the expense of losing its good taste (think Florida tomato industry…) So most of it IS grown at low levels where pests are a problem. For this reason, pesticides are commonly used (hence, rare to find organic options on the market) and this also means that most robusta is a small and a soft bean — tricky to roast and susceptible to burning. Third, robusta does not have a lot of body to it and tastes “thin” and “rubbery” Fourth, it smells awful when you roast it and has quite a bit of chaff.
So you’ve heard all about this elusive terrible robusta and are curious to see it first hand. Here is a good one for you to experiment with. It’s far above average tasting compared to its counterparts in the robusta world. The beans are fairly large (robusta beans tend to be rolypoly, and so while the length of these beans may not impress you, be sure to notice how fat they are). And finally, the chaff is not significantly worse than most other coffees. You’ll have no problem roasting this in your home roasting units.
The only APPROVED specialty coffee industry use for robusta is to stick it in your espresso at a 10 to 15% level to give it a full richness, creamy body, and extra caffeine. You want to take it at least into the 2nd cracks -- probably about 15 seconds into the 2nd cracks (and the 2nd cracks start late, so be ready for that).
But the unapproved thing you can do with it is create a high-caffeine drip blend. Blend it with something light and sweet, like a Tanzania or a Natural processed coffee. Roughly 50-50 and you get a cup of coffee that 1 — makes everyone extraordinarily cheerful and 2 — tastes different than what you’re used to, but is not offensive — just different.
The aroma is deep and intoxicating, the body is on the thin side, but not altogether missing. The flavor is that of a bitter coffee, but has hints of grains (barley?) and nuts (almond?), and if you pair it with something like dark chocolate, it's not half bad. It's better than most diner coffees. The aftertaste is only mildly earthy. If anything, a feature that contributes nicely to a blend.
So there you have it. I don’t expect it to be a good seller, but it’s a robusta I can stand behind.
US Arrival April 2017
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