Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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While most European and Australian roasters recognize that a good Robusta can improve an espresso blend, the concept of high-quality Robusta is still something that few American roasters grasp. Even though newer roasters are quick to reject rules of thumb that guided previous generations, one rule many hesitate to break is, "Arabica good, Robusta bad." DAY 9 — KEREHUCKALOO ESTATE The best coffee on every Josuma sourcing trip is at Kerehuckaloo—or to be more precise, this is where the best morning coffee is served. One of the confounding things about traveling to origin is that the coffee available in-country is rarely as good as that country's beans in the United States. Economics dictates much of this. Because consum- ing countries can pay more for beans, most countries will export their best beans. Locals get stuck with the remnants. You can see this in the way locals consume coffee. Typically, the local drink will include other ingredients, such as chicory, lots of milk, sugar, or condensed milk, to compensate for shortcomings in the beans available locally. In South India, the local drink is something called "fi lter coffee," which is a mix of coffee (often augmented with chicory), sugar, and milk. Imagine a sweet, frothy, café au lait. Getting a good South Indian fi lter coffee, however, requires surmounting another obstacle: Most people in India, including the kitchen help that make the coffee, are tea drinkers. This isn't a problem at Kerehuckaloo Estate, where the owner, H. B. Rajagopal, makes the morning coffee himself. Starting with beans grown on his estate and roasted for him at a local coffee works, he produces the coffee decoction (imagine cold-brew concentrate, but made with hot water) each day. To make the morning coffee, he heats up milk (sometimes freshly drawn), combines it with sugar and decoction, and then aerates it by pouring it back and forth between the pan and a cup. While the coffee is quite tasty in the kitchen, it becomes even more enjoyable when I pair it with the stunning view from the porch. DAY 10 — BADNEKHAN ESTATE The fi nal plantation on my itinerary is Badnekhan Estate, located high up on Merthi Mountain. Although I start this day just fi ve miles away at Kerehuckaloo, the drive takes an hour as the route requires us to circumnavigate the mountain before ascending. Badnekhan, an estate blessed with both heavy shade and elevation high enough to lose cell coverage, is worth the wait. After touring the fi elds, pulp house, and drying yards with owner Roshin Varghese, we do a cupping of the estate's beans. The table includes not just the Selection 9s that regularly win Flavour of India awards, but also a surprisingly fruity S795 and a juicy Caturra strain (dubbed "Avanthi"). Lunch al fresco follows, ending with a plate of Instagram-worthy rose apples, one of the many other crops grown here, for dessert. Visitors to Indian coffee farms are often surprised to learn that polyculture is the norm. Although coffee is a plantation's major crop, it is never the only crop. Peppercorns, timber, and/or areca nut are other common major crops. Coconut, vanilla, cacao, cardamom, rice, citrus fruit, or rubber may also be in the mix. Eschewing monoculture offers not just the environmental sustainability we read about in The At Badnekhan Estates raised beds are used extensively. This photo shows washed coff ee in the fi rst three rows, and honey process in the fourth row. Further back, unripes and fl oaters get dry processed. 46 barista magazine

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