A clean-tasting and surprisingly bright coffee, mild at first but intensifies greatly as it cools. Hazelnut and praline notes coexist with sweet spices and baked apple fruit tastes. City+ to Full City+ and darker.
Wet-process India arabica coffees are very mild coffees when they are correctly picked and processed. But much of the coffee is grown at relatively low altitudes and poorly processed and prepared. There is a lot of regular commercial grade India arabica. Even when well done, the coffees can be "softish" physically and in flavor. Soft coffees from low altitudes are more difficult to roast (especially in small home roasters I believe). The result can be ashy flavors, and greater risk of scorching or tipping the coffee. That's why I have been very impressed with this new crop arrival of Pearl Mountain Peaberry. This coffee plantation was planted in 1920 by Shivappaiya Patre, who cultivated the estate and called it Ratnagiri which when translated to English means Pearl Mountain. This estate has now been passed on to the 3rd generation of Estate owners, Rohith and Ashok Patre. The coffee is planted between 1200 and 1500 meters in a zone of the Western Ghat mountains that gets consistently heavy rainfall. The coffee on the farm is interplanted with pepper vines (which are grown on the canopy of large shade trees) and cardamom groves. The Patre family is extremely quality conscious. The coffee is grown under shade trees midst pepper vines and cardamom groves. The carefully picked cherries are sorted prior to pulping, fermented between 42 and 72 hours and hand-washed in water from clear mountain streams. The brightness and clean cup taste really sets this Indian arabica coffee apart from the mirky-tasting, unclean flavors we find often in India wet-process coffees, which are generally more commercial-level coffees.
The aromatics form an intriguing and complicated sensual image, in anticipation of the cup flavors. The dry fragrance has a clean hazelnut tone in its roast aspect, almost sweet-savory in spice notes, with a hint of sandalwood. The wet aroma is very sweet, caramelized notes of dark sugar, slightly fruited with baked apple, cinnamon and allspice. The cup is loaded with sweet spices and praline nut, as well as possessing a striking brightness. There is a muted fruit note of baked apple that is more apparent at the lighter City roast level. But it's really at a darker level, City+, where the coffee comes into its own. The nutty tone sweetens, and the bright snap in the cup brings life to the roast tone. Hazelnut predominates, with nice caramelized sugar notes, with powdered Dutch cocoa in the finish. Darker roasts have a more pungent roast taste, with cola nut sweetness. The body is moderate, not noticeably heavy.