Textual content by Avani Thakkar. Photographs courtesy Pavan Srinivas.
How do you want your espresso? Piping scorching and black or ice-cold with swirls of Nutella? Robust sufficient to lend you a surge of productive power that might probably flip into jittery anxiousness by your third cup or flippantly dosed with simply sufficient caffeine to fake like you’ve got your wits about you on yet one more Monday morning?
Ashish D’abreo likes his fermented with beer, which could sound like an uncommon option to those that swear by their trusty cappuccino, however he makes no excuses for it. The Bengaluru-based barista, mixologist and one-third of the brains behind Maverick & Farmer Espresso, an artisanal espresso model (with a namesake cafe) that’s been brewing within the IT metropolis since 2018, will get a kick out of unlocking new flavour profiles to showcase Indian espresso in a method that he maintains hasn’t been executed earlier than.
D’abreo, who grew up in Mangaluru (Mangalore), speaks for many South Indians when he describes his fondness for filter espresso — an integral a part of their meals tradition. “Conventional filter espresso is and at all times will probably be consolation for us,” he says, earlier than occurring to query why desi espresso is so underrated. “Locations like Ethiopia and Colombia pop up first when you concentrate on high quality espresso beans. In truth, most worldwide baristas don’t even know that India produces espresso, and a definite one at that,” he reveals. Together with companions Sreeram G and Tej Thammaiah, D’abreo set his sights on bringing modern variations to this unilateral Starbucks-engulfed consuming phase that was additionally momentarily possessed by the TikTok-propelled Dalgona espresso craze whereas within the throes of the 2020 lockdown.
High: Completely different levels of roasting for two Beans In A Pod (cocoa fermentation); backside: Guide grading, executed for pattern roasts to work out a primary roast profile to check the experimental heaps
“The pandemic modified coffee-drinking habits of Indians throughout the nation. We had this large technology of staff who would go to their fancy workplaces, and so they had gotten used to their each day cup of espresso both at work or in a close-by cafe. Instantly, they discovered themselves cooped up at dwelling with no entry to that espresso, in order that they began performing some analysis and found manufacturers like ours. And so, we had been busy as ever,” says D’abreo.
Maverick & Farmer fine-tunes espresso beans’ cultivation, fermentation and drying processes on their sprawling 150-acre plantation nestled in Coorg, Karnataka’s lush hill station that’s dwelling to a few of the finest panoramic views in South India. Consider it as a laboratory the place all of the magic occurs, which is all however confirmed when D’abreo speaks of a smoke chamber: “Plenty of us love smoky notes in our espresso, however until you actually darkish roast the espresso and virtually burn it, you gained’t get these notes. Sadly, while you try this, you threat dropping the refined, nuanced flavours. So, to realize smoky notes in light-roasted espresso, we created an hermetic smoke chamber on our farm out of the previous property supervisor’s bungalow that was on the verge of crumbling. We launched chilly smoke into freshly pulped Arabica espresso beans to concoct Ol’ Smoky – Chilly Smoked Espresso, now generally known as one among our signature drinks.”
Chilly-smoked espresso course of
Thammaiah, co-founder and a third-generation espresso farmer, lends his technical know-how and experience to the enterprise; collectively the duo spent the primary harvest season testing new roast profiles to provide you with thrilling flavours that steer away from the all-too-predictable chocolate and caramel. However they’re conscious of the dangers that include taking an opportunity on the unconventional — a fruit-fermented, citrus-infused espresso could also be too area of interest for conventional espresso lovers, and, in any case, the shopper is king.
“However on the finish of the day it’s the story of our lives, and we need to hold feeling excited in regards to the espresso we make,” D’abreo explains. “We run these ‘what if’ classes each different week with our crew over Zoom to vocalise probably the most random issues that could possibly be executed to espresso, a form of want listing of the type of radical flavour notes we’d prefer to style in our espresso sometime. There are extra horrible concepts than good ones to be sincere, however that’s a part of the method!” he chuckles.
High: Ashish D’abreo and Tej Thammaiah; backside: 2 Beans In A Pod within the fermentation vat, after 18 hours
Filtering out the doable is simply the first step, and it stays that method for at the least seven to eight months as a result of concepts can’t be executed till the harvesting season begins later within the 12 months. Maverick & Farmer’s plantation in Pollibetta solely involves life in November, bustling with power to place ideas into motion, however not at the price of the encompassing setting. The model’s sustainability efforts is probably not plastered throughout their web site, nevertheless it’s as a result of they’re not simply surface-level gimmicks; these initiatives are an intrinsic a part of their ecosystem. “Espresso pulping places lots of acidic water into the bottom, which, over a time period, isn’t excellent news for the crop or surrounding soil,” says D’abreo. “So, to sort out that, we pressure out the flesh of the espresso on the pulping stage. Then it’s handed by way of these calcium beds and picked up in bigger tanks to be handled in such a method that the acidity is decreased and the water is made fully alkaline. It’s allowed to accept three months after which this water is repurposed for cultivation and irrigation functions.”
There’s a component of the human contact to artisanal espresso, as evidenced by the care that goes into nurturing the crop and constructing a loyal group of shoppers. And it’s clear that, together with an experimental soul, Maverick & Farmer is all coronary heart relating to giving us a cup of freshly brewed goodness.