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Fourth wave in a coffee cup

Published: 07th March 2021 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th March 2021 06:48 PM

By Bindu Gopal RaoExpress News Service

From whisky barrel-aged coffee to fruit-fermented beans and innovative experiments in farming, fermentation and drying the fourth wave of coffee is set to spring a surprise. The brew is going artisanal. There is an increased focus on how it is grown, nurtured, processed as well as how it is being roasted. Sunalini Menon, Asia’s first woman professional coffee taster, and President, Coffeelab Ltd, Bengaluru, says: “Artisanal coffees are unique in taste and are always available in micro quantities.”

Such coffees are identified with sustainable practices in cultivation and prepared with care, precision and high-quality roasting.” Something like this is happening at Baarbara Estate, currently managed by the fourth generation of coffee growers from Chikmagalur, Karnataka.

Through their brand The Caffeine Baar, they are seeking to serve many coffee explorations to enthusiasts. Poojya Prasad, the co-founder, says, “We have worked on a unique fermentation process involving pineapple, which has given good results. To start with, pulped coffee beans are mixed with pineapple for a select number of hours.

The natural juices and the skin of pineapple, ferment the coffee beans. This process is monitored in a controlled environment. Once it’s complete, the mixture is dried on raised beds over several days. The coffee is monitored at each interval, resulting in batches with varying depths and notes of flavours.”
Roasters are having a field day. Take for instance, Maverick and Farmer Coffee Roasters, who have introduced new coffees that unlock more than what species, terroir or roasting can offer.

By intervening in the growing, processing, drying, blending and roasting stages of coffee (without any artificial additions), the endeavour is to explore different kind of tasting notes Indian coffee can offer. “We work on micro-lot coffees,” says Ashish D’ábreo, the founder-partner at Maverick and Farmer Coffee Roasters. Last year, they began work with fermentation and used ingredients such as fruit, yeasts, and cultured bacteria for the fermentation process. Abdul Sahid Khan, the training manager at Lavazza Training Center, India, adds, “Being passionately connected between coffee products and a need for eco-consciousness, have coffee roasters sourcing whole beans in small batches through direct and fair trade.

Many of the coffee roasters and importers today partner with handpicked farmers, and even reinvest into the farmer family’s land/business.” Research is at the cornerstone of these innovations. Located in Sakleshpur in Karnataka, Harley Estate, an extension of Harley Plantation Research Institute (HPRI), Asia’s first private research facility dedicated to coffee, is a lab where coffee-related experimentation goes on round the year. The purpose is to improve plantation management techniques and develop unique processing methods.

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