We’ve arrived, dear readers, at the end of the road for our coffees from New York’s Peaks Coffee Co. The Ethiopia and Kenya (links right below this!) were excellent and now I’m looking at a microlot from Java that has, unfortunately, just recently sold out. But, let’s take a look anyway because this is a different process from that area that I’m not familiar with, so there’s a lot to learn here!
Purchase directly from Peaks for $15/12oz SOLD OUT!
PEAKS COFFEE CO. JAVA PUSPA MICROLOT
Java is a huge island in the Indonesian chain, home to the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, and 141 million population. It’s big! This coffee comes from the Bandung and Garut regions of the island, to the southeast of Jakarta, in the Pupsa subregion. Growing altitude for coffee there is about 1200masl and this coffee gets the giling kering process, which I think may be a first for me. Peaks only purchased two bags of this coffee, which explains why it sold fast (keep in mind, a “bag” of coffee to a roaster is 60kg, or 132 pounds of green coffee!
A majority of the coffee from Indonesia is processed in the famous/notorious giling basah method in which the cherry and the parchment (a protective layer around the bean) are removed so the beans can dry faster. This is mechanically rough on the beans and they are often laid out on patios, roads, wherever, to rapidly dry. But, because coffee beans are like flavor sponges, they pick up some pretty dirty (sometimes literally) flavors. Once the beans are kind of dry, they are sacked up and start the complex process of changing hands from middleman to middleman. This is a wonderful opportunity for mold, fungus, etc to infect some of the beans, too, so the importers who cup tons of Indo coffees are truly doing God’s work for us! LOL Indonesian coffees are prized for some of the flavors that would be unacceptable in any other origin, so these can be weird coffees with fans who have appreciation for funky, dirty, woody, herbal flavors.
This coffee, however, gets the giling kering process, which roughly means “dry hulling” instead of the wet hulling I mentioned above. This is a lot more similar to a traditional washed coffee in other parts of the world where the coffee is picked, the cherry is removed, but unlike in wet hulling, the parchment is left intact. This protects the beans while they dry slower and it’s an easier process on the coffee and can result in cleaner flavors. So, this cup should be more like a mesoamerican washed coffee than a traditional wet hulled Indo, I’m guessing.
I used my usual 1:16 pourover ratio in the notNeutral Gino with Kalita 185 filters. That’s 28g of coffee to 450g of water and I get a total brew time of about 3:00 including a 30 second bloom. Peaks gave us tasting notes of, “Earl Grey, nectarine, clove” for this one. This is a really beautiful coffee and I hate to say that since you can’t get hold of it anymore. Sorry, friends! There is a very soft and sweet citrus note in the cup that adds some balance to a sweet bass note and a pretty big body. Unlike the Kenyan coffees I reviewed over the last couple days, the citrus acidity in this coffee is subtle and it’s there to complement the sweet, darker/deeper tones of the cup rather than play a major flavor role. The finish is a little dry and leaves my tongue a bit dry/sandpapery feeling. I generally call this “astringent” but I don’t know whether that’s accurate or not, and astringency is a defect in coffee and this is more of a “feel” than a flavor, so I think I need a better and more accurate descriptor. Nonetheless, that sort of dry finish associates heavily with tea, for me, so I can see where Peaks’ “Earl Grey” descriptor comes from. This is a lot less “Earl Grey” than some light washed Ethiopians I have had where, if I were blinded, I would literally think I was drinking tea. There are some warm spice notes intermingled with all of this, too. I don’t know that I can say “clove” outright, but it’s those warm spices in the vein of cloves, nutmeg, ginger, etc. They’re not super-forward and I get them more in the second half of the sip and finish, but again, they add some nice complexity.
This is a really delicious coffee and I can see why it sold out fast! Three really nice coffees from Peaks Coffee Co. and what a great way to get reacquainted with a roaster who was featured on the site early on! Way to go, guys, keep up the good work!