This morning I’m taking a look at a roaster that has not been featured here on KC Coffee Geek and who I’ve been Instastalking for years now… Missoula, Montana’s Black Coffee Roasting Co. They sent me a couple coffees to try out and I’m starting out with their Sulawesi Rantekarua. Let’s drink and find out more about this iconic Montana coffee roaster!
The Little Montana Guide for Coffee Lovers (stumbled on this link and it’s great! Had to share!)
BLACK COFFEE ROASTING CO. SULAWESI RANTEKARUA
I’ve been following Missoula, Montana’s Black Coffee Roasting Co. for at least a year or two now. I think the first photo that drew me in was of their iconic Quonset building that they moved into in 2014. BCRC was founded in 2010 by Matt McQuilkin and Jim Chapman in Missoula, Montana, to feed their creative needs as well as fill what they perceived was a hole in the market there. Missoula is to Montana what Austin is to Texas… an artsy college town that favors community over capitalism and fosters enjoyment in everyday things. Since the beginning, all of Black Coffee’s selections have been organic because they strongly believe that sustainability is a crucial aspect of the coffee business as well as for the planet.
This morning’s coffee is BCRC’s Sulawesi Rantekarua. It’s an organic, washed coffee from the Rantekarua Estate on the slopes of Mt. Karua. This estate is in the Tana Toraja Regency of South Sulawesi and if any of these places sound familiar to you, it’s probably Tana Toraja, which exports a lot of coffee. This lot consists of Catimor, S795 and Typica varieties (and the beans are big! Pacamara-sized beans in this bag of coffee, and they’re gorgeous). Coffee at the estate is grown around 1400-1700masl and this is a carefully washed coffee. I used a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper with a Kalita 185 filter for this coffee. As always, I brewed with Third Wave Water and my Handground grinder was set to 3. I found this to be an easy-grinding coffee with a nice bloom and water flowed nice and easy through the filter bed, coming in around 3:30 give or take a few seconds (bloom included).
Black Coffee Roasting Co. gives us tasting notes of, “Beautifully smooth with a silky body, a natural cane sweetness, and hints of apple, this is one of the most elegant Indonesian coffees we have ever had at Black Coffee.” I am not getting much other than “coffee” aroma (lol now you see why I don’t get paid for this!) and a caramelized sugar note in the nose, but that’s not atypical for heavier bodied, lower acidity coffees, either, in my experience. And that ain’t a bad aroma, in any case! I’d call the body on this coffee on the heavy side of medium to the light side of heavy. It does have a very silky, almost creamy mouthfeel and it coats my tongue like a warm, sweet blanket.
This is definitely a “low acid” coffee, at least as far as my perceived acidity. Third Wave Water tends to bring out the high notes in a cup, in my opinion (after 4-5 months of use everyday), and even brewed with TWW this Rantekarua leans a lot more toward the low end, with that heavy mouthfeel and lots of sweetness in the cup. There is a malic (think apples) acidity that I’d place more in the sweet/red apple category rather than the more tart Granny Smith range. That’s the main character of this coffee… sweetness for miles and a nice, crisp, sweet apple acidity to offer some balance and character. There is a hint of aromatic woodiness in the cup, too, especially if I agitate the coffee in my mouth and puff breaths out my nose (aka retronasal breathing). This coffee also finishes pretty dry with a bit of tea-like astringency and while I suppose that’s a “fault” it never bothers me, especially when it’s at this degree of subtlety. If anything it adds another layer of complexity. Throughout the cup there’s a bit of baking spice character, too, and the aftertaste is long and sweet for this offering from Sulawesi.
This coffee gives a lot of comfort vibes… the flavors lean toward “warm” and “welcoming” and “inviting.” It’s a beautifully clean and simple cup with some complexity from that slight woodiness and tea-like finish, but overall this is a dense, sweet, easy to drink coffee that favors the low end bass notes coffee has to offer. This would make a great “gateway coffee” for someone who isn’t too sure about this whole new-fangled specialty thing. Melting their face off with a bright Kenyan would probably be too big of a leap, but this is a coffee that is incredibly accessible and familiar to any coffee drinker while still having some really spectacular qualities. What a super introduction to Black Coffee Roasting Co.’s coffee! Woo hoo!