Beans: Ikigai Myanmar, Catimor, Caturra, Catuai, S-759, Long Hay, Myanmar.
Shop: Ikigai, webshop, Arnhem, The Netherlands.
Ikigai – Myanmar: Background Information.
Ikigai was founded by Jeroen Brugman, an entrepreneur in The Netherlands with whom I had an interview a while back. This interview can be read via this link!
This Myanmar coffee is the result of a project initiated by Winrock International, an NGO. After the sanctions on Myanmar were lifted by the international community was lifted, the UN and the USA wanted to stimulate the value chains in the country. Coffee was selected as one of the value chain products that they thought would help the local people the most. The goal of this project was to eradicate and minimize the opiate production in this region by teaching local farmers, who until recently were fully dependent of the production of poppy, how to produce specialty coffee.
The result after three to four years was a succesful harvest of specialty coffee, the arrival of international buyers and the country as a whole was introduced as a specialty coffee producing country. Due to the great work and skillful approach of the people involved in the project, like Sara Morrocchi, the communities in the regions surrounding the township of Hopong now produce high graded specialty coffee as well.
Click on this link to listen to the podcast of Ikigai Coffee to hear the whole story. At 57:00 mins you will find the Myanmar story, but if you want to know more about the specialty coffee industry, I’d suggest to listen to the whole podcast.
The production process:
The cherries have undergone a sun dried natural process. Cherries are hand picked by Hopong community members in the early hours of the day. Once collection is finished, members deliver cherries to the Hopong drying stations. On delivery, cherries are screened and handpicked to about 95% cherry ripeness level. Fully ripe cherries are then placed on raised beds. Slow drying is a priority and drying times range between 13-17 days depending on weather conditions. All lots are separated by day and all members’ deliveries are fully traceable.
Myanmar: Opening the package.
The Ikigai package comes in a white bag with a beautiful design on the front. When looking at the design it appears as a crystallized coffee bean. The name Ikigai will invite you to think about it and perhaps even look the word up on google. Try it, you will be surprised to see what pops up!
On the back of the bag you will find information on the region, cooperative, process, variety and altitude. On the bottom you will find the roasting date. The only thing that I miss are the tasting notes; as a beginning coffee drinker I think it would be helpful to have a cheat sheet to get back to if you want to know what you’re tasting.
Inside you will find the coffee beans to be roasted pretty equally which is fun since we’re talking about four different varieties of beans. The aroma’s coming off from the beans when opening the package is a dry cocoa, sweet blueberry and even a nice chocolate raisin aroma. There might be a hint of fermentation when you first take a sniff. After you grind the coffee, take in the aroma’s again to find super sweet soft blue berries and a vanilla scent.
Ikigai – Myanmar: The tasting.
I brewed this coffee on the Hario V60, Gabi Master A dripper, Aeropress and Siphon brewer.
The first thing I noticed while taking a sip was a flavour of all-spice in the coffee. This appeared directly on my palette but was accompanied by a fruity blueberry note right away. It is not the sugary blueberry note that you will find in a Yirgacheffe. It’s more savoury, more like a natural flavour that you will get when you eat an actual blueberry. When the coffee is hot, I got a soft hint of roses and lavender on the nose but I couldn’t find it as a flavour in the coffee at all. When swirling the coffee in your mouth and slurping in some oxygen, a dry cocoa and spices sensation appears in the back of your mouth. Although you would not think of it, this coffee is actually pretty juicy! The coffee gets sweeter with each following sip because of the juiciness. The aftertaste lingers medium to long and holds cocoa as a main aspect but with spices and chocolate raisins in the background.
When you hold the coffee in your mouth, feel the medium body in combination with the tea-like mouthfeel. the citric acidity is medium and fits perfectly with the body and mouthfeel.
Myanmar: The verdict.
Sometimes it’s not just the flavours and aroma’s that make a coffee special. In this case the story behind the coffee is even more impressive. Don’t get me wrong, this coffee is beautiful in terms of flavours and aroma’s for sure!
When your drink the Ikigai Myanmar, you’re not only drinking a coffee that hold beautiful notes of blueberry, spices, chocolate raisin and cocoa; you’re also drinking a cup of the coffee history of Myanmar. You’re drinking the opportunity given by the international community to the impoverished farmers of Myanmar. Let that sink in for a moment.
The coffee itself is great; the body, mouthfeel and acidity are all in line and the aroma’s and flavours are complementary to each other as well.
Great job Ikigai!
Here is the link to the webpage of the Ikigai Myanmar coffee. RThis is a courtesy to the roaster and is a non-paid link. Clicking on this link will not earn me any money.