Pearl Mountain Peaberry Review

India Ratnagiri ChartI recently purchased and roasted some Pearl Mountain Peaberry green coffee beans. These beans come from a wet-process that is suppose to produce a very mild coffees when done right.

But much of this coffee is grown at relatively low altitudes and poorly processed and prepared. Geography plays a large part in the taste of coffee. The altitude the bean is grown in has a large effect of the profile of the finished product.

For these purposes it is generally accepted that high elevations about three thousand feet and beyond are best for growing full excellent flavored coffee.  The soil in which the finest arabica coffees are grown is in a high altitude, extremely fertile, and often volcanic. So I get excited when a coffee comes from a higher region

I found this particular bean however not as clean as advertised. It wasn’t the worst I’ve ever had and the hints of chocolate seem to be a bit overwhelming. The chocolate taste wasn’t of a sweet nature and seemed more of a dark or even baking chocolate. I found the taste a bit to bitter when I used it for a cold brew but just about right when used in a press even when the bean was at a french roast.

The coffee plantation this bean came from was planted in 1920 by Shivappaiya Patre, who cultivated the estate and called it Ratnagiri or Pearl Mountain in English. The coffee is planted between 1200 and 1500 meters in a zone of the Western Ghat mountains that gets consistently heavy rainfall.

The coffee on the farm is planted alongside with pepper vines (which are grown on the canopy of large shade trees) and cardamom groves. The coffee is grown under shade trees midst pepper vines and cardamom groves. The cherries are sorted prior to pulping, fermented between 42 and 72 hours and hand-washed in water from clear mountain streams.

The aromatics form an intriguing and complicated sensual image. The dry fragrance has a clean hazelnut tone in its roast aspect, almost sweet-savory in spice notes, with a hint of sandalwood. The wet aroma is supposed to be very sweet, caramelized notes of dark sugar, slightly fruited with baked apple, cinnamon and allspice. I however found the sweetness level to be much lower and at times hidden by more bitter tones.  There is a muted fruit note of baked apple that is more apparent at the lighter City roast level. But it’s really at a darker level, City+, where the coffee is suppose to come into its own.  The body for me was more than moderate, and a bit heavy.

Overall I probably wouldn’t buy it again. If I did it would be roasted at a much lighter roast. Overall It’s not my favorite. I’d give it a two out of five stars.