Oh my word. Yum. The professionals at the roasters say it tastes of "Panela, Brown Sugar and Dried Fruit"... maybe I've spent too much time upside down lately, but I'm locking in a rather unprofessional "It smells like hazelnuts but tastes like strawberries" on this one. It keeps tasting better as it goes on as well.
I asked Harvey if he approved and he wandered off with the whole SP9 muttering something about bears and woods... and hasn't been seen since. So That's a "two thumbs up" from the big boss (I think).
Tom and Tibby have decided to side with the roasters and go for brown sugar, with the added bonus suggestion of "I'd like to drink this while smoking a massive cigar". (this may or may not be a direct quote.)
Wilhelm the sommelier was trickier to decipher.... It has a nice cherry aftertaste... he might have said sherry... either way he's happily sipping away in the corner talking to himself.
Customer test subject chosen randomly yesterday finished my cup for me and exclaimed "that's REALLY nice!". He ordered the Guatemalan instead of the same thing he's ordered every day for the last 18 months this morning as well. So I guess it was worth losing my morning brew for.
So what makes this one different and why should you care?
Sprudge (of course) has some interesting reading on naturals, and I wholeheartedly encourage you to read up on coffee in all of your spare time, but in a nutshell:
There's a whole bunch of ways to process the coffee once it's been picked - many of which involve removing the cherry from the bean/s then drying. The natural process sees the coffee laid out to dry whole. In this case, Butterworth's accompanying reading material leads me to believe the cherries are de-pulped after 24 hours and then constantly turned for 18 days worth of drying in the sun. Sounds like a good holiday to me!
The idea is that a lot of the sweetness that would usually be stripped off the bean before it is dried now becomes imbued into the bean - this is where we're all getting "strawberries" and "cherries" and "dried fruit" tasting notes from.
This process isn't hugely popular in the coffees we have here in the UK because it is a little more susceptible to things going wrong along the way: mould, fermentation, pests, etc. But when it's performed correctly, as this one has, you end up with this sensational full bodied, sweet magnificent cup.
Get into Honey + Harvey, Woodbridge, Applaud in Ipswich or Guats Up in Bury St Edmunds to try it for yourself! But get in quick, because this one is special and it won't be about for very long!