Coffee Review: Blue Tokai's Harley Estate (Pichia Fermentation)

Blue Tokai Coffe Roasters is one of India’s most famous coffee companies. They are the face of the Third-Wave coffee revolution in India.

I’m a personal fan of the company, drinking their coffees since the last one-and-a-half-year. Their exceptional quality pulled me more and more into the world of speciality coffee.

About the Pichia Fermentation

What’s really interesting about this coffee is the way it’s processed. The process is called Pichia Fermentation. As the name suggests the beans have been fermented using the yeast Pichia.

Blue Tokai’s website says;

The ripe cherries were washed in tanks and were left to ferment overnight for 15-20 hours with a yeast strain called Pichia which helps break down the acids to create a unique flavour profile. After the fermentation, the cherries were shifted to raised drying beds and raked continuously for even drying. This controlled fermentation and drying process has given this coffee delicious flavours of Strawberry, Blood Orange and Green Apple.

This technique sure seems unique. This is the first time I had a coffee like this. This unique process might be the reason behind the coffee’s price being slightly higher than the others.


For this review, I brewed the coffee several times, using different v60 techniques.

First was using the standard v60 technique ( James Hoffman style) in a ratio of 1:17, and later 1:15.

The second was the Japanese style iced, again in a ratio of 1:17, 300 grams of hot water on 200 grams of ice.

The third was a cold-brew. I brewed it in a ratio of 1:10 for 24 hours straight.

The reason I experimented with different techniques and ratios, was to discover taste notes properly. Each method and style brings out or highlights the different flavour profiles. Some might say that this was unnecessary, and that might be true, but I wanted to experiment. So I did. Also, I’m not so good at cupping coffee, which is the preferred test method. Now, all this experimentation wasn’t done on a single day (way too much coffee for a single day). I carried it out over 4-5 days. Although, my go-to method would always be a standard v60 1:17.

Taste Test and Results

The first sip was a pleasant surprise. The coffee tasted so syrupy. For a medium roast, the acidity was really low, making it really smooth on the tongue. The first fruit note I encountered was strawberry-like. And throughout the coffee, it remained the most dominant one. The packet said it also has notes of blood oranges and green apples.

Even when you smell the grounds, strawberry is the most dominant aroma. And the same aroma matches the taste exactly.

Surprisingly, as the coffee cools the acidity is much more evident. Especially at the end of each sip, lingering on the tongue for a while. I’m guessing the acidity was similar to that of a green apple. But couldn’t taste the blood oranges. Maybe the Chemex or the Aeropress might have done a better job.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

What’s incredible about the Indian coffee industry is that coffee estates supply their produce to different roasters. And each roaster adds their own touch to the coffee during the roasting process. So you can drink the same coffee roasted in different styles.

Similarly, Blue Tokai is not the only company that roasts coffee from Harley Estate. This coffee is supplied to other roosters including Classic Coffee. That’s why I would love to taste this coffee roasted differently.

This also implies, there’s a possibility that different roasting processes might reveal new flavour profiles within the same coffee. I don’t if this is possible. But the chances still excite me.

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Suyash Dev Gupta,

India, USA, Bangalore, New Delhi, speciality coffee, specialty coffee reviews, best business book review, latest book reviews, introvert blog

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© 2020 by Suyash Dev Gupta. 

Views and opinions expressed on this site are purely mine. They represent no one, but me.