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Robusta is a wild ride compared to even your most basic Arabica coffee. It's bittering, has flavors of unsweetened cocoa and almond powder, roasted barley tea, and any sweetness little more than accents. In many ways it's the inverse of our other offers! But it's one of the best Robustas we've seen in a while, and an example of what good processing practices and cherry selection can bring to the cup. City+ to Vienna. Good for blending.
|Region||Tangkul, East Manggarai District|
|Processing||Dry Process (Natural)|
|Drying Method||Patio Sun-Dried|
|Arrival date||February 2018 Arrival|
|Bag size||60 KG|
|Appearance||.2 d/300gr, 15+ Screen|
|Roast/Brew Recommendations||Medium Roast, Dark Roast, French Press, Espresso|
|Roast Recommendations||City+ to Vienna; normally wouldn't recommend City+, however it is where the most sweetness is sensed (though still incredibly subtle)|
|Recommended for Espresso||Yes|
This robusta coffee comes from the same group that produced our "Poco Ranaka" lot, farmers from the village of Tangkul, East Manggarai District. Altitude of these farms varies, from a low point of around 1400 meters above sea level, on up to about 1800 meters. Seeing Robusta grown at these altitudes is pretty rare, and the farmers are very proud of what their producing. You can see the Robusta drying on patios and tarps in the village, and our sourcing partner in the area was impressed with the uniform ripeness of the coffee he was seeing. They traditionally dry process their Robusta too, which goes for this lot, and I believe is what's responsible for the subtle sweetness found in the cup, unusual for Robusta. It's worth noting that this area is rife with nutrient rich soils, and coffee farmers are able to grow using fully organic farm practices, though they are not certified at this time. We haven't offered Robusta coffee on our website for a while now. In general, it's a much less expensive coffee than arabica. Add to that the fact that we only use about 20 bags a year in blends, and you don't have much ground for making demands for better selection and processing. But every now and again we find a Robusta that is atypical, and with much more cup nuance, like this one. Still miles away from the cup profile of even the most basic Arabica, but well worth experiencing on it's own, and definitely fun to use as a blend component with other coffees.
It's hard to not be shocked by the initial smells of a Robusta. Even when clean processing is implemented, cherry selection is really good, etc, you're still left with a Robusta. It's really something to marvel at when you're used to drinking Arabica types, and a little difficult at first to see past bittering tones that come through at all roast levels when judged in context of an Arabica. But there's a lot to talk about here, and this particular lot showed some solid savory smells, roasted grain aromatics like rice and corn, and a caramelizing sweetness underneath that bears resemblance to cooking beef actually. A bittering flavor matrix unfolds in the cup, with sweetness showing more as allusions than anything else. It's sort of the inverse of our other coffees, flavors of unsweetened cocoa, almond powder, barley tea create an intense bittering backdrop, and sweet/sugar notes are mere accents. City+ roasts perhaps showed the most "sweetness", but still a far cry from what I'd call a "sweet" coffee. And the darker you go, the deeper cocoa roast tones you can develop. Robusta is often used for body, which is apparent when you drink any roast level, hence the 9.5 score for this attribute. I'd try using small amounts in espresso blending, offsetting with sweet Central or South American coffees, and more fruit-forward accent coffees like an Ethiopia dry processed lot. But it's fun to try on it's own too, and an opportunity to taste an example of Robusta processed with the intention of bettering the final cup flavors. I should mention the score too. I had a heck of a time deciding how to score each attribute, but basically just wanted to convey how different this Robusta is than our average coffee. Try not to read into it too much!