October Spotlight: Bali Blue Moon
A SEDUCTIVE DARK ROAST
Indonesian coffees have been a staple here at Peet's since our founding. The most popular and well-known is Sumatra. But other Indonesian islands like Sulawesi, Flores, and Bali produce gorgeous coffees with distinctive characters. Bali Blue Moon is one of those coffees.
Bali is famous as a vacation destination but drive just a couple hours from the splashy beachside resorts, and it’s a different world. The Kintamani region hugs the slopes of Mount Batur, and this coffee is grown in these lush highlands at around 5,000 feet.
Indonesian Wet Hulling, or Giling Basah
The coffee cherries are harvested by a network of Balinese farmers called a Subak Abian—a traditional farmer organization in upland Bali—between May and October. Due to the humid, rainy climate, coffee is processed differently in Indonesia than elsewhere, hulled and dried in a series of steps that expose the bean to unique tropical influences. It’s a risky, less consistent practice, called Giling Basah, but it’s what gives Indonesian coffees their weighty spice and satisfaction. And it’s what gives these beans the striking dark blue-green color for which they’re named.
An elegant cup with a clean finish
Bali Blue Moon has the same spicy, complex notes and backbone as Sumatra, just a bit finer. With less of the earthy, herbal punch, it starts and ends with smooth. Weighty in the cup, with dark chocolate and caramel notes and a syrupy body, it’s a great complement to blustery weather. An ideal mug to cradle in your hands as the weather starts to turn.
NOTES FROM THE PEET'S ROASTERY
Woodsy notes in the roast, dark chocolate and caramel in the cup.
We roast a lot of Indonesian coffees here at Peet’s. Sumatra is our most regular companion, both as a single origin and as part of some of our most popular blends. And Sulawesi-Kalosi has garnered a near-cult following. Wet hulled beans from the archipelago all react to the same roasting methods, albeit each with its own nuanced character. Case in point is this striking coffee from Bali.
When they came to us green, the beans looked like a meticulously sorted Sulawesi, evenly colored an olive green tinged with blue (hence the name), and with a rough chaff line. Opening the bags, we were struck with wafts of a humid, earthy aroma, like fresh moss and forest floor.
Like their peers from Sumatra and Sulawesi, Bali Blue Moon was slow to reach first crack. But unlike the others the pops were more pronounced and audible. The beans also finished a bit earlier than the others, leaving a cleaner, brighter finish.
In the end, the tones of moss and leaves evaporated completely, giving way to a drier, woodsier aroma. In the cup, it’s all dark chocolate and caramel with a weighty, syrupy body. Delicious on its own brewed in a French Press with a slug of cream to round out that caramel note. It would be a lovely brew to have on hand in a thermos on a crisp, autumnal walk in the woods.
-John Nicolini and Michael Madden, Roasters