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Liberica by Subko Coffee x Kerehaklu

For the past few days I have been putting up posts about the awesome new coffee I have tried – the Liberica coffee. This coffee packs quite a punch and is my go-to leisure coffee right now. Its not what I go to first thing in the morning, but it is definitely what I want to have in the evening after a long day at work or on a lazy weekend afternoon when I am relaxing.

What is Liberica coffee?

Worldwide, there are four main types of coffee –

  1. Arabica
  2. Robusta
  3. Liberica, and
  4. Excelsa (a variant of the Liberica species)

Of these, Excelsa is considered to be a variation of the Liberica beans, taxonomically speaking. Globally, Arabica is the most consumed coffee. Of course, it is also the most produced coffee. Arabica coffee has good complex flavors that are sough after all over the world. Robusta, is consumed way lesser than Arabica, and is the second most consumed and produced coffee in the world. It is known for good body and is commonly used in coffee blends, instant coffees, as fillers for darker roasts. And then comes the #3 on the list – Liberica beans.

How did I come across this Liberica coffee?

I had read a mention of the Liberica beans on the Kerehaklu website a while back, but didn’t make anything of it, I let it be. Months later, when I saw a post by Subko Coffee on their Instagram announcing the launch of their limited lot of Liberica coffee beans, I jumped at the opportunity of trying something new. You’ll get tons of Arabica in the market, and a lot of Robusta too, but Liberica, not so easy to come by. No wonder the Kerehaklu website calls it elusive. Liberica coffee beans are a rare treat, and a pleasant surprise. They are known to have an aroma of fruits and flowers, and a somewhat woody taste. ‘Mara Kaapi’, loosely translating to ‘tree coffee’. Liberica originated in Liberia, a country in West Africa. It currently accounts only for 2% of the world’s coffee production, and is rare in consumable processed form.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, when a disease called ‘Coffee Rust’ eliminated most of the world’s arabica coffee plants across the entire planet. With coffee being such a huge commodity everywhere, farmers, agriculturalists, and experts set about looking for alternatives to the arabica. It was Philippines that first harvested and sold Liberica beans at a noteworthy volume, and it helped the country’s economy grow tremendously.

I got the chance to try the Indian Anokhi Liberica beans. It arguably has the most intense wild blueberry aromas that you would find anywhere. It is said that in the cup the sweet earthy intensity of these beans transforms into silky rich coffee. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? In Kannada, the Liberica coffee is called as

The beans I tried were grown at the Kerehaklu estate. You can learn more about the estate here. You can also stay at the estate and explore the estate. And they were roasted by Subko Coffee Roasters in Mumbai. You can check out their pan-India store here.

The coffee was grown in Karnataka, roasted in Maharashtra, and consumed in Gujarat for me!

Tell me about the coffee

Here are the details about the coffee:

Species: Liberica

Varietal: Anokhi

Origin: Kerehaklu Estate, Karnataka

Roasted at: Subko Coffee Roasters, Mumbai, Maharashtra

Roast: Medium roast

Tasting notes: Salted caramel popcorn, Granny smith apples

Process: Natural (16th ferment)

Altitude: 1141 MASL

This Liberica coffee has the earthiness, a hint of biscuit, and grain-like texture like Robusta coffee, and the sweetness, balance, uniformity, and positive acidity of Arabica coffee. It is a blast in a sip, there’s a lot happening, and it is all so pleasing & nice. The biggest hit is definitely the note of salted caramel popcorn, which for me followed with a smoother tarty apples.

I bought this coffee last year, and I have been having it since then. It is also the first coffee I had in 2021. This is the coffee I want to have when I sit back, relax and relish every sip. It might not be my morning coffee, not something I want my brain has fully turned on yet, this is my leisure coffee. I loved every sip of it. It is a unique experience to have these beans. It is a natural process coffee. The coffee beans are unique, and they have slight bits of the chaff on it. It is normal for the coffee beans to have this chaff, and it does not affect the flavor. While Arabica beans are close to an oval shape, Robusta beans are more rounded. Comparatively, Liberica beans have a more unique shape.

How to brew this Liberica coffee?

The Liberica coffee by Subko Coffee works well with most brewing devices, and I brewed it using a French Press. Here is the recipe I followed. This recipe was suggested by the superb staff at Subko:

I tried the coffee as a cold brew as well and the coffee turns out to be really delicious. It feels a little different, but the notes are strong, and it makes for a very pleasing beverage. Overall, the Liberica has turned out to be quite a delight both when brewed hot as well as cold.

The sad part is this batch of Subko’s Liberica beans is finished now, so it is until next time. But now you know that the next time you see Liberica beans on a shop shelf or online, you got to buy it right away. It will definitely be unlike any coffee experience you have had before. This Liberica lot is one of the best coffees I tried in 2020 and continue to have in 2021.

With coffee or with life, the more open you keep your mind to new experiences, the more you learn. Find me on Instagram – @banjaranfoodie

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