For the first part in our four part seasonal series I will be tasting our Coorg blend and deciphering and explaining it’s different taste attributes using the Coffee Taster’s Flavour Wheel. I’ve chosen to use the Coorg, from the Southern Indian region of Karnataka, for this blog post because it’s harvested in Spring. As I explained in my introductory blog post the flavour of coffee is almost impossible to generalise, so let me talk you through the Coorg, step by step...
Interestingly, the Coorg is a Robusta bean
Most people will shy away from what is considered the less desirable bean, however I urge you to run with the ideals of Spring and try something new! ...because this bean is unlike any Robusta you will have tasted before. Normally Robusta beans are 50% bigger than Arabica, however this one is smaller and is prized as a plant. There is no need to blend the Coorg bean because it's complex and distinctive enough on its own. This is down to a number of factors but most important, is the fact that this particular bean is the result of years of cross-pollination with the subspecies coffea congensis. By combining the Robusta with another variety of coffee, India is able to produce exceptional coffees of the low-acidity, big-bodied style that coffee aficionados love.
Now for the actual tasting of the coffee...
Here at CRU, we recommend drinking the Coorg as an espresso or americano. Remember to take care to take in the aroma of the coffee at all stages. To begin with, inhale the smell that escapes when you open the bag - it’s at this point that a rush of the flavour notes of nutty, cocoa and cereal hit me. Now pour your coffee and take in the aroma, keeping in mind that when it comes to taste, your nose does more than your taste buds. It may seem an overwhelming task to pull out the individual taste notes, so let me guide you through.
First take a sip of the delicious hot brew
What you will immediately discern is the roasted taste attribute, which is common to most coffees. However, the wider flavours on the wheel are the useful tools here. They allow you to really pin down the flavour as you delve further into what you can taste. You may detect the aforementioned nutty and cocoa flavours which, if you look at the wheel, are very similar in colour to the burnt and cereal attributes.
Take another sip and look at the opposite side of the wheel
As I’m sure you have already guessed, this coffee is more complex than just one set of flavour attributes and so, on the opposite side of the wheel are the contrasting key characteristics of this blend - the sour fermented and green vegetative attributes. These taste attributes are present due to the washing process of the beans, which allows for fermentation. The fermentation process breaks down the fruit and it becomes effervescent - you can think of this as nature’s way of cooking and developing the flavours of the bean. In this case, the washing accentuates the sour element in the bean, providing the Coorg with a sharp, zingy flavour and a clean, fresh taste.
Another process that affects the flavour is how the beans are dried
Another process element that affects the taste of the Coorg is the fact that it’s sun-dried. Sun dried coffees tend to have a fuller bodied flavour as well as lower acidity. The flavour profiles of these coffees are typically more intense and exotic which is definitely true of the Coorg. After being dried, we dark roast this bean to bring out its deep, herbal body which is reminiscent of the well layered, earthy smells and flavours we associate with India.
We can get a pretty good idea of what a cup of coffee will taste like depending on what part of the world it’s from and it’s wonderful to celebrate a coffee’s heritage by pairing it with food from the same region. This is why I would pair a cup of Coorg with a spiced cinnamon or cardamom bun to compliment the flavours and spices of India. Go on, give it a try!
Shop the recipe...
Indian Coorg Estate
Chocolate with a Savoury Finish
12 pack / 35p per pod
A strong, aromatic Single Estate Robusta with notes of dark chocolate and a long, savoury finish.
With its low acidity and clean mouthfeel, the bean is roasted dark to bring out its deep, herbal body.