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Pulped Naturals
8 May 2013

pulped naturals

cupping "Peaches?  What do you mean a hint of peach?  I didn't put peaches in the coffee.  There ain't no peaches anywhere near my farm!"

That was my response, many years ago, the first time we received professional feedback about our coffee.  Friends had been telling us that it was good coffee.  Customers that we didn't even know would go out of their way to tell us how much they liked Kona Earth coffee.  They'd say things like "This is the best coffee I've ever had!" or "I never liked coffee until I had yours."  We still receive such comments, just the other day a customer said "We love your coffee, it's the only one we will drink and we are sharing it with family and friends!!"

Such feedback is always appreciated, especially after a hard day when it feels like the farm is conspiring against us.  Still, as nice as it is to have happy customers, it's also nice to get some positive feedback from professionals.  The only problem is that professional feedback can sometimes be a bit confusing unless you know what in the heck they're talking about.

wheel The problem is that humans don't have a very thorough vocabulary when it comes to describing things like taste.  Try it for yourself, try describing the difference between a peach and an apricot without using the word peach or apricot.  It's not easy to do.  Now try describing the difference between two nearly identical cups of Kona coffee without using words like "good" or "bad."

Imagine a food critic reviewing a restaurant.  If it's a Mexican restaurant, but the food critic hates cilantro, it's not fair for the restaurant to get a bad review simply because the food critic doesn't like cilantro.  Other people might love cilantro.  As a professional critic, it's important to describe the restaurant's food in an unbiased and consistent manner without personal opinion getting in the way.

The same is true with coffee.  I don't care if a particular critic likes medium roast or dark roast, what I want to know is if there are any defects and what those defects might be.  If a critic hates a certain coffee, he better not just say "Yuck."  A professional that is getting paid had better be more specific.

"Fruity, natural, hint of Peach"
"Floral aroma complimented by hints of Pecan"
"Soft acidity, notes of almond and vanilla"

Kona Earth coffee has received all the above feedback at one point or another.  Professional cuppers often use words like Peach or Pecan to describe a coffee.  They're not saying that the coffee tastes like peaches, they're saying that there are very subtle characteristics in the coffee that are reminiscent of a peach-like flavor.  It sounds odd until you get used to it then it's a handy way to describe one coffee from another.

honey-naturals I remember the first time I associated the word blueberry with a coffee.  I had tasted the coffee and all I could think of was words like Earthy or "slightly heavier."  Then the professional cupper I was with said "Blueberry."  I tried the coffee again and could instantly taste the blueberry.  It's not that it tasted like blueberry flavored coffee, it was still definitely black coffee, but the subtle distinction I was trying to vocalize was best described by the word blueberry.

Blueberry is actually a common word for what is known a Full Naturals or Dry Processed coffee.  It is simply a way of processing coffee that imparts a very distinct flavor.  Kona is not usually processed that way and I'm not personally a fan of Full Natural coffees but that doesn't make it bad, some people love it.

What I like much better is what's called Pulped Naturals or Honey Processed coffee.  There's no honey involved, it's simply a different way of processing the coffee that imparts a distinct flavor.  The flavor is subtle but if you're paying attention it can add some delightful complexity to the coffee.

The problem with pulped naturals, from my coffee farmer perspective, is that they are a nasty, gooey mess that are difficult to dry properly.  The advantage, from my coffee farmer perspective, is that pulped naturals can sell for double the price.  That's good because it's a pain to make and there's not much of it.

This isn't the first time we've made pulped naturals, we made a batch back in 2011.  It was surprisingly popular and sold out quickly despite the high price.  Unfortunately we couldn't make any in 2012 but have managed to make more this year.  We have enough for a couple batches which is good because the first batch is already almost all pre-sold.

What's so good about this Honey coffee?  Well, here's the professional description:

Slight caramel, stronger hazelnut, clean complexity with blueberry hints

I hope that is a helpful description.  If not, how about the less formal description of "It's Yummy!"

The pulped naturals were very popular among coffe connoisseurs.  Because of this popularity, we sold out quickly.  There have been many requests for more but we need to wait until the weather and timing is right.  That means there probably won't be any more pulped naturals any time soon.  When we do get more, we will send an email to all registered users that receive notifications.  Until then, you will just have to be patient.

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