NAO’S TIPS TO CREATING THE PERFECT BLEND
How does Master Roaster of Dancing Bean, Nao, design and choose beans to create the right blend? He says it comes down to two things – bean selection and blend design.
- Before buying any coffee, always ask for bean samples to screen its size, density and defect count.
- Always do a sample roast and cupping (tasting) to analyse the flavours and character of the beans. Like wine, every bean has a different flavour depending on where it is grown, the soil condition, climate and altitude.
- Remember to roast all beans separately, according to their origin, because even beans from the same country have different flavours, depending which area/farm them come from.
- Blend design is a bit more complicated; it is like creating a new dish from scratch.
- Some flavours of the bean complement each other, while some mute others.
- Like a chef, it is essential to understand each bean/ingredient and appreciate how it interacts with other beans/ingredients.
- Before designing any new blend of coffee you need to work out what kind of drinking experience you want to deliver, and work from there.
The Best of Both Worlds
With the IndiMex blend, I got samples of different Mexican and Indian beans, and did the cupping and identified the flavours that would create a cup that had the best of both worlds. I decided on using the following two beans:
- Indian Monsoon Malabar AA
Low acidity and full bodied with very punchy spicy notes.
The name of this bean comes from its historical method of processing, whereby its exposure to the monsoon rain and winds of the Malabar Coast were used to reduce the bean’s acidity and create the full body it is so well-known for. The same processing techniques are imitated to this very day… the fruit stored in warehouses by the sea and when monsoon season arrives the warehouse is opened so the strong winds can circulate throughout the coffee which is constantly raked and turned by hand.
- Mexican Kassandra Special
Mid body, mid acidity, mild and well-balanced body, it is very creamy with citrus and nutty notes and a pleasant floral aroma.
The Mexican Kassandra Special bean is grown on the Finca Kassandra, a family owned farm on the slopes of Mount Mesofilos in the Huatusco region of Mexico. The coffee trees grow under shade and at an altitude of 1200 – 1500 metres above sea level (masl). The coffee is handpicked and washed and sorted at the Finca mills – and is some of Mexico’s best! Finca is also 100 per cent Rainforest Alliance certified. It also continually strives to ensure that production is sustainable, with 27 out of the 465 hectares of the farm being left as a wild habitat for native birds and plants.
The IndiMex Blend
The Mexican Kassandra Special bean gives it subtle floral and citrus notes which make it brighter and more soothing. The Indian Monsoon Malabar AA has nutty notes with a full body, which sticks to the palate and complements all the other flavours. The Columbian produces character with a crisp vanilla finish and a smooth body that brings everything together to create a beautiful taste on the palate.
Whichever way you look at it, the IndiMex is a characteristic blend of coffee that packs a punch with every sip. Each of the beans truly complements one another in order to create the perfect cup of coffee, every time. Flavoursome, colourful, bright and fun… reminiscent of India and Mexico, the IndiMex blend takes you away for one small moment and celebrates everything we love about these two cultures.