This is an estate grown organic fair trade Robusta, from high in the mountains in Tanzania. Organic robusta is very hard to find, but it is important. Most robusta is grown at low altitude (that's the whole point of why they developed it), and there are so many pests there that they have to spray it heavily with pesticides and weed killer. At one point Nestle got bad publicity because their coffee was nearly above the legal limit of Roundup Weedkiller in their coffee.
These beans have not been sorted by size, so there are some peaberries and are mostly smaller beans. It's really not that big of a deal. You generally take robusta to a darker roast anyway, so it's all going to get dark.
We tried a variety of roast levels with it. You take it 15 seconds into second cracks all the way to a minute of 2nd cracks. There aren’t any complex undertones to unlock, so it doesn't drastically change as you roast it darker. It adds really creamy body to espresso, and you typically keep it to about 10-15% in your espresso blend to give it good mouthfeel and a little extra caffeine.
But the secret thing you can do with it is create a high-caffeine drip blend. Blend it with something light and sweet, like a regular Tanzania or even a Colombia. Roughly 50-50 and you get a cup of coffee that 1 — makes everyone extraordinarily caffeinated and 2 — tastes different than what you’re used to, but is not offensive — just different.
Drink it 100% straight, and call me nuts, but this is absolutely drinkable coffee, even at the medium roast level it's really solid. I’ve definitely had arabica coffees that were far more unpleasant. The aroma is deep and intoxicating, the body is rich, smooth, nutty and reminiscent of a diner coffee. The aftertaste is only mildly earthy. If anything, a feature that contributes nicely to a blend.
So obviously it is just robusta. Inexpensive, and nowhere as fascinating as a nice specialty arabica bean. But it is the best robusta I've ever tasted, and for something fun to play around with, try a pound. You don't find organic robusta beans very often.
US Arrival February 2021
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