Karnataka is a state in India, and the name of the sourcing-group we bought this coffee from. They work with a fairly large group of plantation farmers throughout different counties within Karnataka, and this lot represents the coffee from a single-estate, Mallali in Chickmagalur. This region sits at the foothills of Mullayanagiri range, probably the most famous coffee region in India. This is an AB selection, so around 15 to 17-screen bean size, and gets a second sort during milling. Perhaps more importantly, this is a "tree-dried" coffee, which is exactly as it sounds. The coffee is not dried on a patio or mechanically, it's left on the tree to wither before removing the cherry, and then dry-hulling. This imparts flavor for sure, and makes for more of a fruited cup character, with big body and lower acidity. About 70% of the coffee grown in the region is of the old Kent 975 arabica varietal, and all the coffee is shade grown out of necessity, for reprieve from the oppressive Summer temperatures.
Aromatically, this coffee is quite fruit-forward, ripe berry notes in the the dry fragrance, with a strong scent of baked fruit and sugar. City+ roasts build on the fruited sweetness, and along with an earthy undertone, gives an impression similar to naturally-processed Brazilian coffees. The wet aroma continues this theme with both fresh and dried fruit notes, and along with a toasted sugar scent gives of an impression of holiday fruit cake. There's a grain-sweetness flavor that comes through in the cup, toasted barley and even a bit of honey-wheat bread. This cup cools well, with fruit flavors you might expect from naturally-processed coffees: strawberry, wine grapes, and hibiscus tea, offset earth-toned and grain-like sweetness. Definitely one of the more complex Indian coffees we tasted, the sweetness benefits from taking to the middle-roast range as a starting point, I recommend City+ to Full City. Too far beyond Full City and an ashiness is brought out.