Farmer: Prakashan Balaraman Estate: Riverdale Region: Yercaud Country: India Processing: Natural (CM with fruit added) Elevation: 1,450 - 1,700 masl Variety: SL9 and SL5B Sourced Through: FTA Coffee
Since 1920, Riverdale Estate has been a family owned business where three generations have worked to improve the quality of their coffee plants. The Farm is located in Eastern Ghat Mountains in Yercaud – South India. Prakashan Balaraman is a young and passionate coffee farmer who is challenging traditional coffee growing practices and processing in India.
In the last 10 years Riverdale Estate has been transformed with new modern farming practices like a state of art cupping lab, energy efficient pulping station(wet mill), drip irrigation for the plants, African style raised beds to dry all our coffee and temperature controlled storage room to store coffee beans post harvest The plantation sits at an altitude of 1450 meter above sea level where we grow Green tip Gesha, brown tip Gesha, SL9 and SL5B arabica varieties.
The Loam soil in these mountain ranges have a perfect mixture of clay, silt and sand to grow coffee and other crops like oranges, jackfruit & peppercorn. The estate has a natural water stream which flows throughout the year making it a very interesting place to cultivate coffee.
Only selective ripe cherries are hand picked by their trained pickers at. Quality picking equals quality green beans and this is in their DNA! Training their hand picker team on an ongoing basis and having quality control measure is the key to ensure coffees are picked at the optimum ripeness for different process.
Fruit development is a lengthly process understanding the maturation of the bean development on a weekly basis provides Riverdale Estate the roadmap, the work starts from early on the seed development of the endosperm – how the seeds store protein and sucrose within its walls.
Coffee fruit ripen at different stages so RE's field manager starts the day by choosing which section of the farm is ready to be picked they do that by measuring the sugar content of the cherries with the help of brix meter, once they select the area in the farm we send the pickers to pick the cherries in the field.
RE sun dry the coffees in African style raised bed as it helps them to remove the excess water quickly and creates good air circulation for the coffee beans to dry evenly. Any defective or broken bean in the bed gets cleaned along the way. Every few hours coffee gets turned around by hand so all beans are exposed to the sun evenly. As part of the quality control they monitor the moisture loss every day with the help of the moisture meter and record all the data’s so they can maintain the consistency of every lot produced.
For naturals, honey, carbonic and anaerobic lots extra care is needed while drying in the bed. For the first 4 to 6 days coffees are dried in full sun and cherries are spread out evenly into thin layer so cherries dry evenly and the outer layer of the cherries are sealed properly. Coffees cherries are then moved into a part shade drying beds to slow the drying process for 20-25 days depending the process. Once the beans reaches between 10-13 % moisture they store the beans into a purpose built storage space where the humidity and temperature are monitored daily. All the lots processed are stored separately with the name tag where RE record all the necessary information like when it was picked, drying conditions, lot size and processing information.