For the second harvest in a row, we’re so excited to feature a coffee from India’s Riverdale Estate. Riverdale Estate is in Yercaud, a forestry station situated high in the Shevaroy Hills of the Eastern Ghats. The farm sits at an elevation of 1450 metres above sea level, with beautiful natural spring water flowing through it and a forest reserve around it.
Shade trees (silver oak, peppercorn, jackfruit, sandalwood and orange trees) are planted throughout the farm to prevent soil erosion. It’s an area so rich in biodiversity and wildlife, with India bison (guar), monkeys and peacocks living in and around the forest. It has a unique microclimate perfectly suited for coffee cultivation, with the loamy soil found here being a combination of clay, silt and sand. The region’s cool temperatures and misty mornings contribute to the gradual ripening of the coffee cherries, which is desirable for developing more complex flavours.
Riverdale Estate has been a family farm for around 100 years, and is now managed by a young farmer but the name of Prakashan Balarman. He took over the management of the farm in 2005, developing it from the ground up to cater to the specialty coffee industry. Prakashan loves working with nature and studying native tree species, micronutrition for coffee plants, and how to modernise coffee farming.
Prakashan’s brother, Mohan, handles sales and marketing for the farm. He says that the estate aims to be open and transparent with its practises, with a large focus on innovation and sustainability.
“We aspire to be a leader in the global coffee industry by creating an environment where innovation, quality and transparency can all coexist,” he says. “We believe in building an ecosystem where roasters and farmers work hand-in-hand to push the boundaries of the coffee flavour in a sustainable manner.”
Riverdale Estate offers several washed, natural, honey, and carbonic maceration coffees. Mohan explains that their washed coffees are processed with natural spring water, while their naturals are dried on raised beds before being packed away in climate-controlled storage. The harvest season in this region runs from November to January, and the Estate’s trained staff handpick ripe fruit to ensure only high-quality coffee cherries are selected.
Our microlot is made up of champagne naturals. Once harvested, the team at Riverdale Estate subject the cherries to a thorough triple washing process, meticulously removing any floaters and defective beans. They hand-select cherries with a Brix measurement of 25 or higher to ensure maximum sugar levels, setting the stage for a truly flavourful and exceptional cup. The cherries then undergo fermentation in their purpose-built room, where they introduce Italian champagne yeast.
By closely monitoring the pH and temperature during this critical stage, they can achieve a fruit-forward and intricately nuanced cup profile. Following fermentation, the cherries are sun-dried on raised beds for a duration of 30 days, allowing the beans to develop exceptional flavours. A final resting period of 4 weeks further enhances the complexity and balance of the beans.
The coffee is a delightful, complex, balanced cup, with tasting notes of apricot, passionfruit, nougat and a soft hazelnut finish.. We are humbled to be roasting it and we look forward to sharing it with you!
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