Bindu Gopal Rao
In the recent years, wine tasting is a word that most urban folks have come to understand. However today, coffee-tasting sessions are slowly but surely making a mark in the pretentious tasting space. The reason is a clear trend towards having speciality coffee, artisan coffee, and even micro roastaries akin to micro breweries. Well if that sounds like a lot of jargon, it is really not. For the uninitiated, micro-roastery is a small space where coffee is roasted in small batches that allow better control over profile roasting, manipulating temperature and time graphs to throw up interesting nuances and taste detailing. Artisan coffee is about applying artisanal cultivation, processing, drying and roasting methods to create unique and distinct coffees merging science and art!
Coffees can come in a number of varieties, even if you ignore the variations introduced by types or sources of beans.
“The brews themselves are pretty much the same — save for a few bells and whistles like almond milk and Nutella, but the brewing methods have changed. The real magic happens in the roaster (machine), with the hand of the roaster (person) being paramount in successfully crafting a product that deserves the tag artisan coffee,” avers Mihir Rebello, co-founder & Roaster, Coffee Mechanics.
Cold brew is catching on and is basically brewing coffee without any application of heat. “We leave the coffee grounds in cold water for about 14-20 hours, and then filter it to create a refreshing, well-rounded, naturally sweet brew. Nitro brew is cold brew infused with nitrogen under high pressure. The nitrogen blends into the brew, stretching the natural flavours of coffee, without adding any additional taste (nitrogen has no taste or smell). The brew is also rendered creamy and full bodied,” says Ashish D’abreo, founding partner of The Flying Squirrel, Artisanal Coffee.
Today, artisanal coffees are taking the centrestage, considering the unique and distinctive taste profile that these coffees possess and offer in the cup. Sunalini N Menon, director of Tata Coffee Ltd and CEO, Coffee Labs India (P), says, “bullet proof coffee that entails to the addition of coconut oil to the coffee drink to energise and stimulate the coffee drinker, especially those who would like to have that extra dose of energy is trending. Besides micro, lots of coffees, single estate and single origin coffees continue to enjoy a special place in the niche coffee market.”
At the heart of artisan coffee is the idea that what you are consuming is a special product, one that took hours of painstaking effort to create and provides you with an experience that is above and beyond what the market generally offers.
“The new-age coffee connoisseur wants a ready solution to their coffee desires, and that’s where artisan coffees come in the capsule format, thereby eliminating the hard work and ensuring that a perfect coffee is only moments away,” says Tuhin Jain, co-founder of Bonhomia. Coffee By Di Bella is currently showcasing different flavours via innovative coffee beverage creations like Spanish lattes, diamond cappuccinos, sparkling cloud drinks and coffee from different regions like Panama, Ethiopia and Colombia.
“Every cup of coffee has a story and artisan coffee pioneers want to showcase and bring to life the entire drop to cup process of the ultimate coffee experience,” says Phillip Di Bella, founder, Coffee By Di Bella.
For the connoisseurs
The name of the game is customisation and that is possible by playing with roast levels and grind size. The clincher, however, is the story for each coffee in terms of its origin, the terroir, the processing methods used and the roast profile. Rhea Sanghi, community manager of Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters, explains what makes their coffees tick. “Firstly, the coffee is completely traceable and the information about each of the farms is shared on the pouches as well as the website. The coffee is freshly roasted only on order and the roasting date clearly stated on the pouches. This matters because you want to consume the coffee within three weeks of the roast date (not the date the pack was opened or the coffee was ground) to get the best flavour.”
Home brewing is catching on and the cafe experience is now at home. Kobid Sinha, beverage manager at JW Marriott, Kolkata, avers, “People strive to take everything back to the basics by starting with green un-roasted beans and crafting our own syrups. Everybody now wants to make everything fresh and from scratch.”
Although maybe not fast enough, the awareness of different brewing methodologies is making equipments such as a French press, Moka pot and AeroPress household names.
According to Tapaswini Purnesh, director marketing and promotions, Classic Coffees, “Food pairings with coffee is a trend that is further evolving every year. If paired right, a simple nibble with your sip of coffee can create a flavour explosion and expose some beautiful flavours from your cup.”
Bullet proof coffee that involves the addition of coconut oil to the coffee drink to energise and stimulate the coffee drinker, especially those who would like to have that extra dose of energy,
is trending. Besides micro, lots of coffees, single estate and single origin, continue to enjoy a special place in the niche market
Coorg to Seattle
The Nullore microlot of Tata Coffee is an example of an artisanal coffee possessing distinctive features of flavours such as orange, lemon, chocolate and caramel. Grown in the Tata Coffee Limited estate in Coorg, block 19 of Bhuthanahadlu division, was selected due to the presence of fruit bat for a microlot. The coffee berries from this area were picked at the right stage of maturity and processed separately. The traceability of the lot was ensured at every stage till it was dispatched to the curing mill and the lot was garbled to ensure 100 per cent uniformity. The lot was eventually selected to the Starbucks reserve programme and is now sold out at the Seattle outlet.