A rounded form cultivar that can be difficult to roast but has a unique cup Low acidity, intensly sweet fruited flavors, and nice body, maple syrup, dark honey, melted butter, a touch of chamomile, wheat puff cereal, a dusting of cocoa. City+ to Full City.
We bought this amazing and amusing small-bean coffee years ago, a distinct cultivar grown on the island of Maui. This is a larger 16 screen version of the Maui Moka: the earlier lot we had was 11 screen; extremely tiny! The farm was originally a part of the Pioneer Mill sugar plantation since 1860, which diversified the land out of sugar cane into coffee in 1988 under the name Ka'anapali Estate Coffee. The farm was the product of careful research, and they chose to plant four coffee varieties: Red Catuai, Yellow Caturra, Typica and Moka variety. It is a unique farm in other respects, irrigated with a drip system and planted in precise rows to facilitate mechanical processing of the fruit. Given the flaws of this type of harvesting, additional steps must be taken at the mill to carefully sort out unripe coffee cherries that were picked by the machine. All this took serious capital investment to set up, and over time the project proved unsustainable; parts of the farm were sold for residential and resort development. However a portion of the remaining coffee estate is under the care of one of the original farmers, Kimo Falconer, and his new business called Maui Grown. With this, the Moka is now available in both washed and natural types. This is the natural (Dry-Process; DP) coffee, and I admit that 80% of the character here must be attributed to the process, since the elevations this is grown at are quite low, even by Hawaiian standards. But it is a tribute to the farm and their methods that they are even able to pick and process such small seeds! It requires extra care and specialized equipment. Having tried the wet-process version of the Moka, it pales in comparison to this DP lot.
Dry fragrance from this coffee has a muted fruity quality, with a dusting of cocoa powder. The lightest roast I did had a bit of sweet hay in the wet aroma, but at City+ to Full City this turned to a sweet grain, maple syrup, dark honey, and a Cocoa Puffs chocolate note. On the break there is a bit of sweet melted butter and a touch of chamomile tea. The cup has very low acidity, and may seem a bit imbalanced and flat. The positive qualities compensate well though: rustic sweetness, intense sweet fruit, and oily body. It has honey and maple sugar flavors, and a nice grain note, like honey wheat puffs. There is a muted, mild chocolate flavor, more like milk chocolate syrup, which is underscored by the thick body. This is much larger than the tiny, tiny 11 screen lot we had earlier ... it is still small since the shape is so rounded, but this grades out as 16 screen. It is hard to hear the 1st Crack and a bit hard to judge the color as well. I think air roasters might be the best option, since you can see the roast a bit better. In a Behmor, use the small grid Behmor roaster drum, and keep an eye on this coffee!