This morning I have another review from S&W Craft Roasting out of Coatesville, Indiana. They sent me a lot of coffee and they do a GREAT job roasting all of it and have excellent pricing on all their offerings! What more do you need?! Today I’m reviewing their Bali Blue Moon Organic RFA, which sells for $14.05/pound (yes, full pound bags!). This is a perfect coffee to review on a dark, rainy, stormy Kansas City morning!
Bali is one of the islands that makes up Indonesia and a decent amount of coffee from Bali is grown at pretty low altitudes or isn’t even from Bali at all and is grown elsewhere in Indonesia and then marketed as being from Bali. This one from S&W, however, seems to have all the right provenance. It’s a wet-hulled coffee that, like most good Balinese coffee is grown in the Kintamani highlands at 1300-1700masl between the volcanoes, Batukaru and Mt. Agung. The varietal is Typica (S-795) that was likely planted in the 1970’s or 1980’s in an effort to revive Bali’s coffee production following Agung’s eruption.
This coffee is organic and Rainforest Alliance (RFA) certified and that makes sense as it is grown and processed under the Subak Abian system. Subak Abian is a traditional Balinese agricultural system where farmers work together in a co-op and there are cultural and religious overtones, too. Subak Abian is based on the tradition of Tri Hita Karana or “three causes of well-being.” These are harmony among people, harmony with nature/environment and harmony with God. Sounds like the right people to be growing organic coffee, no?
Important for us, too, is that even though this is a wet-hulled coffee (a processing method that can result in lots of problems at almost every stage), Bali has pretty tight control on the handling of their coffees, so the end result is not some funky, dirty weirdness in the cup, but rather a nice, soft, pleasant coffee!
I tried this coffee both as pourover in my Gino dripper and in the AeroPress and my inverted AeroPress method was definitely the way to go, for me.
In the Gino, there was an herbal component to the flavors that followed the coffee as it cooled. The second half of the sip had an umami quality (unctuous, is the best way to describe it) with a fair amount of bitterness in the aftertaste. There were hints of cherry that came out once in a while, too. The cup picked up quite a bit of sweetness as it cooled and opened up some acidity, too. It reminded me of orange juice in the mouthfeel and quality of the sweetness and acidity, but I wouldn’t say there was actually any citrus flavors coming through.
For the AeroPresses I used an inverted method. 17-18g of coffee and I grind to near-espresso fineness. Not sure what my water temp is, I’m lazy about that, but I use a small boiler (Bonavita) and leave it off boil for about a minute. I pour about 30g of water into the coffee and mix it well to get a good bloom for 30-45 seconds, then hit my timer and pour to 240g of coffee. Mix, let it sit to the 1:00 mark, mix again. At 1:50 I give a final mix, cap, invert and press for a total of about 2:30 by the finish of the press.
Anyway, this was a totally different coffee tasted this way! Way more fruit in the cup, evident with the first sip. The fruit was hard to pin down, but it was sweet and bright and had a bit of a spicy, maybe black pepper, undertone. The mouthfeel was syrupy and it had a juicy quality to it. Overall the AeroPressed coffee had similarities to apple juice for me, but again, without necessarily tasting overt apple flavors in it. It was a crisp and refreshing acidity and sweetness, and nicely clean.
I was “meh” about this coffee as a pourover, but became an immediate fan of it in the AeroPress! In fact I think I have just enough time to make up a second one before work… 🙂