Coffees of 2023 : Unakki Coffee Collective : Blue Tokai

The Coffee

EstateUnakki Coffee Collective
Roaster :  BlueTokai Coffee
Varietal :  SLN 13, SLN 9, SLN 795
Process : Washed

The Estate : Unakki Coffee Collective

Set in Joldal, Palya in Chikmagalur district, Unakki Coffee Collective was born out of a passion for Indian coffee and elevating the processes that coffee producers indulge in. The name ‘Unakki’ derives from ‘den of snakes’ which has been a part of the region for more than 400 years and is worshipped by the local community. The name is also an ode to their coffee community which has stayed strong and withheld all kinds of climate changes. 

The collective was started by Kathyayini Muddiah and Rakhee Vishwanath who have backgrounds in Architecture and Software, respectively, and strive to highlight the work done by smaller farmers and celebrate specialty coffee. They also help the producers with timelines, pulping coffee, picking cherries, and more. The biggest challenge they faced was drying the coffee and maintaining its quality because of drastic changes in climatic conditions. 

After quitting their corporate jobs in the Covid-19 lockdown, they began researching how specialty coffee is grown and processed internationally, which prompted them to implement the same in India, to empower neighbouring small-holding coffee farms. The first harvest that they worked on was done using basic specialty practices which was bought by us to support the work that Unakki does. They follow a similar co-op model to how coffees are produced and sold in Costa Rica and most African coffee-producing countries. This model aims at ensuring a sustainable income for smaller producers who wouldn’t usually have access to specialty processing opportunities. 

The three estates from where the coffee cherries hail provide a welcoming habitat for a number of birds, animals and plants. The farms also grow other crops like orange, lemon, jackfruit, banana, soapberry and pepper. (1) (2)

Coffee Collectives arent the norm in the India! But two amazing women have done it and how!! Who run the world?!!

The Roaster : Blue Tokai

BlueTokai, are indian specialty coffee roasters established in 2013 by Matt Chitharanjan, with cafes now across India. they have varied and lovely selection of coffees and have now also expanded to single origin easy pourover sachets. whether you drink specialty coffee or not, BlueTokai is a name that most cafe-frequents are familiar with. when I first started shifting towards specialty coffee, I was hesitant to try BT because I saw their coffee as part of the Koffee with Karan coffee hamper and assumed it would be too much for me. they had so much information on their pack – what’s with the varietals and processes and why are you sending me whole beans?! now I find comfort in that brown paper bag. it has every info I need and I can be assured of the best roast and handling of the beans. throughout this journey, my fondness for BT has grown just as much as they have. it’s not easy to firmly plant your roots and grow in a country that predominantly drinks tea or strong “kaapi”. it’s not easy to cater to Reddit-snobs while still serving coffees in their signature blue ceramics to the non-initiated. but BT has done it. BT stands strong as symbol of having understood what people need – coffee that they can enjoy, just as they want it.

The Processor : Barista on Bike

Barista on Bike AKA Binny AKA Coffee Coach  helps the coffee farms with processing of their coffee among so many other things. At the farm level, he helps with training ground staff regarding selective picking, drying process, helps them make the PSD and honeys that we roast and brew at home. Binny is now a Q Processing Level 2 Professional which is just absolutely ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

What I Want To Remember

Okay so i have this bias towards washed coffee as in i usually dont prefer them but i got them because of the fact that it was Unakki (UCC x Barista on Bike) and my coffee-soulmate SLN13.
The coffee did not disappoint. This is perfect if you are used to washed coffee and want to expand into the florals and fruitiness. Balanced. I dint find it to be light. It was beautiful on the Aeropress. (Use two filter papers).

 

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