Posted Wed Feb 23, 2011, 11:00am Subject: India Giri-Region Chandrakan Estates Coffee
This is a single-origin bean from the Chandrakan Estates mountain plantations in the Western Ghats region of India. I have gotten to know the grandson of the primary owner of the estates, and they specialize in hi quality Arabica and also harvest/process Robusta for use in espresso blends all throughout SE Asia. Their "Giri Estates" arabica is the bean I've gotten to know well over the last several months.
The green coffee is imported directly from the estates in India, making this fairly rare to have full traceability from coffee tree to cup. It is grown at 3600-4500 feet elevation in the Western Ghats mountains. This is pretty much the region within a few hours of Mysore, where Baba Budan is thought to have brought the first uncontrolled seedlings from Yemen in 1670, before which coffee was controlled by roasting or boiling the seeds to sterilize them.
For home roasting: This is a fairly dense bean, with a rather long time to first crack. Taken well into second crack, the bean integrity really comes through, with a remarkable ability for the whole bean to stay intact when taken toward end of 2nd crack. In fact, this is the first bean that actually developed a definite oily sheen in the Behmor, and no places where there were any chunks blown off the bean. Green coffee is available by contacting the owner via email for low-$5/lb.
Their standard roast is just at start of second crack, mostly "Full City". Impressions for their standard roasted coffee: -Ground coffee has a mild, nutty smell mixed with distant cardamom. -Aroma of the brew: has components of nutmeg and cinnamon, with a hint of floral-orchid. Second sniff may bring some slight pecan-nutty remniscence. -Taste: The first thing that strikes you is the overall smoothness. Not acidic and not bitter. Body is medium weight to slightly syrupy, with a very surprisingly smooth mouthfeel. There's an initial taste of bright apple that fades quickly into a blend of dark-semisweet chocolate covered pecans. The cinnamon is still present and seems to finish with something that reminds me (very slightly) of a toffee-chocolate malt. The smoothness remains throughout cooling, where the fruit tastes fade toward the darker chocolate and malt and nut as it cools. -Overall impressions/descriptions: Surprising complexity (India coffees get a bad rap), Balanced, SMOOTH as silk.
For home roasting, I've found the following: City+ range emphasizes the fruit, and an apple-pear brightness is present at a lighter roast, in lieu of the spice/nut/chocolate. There is a sweet slight hint of toffee, maybe some blueberry in there too.
Roasting toward 2nd crack (Full City) brings out a lovely balance of initial fruit but overall exotic spice-cinnamon-chocolate, but definitely shifting the taste profile away from any fruit toward the spice.
My favorite is FC+ (about 20 seconds into second crack, cool on the Behmor, then remove and rapid cool in approximately a minute plus a few seconds). You're greeted with toffee, caramel, nutmeg/allspice with semisweet chocolate. Any fruit or floral notes are muted and replaced with a more developed "coffiness" but still without the bitterness associated with a darker roast. Don't know why, but it's still smooth, even at a darker roast.
You can roast this into Vienna - the bean holds up, but be prepared for the onslaught of smoke flavoring and burnt sugar creeping into your cup. Blackstrap molasses starts to come into the flavor profile. That being said, it doesn't seem to become this hulking, brooding DARK biting coffee like a Sumatra does. IMHO, it's much better at this dark roast than Starbuck's Sumatra (extremely dark roast with too much smoke/creosote flavor overpowering everything), if you're into that.
The roasted coffee is available through www.deckancoffee.com - they roast in moderate to large batches, roughly weekly, in the Plymouth, MI area, to approximately Full City (on the verge of or at start of 2nd crack). They also have peaberry version available, roasted on the website, green if you contact the owner.
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