Q&A with the Roaster’s Pack

Suneal Pabari was kind enough to feature our new Tanzania in this month’s Roaster’s Pack! He asked a couple questions about it:

How would you walk through the taste profile of this cup? What makes this coffee ‘bonkers’? My first sip of Iyenga was at a blind cupping of potential menu samples. The syrupy blackberry and stewed plum left me proclaiming, “this is bonkers!” (I am v. cool and articulate btw). Given my love of sweetness and balance in coffee, Iyenga is nearly perfect. The acidity is so rounded with sugar that it lingers with a vanilla cherry cola finish. Bright with no astringency. Spicy with zero roast. Sweet with balance. Truly, a ‘bonkers’ cup.

Tanzania! Not a region I commonly see – what are your thoughts on Tanzania? We’re featuring another Tanzanian coffee and it’s from a different region – do you have any thoughts on Mbeya specifically? An interesting element in coffee sourcing is how regions represent origin compared to countries. Chances are the other coffee in the pack is from the north in Tarime or Asusha or Moshi. To drive from Tarime to Mbeya is an 18-hour trip. Mapping that same distance in Central America, you would have to start in Nicaragua, travel through Honduras, go to El Salvador, visit Guatemala, then head north to Belize and, lastly, arrive in Mexico. In other words, the industry logic should shift to the micro away from the macro. To actually answer your question: those Tanzania coffees from the north might present closer to a Kenya with some concord grape, caramel, and (depending on roast) maybe a touch of tomato. If you go to the South, you are much closer to Congo, Malawi, and Zambia, which generally brings earthier base notes topped with a zip of syrupy or juicy candy flavours.

Peaberry – you mentioned you’re a fan of PB coffees? Any particular reason as to why? Peaberries make up 5 to 10% of all coffee growing in the world. For the other 90%, when the coffee blossoms are fertilized, two beans form. Those flat sides on most beans are where the two sides meet. In this world of twins, peaberries are only children with only one bean growing from the blossom. There are several causes but frequently it is due to inadequate pollination. With extra room to grow, they gain that uniquely round ‘pea’ shape. I love them because they are challenging to roast, requiring careful heat to fully develop the dense inner core and gaining different momentum in the drum due to their circular form.