Day 5 - Another day another drive, thankfully not so far this time, off to see a friend of Akshay’s, Shiv, he is a fourth generation coffee grower, who is now also roasting for the local market. A really interesting character, always up for experimenting, larger than life character (apparently used to work in Bollywood, can’t say I’m surprised)! We checked out his shade drying area, and he did a small roast while we were there on his home 500g gas drum roaster, this was fascinating, to cool the coffee when it came out, he emptied it into a tray, took it outside, plugged a fan in, and cooled the beans under it, somehow it seemed to work! We chatted about all things coffee, while we tried a couple of his coffees, and were introduced to a surprisingly pleasant snack, fresh coconut chunks, eaten with lumps of palm sugar, delicious!
After that we headed back to the house, just in time as the pickers had unloaded today's crop, to everyone’s delight, they’d finally managed to properly selectively harvest, and all the cherries were an even red, as required for a better natural coffee.
Early evening, off to see Akshays uncle, who owns the neighbouring coffee estate, Kanbile estate. We had an evening of beer, snacks and music, this was everything from Chicago blues, John Mayell to Amy Winehouse. We had a really interesting chat about the good old days in coffee, the recent climate change effect (predominantly in the last decade) and the dilemma they now face as to whether grow more robusta, which is a much hardier plant, more productive, commodity coffee, but is currently significantly more profitable than arabica which is much harder to grow, although more delicious. The consensus was not to give up on arabica as the current disparity in price could change in the near future. He was also interested in experimenting currently with naturals and anaerobic fermentation, we also discussed the possibilities of a smoked coffee, you’ll hear it first here if this works! A thoroughly fantastic night, finished off with everyone (Chris and Akshays uncle) singing along to Leonard Cohens Halleluiah, the world needs more characters like this!