Light roast of the Flores looks variegated but has great character.
Appearance.8 d/300gr, 17+ screen
ProcessingWet Hulled (Giling Basah)
RegionFlores, Bajawa region
RoastSurprisingly nice at lighter roasts (City+) it works well at the Full City levels usually ideal for wet-hulled coffees, like Sumatras
Flores is a small island (360 km from tip to tip) in the Indonesian archipelago around 200 nautical miles East of Bali. Flores was known as Pulau Nipa (Snake Island) before the Portuguese arrived and they renamed it Flores (Flower Island). A very long thin Mountainous land with incredibly diverse terrain, and numerous active and inactive volcanic peaks. The Bajawa Highlands are one of the most traditional areas of Flores. Bajawa is a small town nestled in the hills and is the centre for the Ngada people of this high, fertile plateau. The coffee is grown between 1150 and 1400 meters, which is actually quite respectable altitude for Indonesian coffee farming. This is not the first time I have cupped coffee from Flores, but this is quite different from the brighter, sweeter, cleaner Flores we have offered. That coffee is good in it's own right, but here we have a much more intense cup, something along the lines of a great, aggressive Sumatra flavor profile. The reason is that this lot is wet-hulled, not wet-processed. Ripe cherry is picked from the tree, pulped with a small hand-crank machine to remove the skin (but all the fruit stays on the green coffee, which is still inside it's parchment). The coffee is then laid out to dry in the sun directly, or held overnight in a barrel or bag, then dried. The coffee is then collected and transported to the dry mill to be hulled out of parchment and dried again as naked green coffee, without the parchment shell surrounding it. With a traditional Indonesia, the hulling happens at around 30% moisture, whereas wet-processed coffees are hulled around 11%. And the coffee is exported without the long "rest" period that wet-process coffees receive ... Hence the coffee has a dark, opal-jade color. Okay, all that backstory is fine, but what about the cup?
The dry fragrance of this Flores lot suggests a nice Sumatra wet-hulled coffee, as does nearly everything else about the cup. There is a rustic sweetness with carob, sorghum syrup and slight apple-mango fruitiness. The wet aroma has herbal notes, with the same rustic, syrupy sweetness from the grounds. The cup has intense body, a thick and weighty feel on the palate. There are striking foresty and earthy tones, while these are offset by a fruity sweetness of melon and mango. There is a distinct sweet tobacco character, and a humid mossy undertone in the aftertaste. While it's not the cup for those who stick to the "sweet, bright and clean coffee" mantra, I think this hefty character has its merits among fans wet-hulled Sulawesi coffees that are scarce this year, as well as their Sumatra counterparts.