Weather, elevation decides taste

The Flying Squirrel

Coffee lovers in the city must be a happy lot. There many options in places to have a hot cuppa and newer varieties and blends are being discovered regularly.

Metrolife spoke to owners of some of the popular cafes in the city who brew their own coffee, farm to cup style.

The Flying Squirrel

Starting off as a purely coffee making business, owners Ashish Dabreo and Tej later decided to open a cafe in Koramangala a couple of years ago. They have an estate in Coorg.

The cafe offers about eight varieties of coffee.
The bean and powder are also retailed online and at the cafe.

Ashish says, “We follow the artisanal method to create our coffee. Depending on the type of coffee we are using, the process also varies according.”

One of their products, Sunkissed Coffee, is made with pulped sundried robusta bean. “There are two ways in which you can roast coffee — you either remove the skin and pulp and then dry it, or leave some of the pulp when drying. We follow the latter for Sunkissed coffee. The bean is fermented and then left to dry for 12 days. In this case, the fruitiness in the pulp gets absorbed into the bean, giving the coffee a distinct flavour.”

Each of the varieties offered here goes through various experimentations like pulping, drying, smoking and roasting before it goes on the shelf.

“Sometimes, cross plantation with citrus and vanilla gives different outputs too. And when that’s done, the storing process also needs to be monitored so that we get the consistency required,” adds Ashish.

He says that they are able to experiment with each harvest as the city is open to newer blends.

Coffee Mechanics

Ganga Prabhakar, co-founder, explains that their motto is to educate coffee lovers about the varieties they offer.

“We have three estates in Srilakshmi, Bhadrapura and Kuttinkhan, each of which give us different outputs as they are micro-farmed in different soils. With the difference in elevation at which the beans are grown, the flavour differs too. Depending on the roasting technique, the shade changes from light roasted to darker,” she explains.

The more you roast it, the more caramelised it becomes. However, if almost burnt, it becomes ashy which ruins the taste. The lightly roasted ones give a tangier taste which the brewers call ‘acidity’. “The higher you roast, the lesser the acidity. And then it can become caramelised or chocolatey — 
depends on what you prefer.”

Ganga adds, “Coffee making is a delicate process. You have to ensure that you handle the crop with great care, especially if you are making specialty coffee. Every fruit in a tree isn’t the same. Weather plays a major part in this, the roasting process must also be altered accordingly.”

Third Wave Coffee Roasters

Unlike other brewers, Third Wave Coffee Roasters don’t have their own plantation. They get samples from various farms between the months of March to May which they use to roast, cup and sample before they decide which coffee they want to buy for the year.

Co-founder Ayush Bathwal says, “Most of our coffees come from Yercaud and Kerala. We work with single origin farms so that we can maintain the authenticity of the beans available. We mix the beans only if we are experimenting with certain blends.” So how does their blending and brewing process work? “We buy close to 1,000 kg of green beans which we roast according to need. Once roasted, we store them in airtight containers. Each blend last two to four weeks.”

They follow the Specialty Coffee Association of America meter. They finalise the product only if the bean scores more than 80 points.

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Weather, elevation decides taste

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