Trust the Process
Perched at an altitude of 1200 – 1400 meters, the farm spreads across a steep valley in the Baba Budangiri hills of Chikmagalur. Receiving the mild morning sun and 300 centimeters of rain, the coffee plants sit in the comforting shade from native jungle trees. They enjoy cool weather throughout the year, and heavy mist takes residence during the monsoons. All of this births some of the finest coffees in peak complexity.
Swimming against the current of convention, Natural Farming is practiced in one of the wettest, toughest places to do so. Dung and urine from native Malnad cows is used for fertigation thru the drip network. Rabbits, chicken, ducks, dogs, and a variety of wildlife adorn the farm. Natural movement and sound are perennial, like the stream that drives the micro-hydroelectric plant. With an abundance of wildlife in all its glory, and we feel free to touch, smell and taste everything, including the soil.
Rigorous sorting of unripe and over-ripe cherries forms the starting point. Coffee is pulped fresh and under our watch. Extraordinary care is given to the drying process, done under partial shade. Innovation and constant pushing of boundaries is embedded in Tat Tvam Asi’s DNA, like dreadlocks that cannot be undone. This is most evident in their exquisite coffees from Anaerobic Fermentation. Meticulous record-keeping of pressure, temperature and pH makes it feel like a Science Lab, and the resulting flavours re-define ‘Special’ in Speciality Coffee.
We employ manual control and record-keeping, to develop human skill and understanding. This way we feel so connected to the coffees that it becomes an extension of ourselves. The desire for exceptional quality is embedded in each person’s DNA, and not treated as a separate function. Like Isaac Newton, we enjoy sitting under trees, and freeing our minds to fly. We observe that the leaves on a tree all look similar, yet no two are the same. Like that, our roasting process has constant experimentation within a structure. This makes our coffees consistently great and yet never the same.
Quality in the cup is our priority, not convenience. We have narrowed down the equipment list to just 3 – Pour Over, Aeropress and Moka Pot. To achieve control, a fast thermometer is the single most important tool. A good burr grinder comes second. Avoid cheap equipment, save up and invest in good build quality. One has to develop intrinsic understanding of the process, a sensory connection to the coffee, and independent judgement. Brewing of speciality coffees is a rewarding experience, and demands focus. Brewing and tasting together in a small group in a relaxed environment is a good way to learn, and a good reason to visit Mysore.